UN senior official due in Somalia on plight of children affected by armed conflict

Published: October 23, 2019

A senior UN official will visit Somalia next week to discuss the situation of children affected by armed conflict in the Horn of Africa nation, the UN mission said on Tuesday.

Virginia Gamba, special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict will be in Mogadishu on Oct. 29 to sign a roadmap to accelerate the implementation of commitments made in the Children and Armed Conflict action plans with the United Nations in 2012.

“She will also launch the Peace Building Fund project supporting the community-based reintegration of children formerly associated with armed forces and groups,” the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

During the visit, Gamba will meet representatives of the Somali government, the United Nations, civil society and the international community.

The meetings, according to the UN mission, will assess progress in the implementation of the action plans to end and prevent the recruitment and use, and killing and maiming of children, and to help identify measures to better protect children from grave violations.

The recruitment and use of child soldiers as combatants in armed conflict by militant groups such as al-Shabab remains a key concern in Somalia.

According to the UN Security Council Report on Children and Armed Conflict in Somalia, which was published in 2017, a total of 5,933 boys and 230 girls were recruited as child soldiers between April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2016.

Statistics showed an improvement between 2012 and 2014, but the figures sharply rise in 2016, where 1,092 children were used as child soldiers, in the first half of 2016.

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