The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, has commended AMISOM for ensuring the protection of children in conflict.
On Wednesday, Ms. Gamba concluded a three-day working visit to Somalia to assess efforts to protect children from conflict-related violations.
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.
During the meeting, Mulongo, who is the 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,” the Deputy SRCC said.
Ms. Gamba noted that some of AMISOM’s child protection approaches could be adopted as best practices for the protection of other children in conflict situations.
“If you don’t mind, we would like to explore your expertise and see how it could work for some of our other operations,” said Ms. Gamba.
An AMISOM Human Rights expert, Ms. Ulrike Kahbila Mbuton, briefed the UN top 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 Kahbila.
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.