Deputy UN Special Representative to Somalia visits Baidoa
Baidoa – The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Somalia, Fatiha Serour, paid an official visit to Baidoa on 9 November. She assessed the implementation of a national programme for disengaged combatants in Bay and Bakool regions.
While in Baidoa, DSRSG Serour commended the progress made by local authorities to establish a centre in Baidoa for rehabilitating low risk adult caseloads, with funding from the Government of France.
On her last official visit in Somalia before her current term ends, the DSRSG also reiterated the importance of making female disengaged combatants a priority, urging women to work together for their rights.
Ms. Serour stressed the importance of providing sustainable livelihoods and job opportunities for disengaged combatants that had been reintegrated. “I encourage you to see the centre as a means to something else, something bigger, not as a means to an end,” she told officials on site, calling for a coordinated effort and support by local and international stakeholders.
While in Baidoa, she also visited the Baidoa Peace Centre, a joint UNICEF-UNDP initiative with KANAVA, a local NGO. It provides young vulnerable groups with shelter, vocational training and psychosocial support. She also met and spoke with many children under its care as well as the Centre’s spokesperson. He urged stepping up international efforts to support the reintegration of children associated with armed groups, including those from Al-Shabab in Baidoa.
During her visit, DSRSG Serour was accompanied by a UN delegation from Baidoa and Mogadishu, AMISOM officials from Ethiopia, partners from the French and German embassy as well as main implementing partners at UN Funds, Agencies and Programmes in Nairobi.
In conclusion, the DSRSG reiterated the commitment of the UN, the international community, to protect youth and children from Al-Shabab, adding: “We urge international donors to support these programmes in order to protect children from recruitment.”