The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) held a one day sensitization forum on prevention and response on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse for officers drawn from the military component based at the Force Headquarters in Mogadishu and Sector 4 in Beletweyne on 31 July and 1 August 2013 respectively.
The event was facilitated by the Gender and Political Units and sought to educate the officers on the legal outlines regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse in the peace keeping operations.
During the forum, the participant’s identified key issues, challenges and strengths allowing them to develop a deeper understanding of gender issues and equality while learning from each other on the best ways of implementing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse policy.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif said that the forum was a good opportunity for the officers to understand issues surrounding Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and how they relate to AMISOM obligation.
“AMISOM takes its obligations to the Somali people extremely seriously,” he said. “Issues of prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse as well as Somali culture are a crucially important part of the training all our personnel receive prior to deployment in Somalia and this is reinforced during their deployment,” he added, noting that the mission had established effective awareness programmes and internal investigation procedures to deal with any allegations.
AMISOM Gender Unit has the mandate to reflect the Mission’s strong commitment on the advancement of Gender related issues as articulated in UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
This commitment was recognized by the Somalia Protection Cluster, a consortium of local and international NGOs including UN agencies, which in a report issued last October acknowledged
that very few civilian protection issues, including sexual abuse and exploitation directly implicate AMISOM.
Meanwhile, AMISOM stabilization working group has resumed early recovery/peace dividends stabilization outreach activities in Baidoa and Beletweyne of sectors 3 and 4 respectively. AMISOM personnel including Political and Gender officers held meetings, on 29 July and 1 August 2013respectively, with the Governors of the regions Abdi Aden Hosoow of Bay and Mohamed Ibrahim Ali of Hiiraan, civil society including women organizations and AMISOM CIMIC officers on potential quick impact projects.