AMISOM bolsters efforts to prevent sexual exploitation, abuses

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Addis Ababa, 02 June 2014 (WIC) - The African Union Mission in Somalia reiterates the need to observe fundamental human rights and ensure that all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse are avoided among its officers.

In a press release AMISOM Public  Information Services sent to WIC, the mission adopted the policy on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in 2013 and extensive training has since been ongoing among its officers to ensure its observance.

Today, 60 senior officers from different Police and Troop Contributing Countries undertwent training on the policy, highlighting the mission’s good practices and how these can be further embraced.

Speaking during the training, AMISOM Senior Political Affairs Officer Mr. Ssebirumbi Kisinziggo said the mission continuously assesses the conduct of its officers to facilitate better working relations with the Somali people it serves.

“We are now going to document how we have been able to live to the standard with respect to sexual exploitation and abuse. At the end of the day, we shall be able to have a category of those best practices that we have had, we shall also look at the challenges that we have had and be able to see how we can improve so that we can better this mission in conducting our mandate and the good conduct with the Somali friends of ours,” he said.

The AMISOM Chief of Staff Administration Mr. Timothy Kiguti noted that women, children and the elderly are the most vulnerable in any conflict situation, emphasizing the importance of ensuring their protection.

“Every society is anchored on the family and the woman is the cornerstone of that family. In a violent situation, the defenseless who are women, children and the aged, normally bear the brunt of the war. And not only the brunt of the war because of the nature of their gender, they have been the victims and most often, sexual abuse has been used as a tool of war and therefore, it is very important as peace keepers to take this into mind,” he said.

AMISOM continues to work towards ensuring observance of human rights among its officers across its different units including the military, police and civilian arms of the mission. The workshop was organized by the mission’s Gender Unit, which continues to engage different stakeholders, conduct widespread sensitization and work towards ensuring that the best practices are upheld and Gender Based Violence as well Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, among other vices are decisively dealt with.

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