Child Protection

UNSOM CHILD PROTECTION MANDATE

WHO WE ARE

UNSOM Child Protection Unit is part of the Human Rights and Protection Group. The Unit co-chairs with UNICEF the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR), a mechanism created by UNSCR 1612 (2005) to monitor and report on the six grave child rights violations. The information reported by the CTFMR is used to raise awareness on the plight of children affected by the conflict in Somalia, to inform prevention and advocacy activities, to take action to separate children from armed forces and groups, to hold perpetrators of child rights violations accountable in order to prevent further violations. Programmatic activities informed by the Monitoring and Reporting Activities-MRM data are implemented by UNICEF and its partner organizations. 

The six grave violations are: 

1. Killing and maiming of children; 

2. Recruitment and use of children; 

3. Rape and other forms of sexual violence against children; 

4. Abduction of children; 

5. Attacks on schools and hospitals, and 

6. Denial of humanitarian access for children. 

The information gathered is equally fed into the Global Horizontal Note (GHN) and UN Secretary General’s Annual Report on Children and armed conflict (CAAC). 

 

WHY WE ARE HERE

UNSOM is a special political assistance mission mandated by Security Council resolution 2102 of 2 May 2013 to support the Federal Government of Somalia, and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as appropriate. The mandate has been subsequently renewed by Security Council resolutions 2158 (2014)2221 (2015)2232 (2015)2275 (2016)2358 (2017)2408 (2018), and 2461 (2019)

UNSOM has a mandate to protect children affected by armed conflict, including   supporting Somalia to prevent and end grave child rights violations committed by parties to the conflict with a focus of enhancing the implementation of the Government Action Plans on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC)signed in 2012.  

UNSOM Child Protection Unit, which is part of the Human Rights and Protection Group started operating on 15 September 2013 with the deployment of a Senior Child Protection Advisor. The Unit is responsible for the implementation of the Child Protection mandate. Since its deployment in 2013, the Child Protection Unit has successfully supported the Federal Government of Somalia in the implementation of the two Action Plans on CAAC. In June 2018, the CAAC Working Group elaborated a roadmap to reinvigorate the implementation of the CAAC Action Plans. Although roadmap was adopted at technical level in December 2018, signature into a policy document is still pending. 

The UN CAAC agenda is part of the United Nations peace and security mission, as outlined in UN Security Council Resolutions 1261 (1999), 1314 (2000), 1379 (2001), 1460 (2003), 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009), 1998 (2011), 2068 (2012), 2143 (2014), and 2225 (2015) and all relevant statements of its President, which together create a comprehensive framework for addressing the protection of children affected by armed conflict. The Somali action plans which have been translated in Somali are  written and duly signed commitments between the United Nations and the Somali National Army which was listed in 2006 as having committed grave violations against children in the Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict. Other parties to the conflict listed are, Al-Shabab which isfor recruitment and use, killing and maiming and abduction of children and Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a (ASWJ) listed for recruitment and use of children. 

Each of the action plans is designed to address a specific violation, and outlines concrete, time-bound steps that lead to compliance with international law, de-listing, and the creation of a more protective environment for children. 

 

WHAT WE DO

  1. Strengthening the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism and response to grave violations: Monitor and report on grave violations of children's rights in compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions;
  2. Engage with parties to the conflict and support the FGS for the implementation of Somalia's Action Plans on CAAC: Build capacity of the child protection units of relevant ministries through training, development of policies and joint activities
  3. Support the domestication of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the strengthening of broader protection framework including advocating for the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC) : Provide technical and capacity-building support to the Ministry of Women Human Rights Development during the drafting process of the Children's Act.
  4. Outreach and awareness on child protection issues: Develop awareness and promotional materials on child protection including drama and radio talk shows.

 

WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED/DONE 

  1. We have conducted joint screening activities with UNICEF, the Child Protection Unit of the Ministry of Defense in military camps to verify the presence of children. Children identified during the process are released and placed in rehabilitation centers to prepare them for reintegration into the community. During the screening exercises conducted from January 2017 to March 2018, a total of 23 children were identified, two of whom have already been separated and placed in a rehabilitation center in Baidoa, while the others are yet to be separated and rehabilitated.  
  2.  The Child Protection Unit has worked in close collaboration with members of the CTFMR to identify child protection concerns and advocate with relevant parties to the conflict for appropriate actions to be taken in order to resolve the issues. 
  3. In accordance with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, all newly-deployed peace-keeping personnel are required to receive training and guidance on child protection. The aim is to enable the participants to integrate child protection concerns in their activities and thus actively contribute to the protection of children. In addition, the Child Protection Unit provides training on child protection to partners including the Somali National Army, the Somali Police, personnel of the Child Protection Unit of the Ministry of Defense, judges, and members of the civil society to enable stakeholders to join efforts in protecting children. From January 2017 to July 2019, a total of 6565 soldiers including 6207 men and 358 women were trained on child protection and child rights. 
  4. The Unit has also created an avenue for the sharing of violations documented with parties to the conflict to seek appropriate response, advocated with the Somali National Army Chief of Defense Forces, who on 21 August 2017 issued a general Command Order to protect and prevent the recruitment and use of children, drafted and secured the approval of two standard operating procedures (SOPs), one for the reception and hand-over of children separated from armed groups (2014), and the other for the transfer and hand-over of children affected by armed conflict, approved in April 2018.  
  5. Furthermore, the Unit worked with  other mission components and UN agencies to airlift 102 children (who were either rescued, defected or captured while fighting alongside armed groups) from the regions to a rehabilitation center in Mogadishu, screened/trained 5971 soldiers on child protection, liaised with the Women Protection Unit to build the capacity of members of the Women and Child Protection Unit of the Somali Police force to make them more efficient in dealing with cases of children and women victims of sexual violence.

 

WHERE WE ARE

The Child Protection Unit is headed by a Senior Child Protection Adviser. They are two international Child Protection Officers and two national Child Protection Officers based in Mogadishu. The Human Rights Officers in field offices monitor and report on grave violations of children’s rights.

 

WHO WE WORK WITH

·     The Child Protection Unit works with government entities such as Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development, NISA, SNA.

·     UN agencies mainly UNICEF as co-chair of the CTFMR. Other members of the CTFMR include, UNHCR, UNFPA, OCHA, UNMAS, IOM, DRC, INTERSOS.

·     Other UN entities, international and national human rights and child protection actors to support the Federal Government of Somalia and its Federal Member States to implement the two Somali Action Plans to prevent and end recruitment and use of children, killing and maiming of children as well as the other grave child’s rights violations. 

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