Young people in the war against piracy in Somalia

27 Jun 2014

Young people in the war against piracy in Somalia

Mogadishu - For years, the quick money promised by piracy has lured many Somali youth into criminal networks, and many have disappeared, been jailed and even lost their lives. Determined to reverse this state of affairs, young Somalis are getting involved in the fight against piracy, raising awareness and seeking alternative ways to make a living.

Piracy attacks stood at 175 in 2011. By 2013, they had dropped to just 13 thanks to concerted increased patrols of the Somali coast by the Federal Government and the international community. Also key to reducing the impact of piracy is a shift on the attitude of local communities, who, according to research by community based organization, the Somali Anti-Piracy Information Centre (SAPIC), increasingly view the practice negatively.

SAPIC and local partners, including youth organisations, has led a communications campaign focused on highlighting the detrimental effects of piracy on coastal communities while encouraging alternative livelihoods for communities affected by piracy.

“Part of the youth’s efforts in eradicating piracy can be concentrated on raising awareness amongst other youth and to advise them to shun this wrong path. We need to use the media to understand the law and order and statehood so that they can come back from the direction they took,” said Samira Areys Shire from the Somali Youth Association, at a town hall meeting held by SAPIC in the Somali capital on 26 June.

Presenting the results of a survey – which involved more than 250 interviews - SAPIC officials noted that piracy was gradually losing ground in Somalia.

“The outcome of the meeting is the general recommendation that in order to defeat piracy we first need the international community to support the government. We need to face the unemployment issue; we need to create job alternatives for the youth,” said SAPIC Director, Abdirisak Aden.

“Thirdly, the campaign or communication that piracy is illegal and a criminal activity should be much more emphasized.”

SAPIC is supported by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).