The Day of the African Child has been commemorated every year on 16 June since 1991 to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the full realization of the children’s rights as well recommendations. The theme of the year is: protecting all children’s rights.
For the past 25 years, Somali children have faced constant challenges and hardships that have led children to grow in a life of fear and death. Children are often been abused and had their rights violated due to the prolonged existing conflict, as they recruited in armed groups, are sexual violated, recruited in workplace as domestic work, arrested in detention centres, as they experienced torture in community level as well as detention centres.
Many children have lost their parents and live under hard conditions in streets and IDP camps, while some others live under conditions of separated and unaccompanied.
According to UNICEF Somali humanitarian report in February, 201 grave violations against children were reported in Central South, affecting 150 boys and 36 girls. The majority of these violations were on recruited and use of children in armed forces.
According SWDC Annual review in 2015 documented and supported 144 incidents of sexual violence affecting children in Banadir, Lower/middle Shebelle and Galgaduud Regions, for age between 5-17 years old both girls and boys. Additional 10 cases forced/early marriage was documented.
Due to the ill-fated conditions of Somalia’s government, children struggle to eat meals daily and don’t have easy access to clean water. While the level of malnutrition, especially among children, is of serious concern, with nearly 305,000 children under the age of five years acutely malnourished according UN reports. The number of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera cases continue to raise in Central South, due to the increasing scarcity of water, drought as well floods.
For the commemoration of African Child Day and in accordance with the theme of protecting of children’s rights we recommend:
We call for Somali Federal government for their commitment of the ratified Convention of the Rights of the Child “CRC” in January 2015 towards improving the children’s rights, to lay down national Action plan for children to protect the rights of children and ensuring to enhance appropriate policies and legislation for the wellbeing of Somali children.
- We call for children’s justice to be an integral part of the review, ratification and enforcement of all policies and laws.
- We request immediate endorsement of the Sexual Offences Bill, the enactment of Laws and full implementation of the National Action Plan for the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict to guarantee protection of children and women.
- We request from Federal government to ensure every child in every part of Somalia – rural and urban – have access to education. Education always protects children’s rights, works towards preventing child marriage as well as decreasing recruitment of children in armed groups.
- We suggest Somali Federal government to review family law to combat child marriage and educated parents to not allow their children to get married while still under the age of 18.
- Every child has the right to education, health, safety, housing and clean water, we call for Somali federal government to ratify and adopt African charter on their rights and welfare.