Violation of child rights increases in Horn of Africa region

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - Violations against civilians, including sexual and gender-based violence, remained significant in the Horn of Africa region in 2017, according to a new report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

In Somalia, UNOCHA reported on Monday, an estimated 3.6 million people are in need of protection services and the drought caused people to adopt negative coping strategies leading to violations of rights.

“Vulnerable groups—including internally displaced persons (IDPs), women-headed households, unaccompanied children, and socially marginalized and discriminated communities—are at particular risk and face specific protection concerns.

“Violations of children’s rights are on the rise, with grave violations registered against as many as 4,160 children (652 girls, 3,508 boys) in 2017. This includes recruitment and use of children by parties to the conflict, and gender-based violence, which disproportionately affects women and children,” the UN agency disclosed in its Horn of Africa Humanitarian Outlook January-June 2018.

According to UNOCHA, some 76 per cent of reported gender-based violence incidents in 2017 were reported by internally displaced persons (IDPs).

It said that in Kenya, families adopted negative coping mechanisms—including increased child labour and early marriage—in response to the impacts of the drought, and sexual and domestic violence increased. Women walking long distances to collect water or firewood were at heightened risk of sexual violence.

In addition, gender-based violence and killings were reported during the 2017 Kenya elections process.

Internal displacement, driven by drought and conflict, escalated during the latter half of 2017, with more than 4.1 million IDPs now present across the Horn of Africa.

In Somalia, more than 1.1 million people were displaced as a result of drought, floods, conflict
and insecurity in 2017, nearly two-thirds of whom are under age 18, bringing the number of IDPs to a record 2.1 million. However, population movement remains fluid.

Approximately 6,000 IDP returns were recorded in November, and the onset of the rainy season is
expected to trigger more returns in the months ahead.

In Ethiopia, conflict has left close to 1 million people displaced, the majority of whom originate from the Somali and Oromia regions, and 700,000 people have been displaced due to drought.

UNOCHA also pointed out that in Kenya, lack of pasture, crop failure and loss of livestock caused
pastoralists to migrate abnormally long distances in 2017.

Displacement in the country is, however, expected to decline in the coming six months due to the improved food security outlook in key areas.
-0- PANA AR 29Jan2018

29 january 2018 19:40:58

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