The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has concluded a two-day awareness workshop on the dangers of recruitment and use of children in armed conflict.
The event held in Kismayo was attended by representatives from the civil societies and officials from Jubaland State responsible for child protection.
Participants were taken through topics on the rights of children, non-discrimination, the various forms of child recruitment, child survival and development.
The AMISOM Protection Officer, Gloria Jasse, said AMISOM continues to conduct programmes that are aimed at addressing the recruitment and use of children as fighters in Somalia.
“AMISOM is reaching out to civil society organisations, line ministries and child protection committees to help strengthen community protection mechanisms to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers. If communities are aware of the violations against children, they will be empowered and better informed and will take an active role to ensure children are not recruited into armed forces,” she added.
A recent report by the UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict revealed that armed groups in Somalia forcefully recruited and used 2,228 boys and 72 girls in 2018. The report released in June 2019 indicated that the Al-Shabaab terrorist group recruited 1,865 children, accounting for the highest number of child recruits.
Recently, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) committed to implement a national plan to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers by instituting measures to prevent violations against children, releasing child soldiers and reintegrating them into communities.
The Coordinator of Children and Family Affairs in the Jubaland State’s Ministry of Human Rights, Mr Abdikadir Abdi Yare, welcomed the workshop as a right step to improving coordination amongst child protection agencies in Jubaland.
Fatuma Aden, the chairperson of the Lower Jubba Region Women’s Organisation hailed ongoing initiatives to combat the recruitment and use of child soldiers in Somalia. “The lessons we have learnt are valuable and timely,” Ms Fatuma said.