AMISOM shines the spotlight on Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Somalia

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is taking concrete steps to tackle Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Somalia.

The Mission’s gender unit plans to train additional Somali police officers to help fightvincreased cases of sexual violence against women.

The Reforms, Restructuring and Development Coordinator with AMISOM Mr. Maxwell Chikunguru, said the Mission is also encouraging gender mainstreaming in all government structures.

“Stand up tall as AMISOM ambassadors in seeing that gender is effectively and efficiently mainstreamed in all government structures and systems in Somalia,” said Chikunguru, who addressed a group of gender officers at the close of a three-day workshop on sexual and gender based violence, held in Mogadishu, to review the SGBV response framework.

The workshop discussed the Sexual Offences Bill, and AMISOM’s role in eliminating SGBV.

“In the conflict countries, SGBV is used as a weapon of war. They (criminals) take advantage of women,” said Inspector Rachel Malambo, AMISOM Police Gender Coordinator, who noted that defilement cases were still rampant in Somalia, because the country was
recovering from conflict.

A participant Ahmadou Kanneh, a police officer from Sierra Leone who is based in Baidoa, the administrative capital of South West State, explained how they encourage their Somali counterparts to refer SGBV cases to the legal courts, instead of using the traditional justice system, which passes lenient sentences on sexual offenders.

“We usually advise SPF that there are certain cases which are very serious like SGBV; those are cases of human rights violations. We tell them that when such cases come to them, they should not compromise them,” Kanneh said.