The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has completed an online human rights, gender and protection training for Somali women and girls from Southwest State to equip them with knowledge to promote human rights and address violations against women and children.
The one-day online training took place on Tuesday and attracted 18 participants mainly from Baidoa and was organized by the AMISOM Protection, Human Rights and Gender (PHRG) unit in collaboration with the Somali Youth Volunteers Association (SYVA). As a result of COVID-19 pandemic, AMISOM has of late embraced technology by using such online trainings to impart knowledge and address societal challenges affecting women and children in Somalia.
While addressing participants, some of who are engaged in advocacy and other initiatives to promote and protect human rights in the country, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia Ambassador Francisco Madeira reiterated AMISOM’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights in Somalia.
“While Somalia has made significant progress in promoting and protecting human rights, especially through the ratification and domestication of some relevant African Union and United Nations frameworks, we cannot ignore the fact that human rights violations are still common. This is a problem we must seek to address at various levels,” Ambassador Madeira said.
He called upon the participants to take advantage of the deliberations and knowledge from the highly-skilled facilitators from the PHRG unit, and urged them to come up with targeted strategies and recommendations on how to improve the promotion and protection of human rights in Somalia.
“We remain committed to the promotion and protection of human rights in Somalia, which is in line with our mandate. However, an important part of this process is the role that you play as civil society organizations and dynamic young people in Somalia,” Ambassador Madeira added.
Some of the topics the participants covered included; Introduction to Human Rights, Introduction to Children’s Rights, Human Rights and Islam, Introduction to Women’s Rights and Gender, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, Child Protection.
Participant Jamila Haji from Baidoa thanked AMISOM for the training opportunity and promised to share what they learned with other women and girls in Southwest State in order to improve human rights and address any violations.
“We have gained a lot of knowledge from this training. We will share the knowledge and skills gained with our people back at home. Challenges are there but we need to come up with durable solutions. AMISOM can only support and facilitate just as they did with this training but ultimately it is upon us to address the challenges our people face,” Jamila said.
According to AMISOM Human Rights Officer, Ulrike Kahbila Mbuton, the training targeted Somali women and girls because they are the most vulnerable to abuses and there is need to empower them. AMISOM Women Protection Officer Gloria Jaase on her part noted that despite the challenges faced by women and girls in Somalia the country has made huge strides in addressing those challenges. They both urged participants to come out and report cases of any human rights violations to concerned agencies including government and the UN.
Over the years, the civilian component of AMISOM through the PHRG unit has been engaging in capacity building and awareness-raising activities on human rights in Somalia. The mission’s military and police components also continue integrating human rights in every aspect of their work in order to effectively combat violations against women and girls.