Panafrican News Agency

UN envoy on children and armed conflict commends AMISOM on child protection efforts

Mogadishu, Somalia (PANA) - Some of the child protection approaches used by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) could be adopted as best practices for the protection of other children in conflict situations, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, has said.


Concluding a three-day working visit to Somalia, where she assessed efforts to protect children from conflict-related violations, Ms. Gamba told AMISOM officials: “If you don’t mind, we would like to explore your expertise and see how it could work for some of our other operations.”


As part of the visit, she held discussions with child protection focal persons in the AMISOM military, police, and civilian components, including the Deputy Head of AMISOM, Simon Mulongo, according to a statement issued by the Mission late Thursday.


During the meeting, Mulongo, who is Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia (DSRCC), briefed her on AMISOM’s programmes and activities.


“We train our troops on child protection at pre-deployment, induction and in-mission levels, to remind them of their obligations. We monitor compliance, and troops in violation are held accountable. We also mentor, advise and support the Somali security forces,” Mulongo said.


An AMISOM Human Rights expert, Ms. Ulrike Kahbila Mbuton, briefed the UN official on AMISOM’s efforts to uphold the rights and welfare of children in the mission’s area of operations.


“AMISOM has been carrying out child protection activities both within the mission, and other activities in support of the Federal Government of Somalia and the member states. AMISOM holds vocational training programmes for disengaged child fighters to support their reintegration into society, she said.


She also revealed that AMISOM has instituted standard operating procedures on handling child detainees and internally displaced people’s camps and established a toll-free line to report incidents of violence against children.

-0- PANA AR 1Nov2019