Mogadishu, Somalia – The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and the United Nations conducted a one-day sensitization training for ATMIS police personnel on their role in safeguarding and protecting children in armed conflict.
The training coincided with the commemoration of the International Day of the African Child, celebrated every June 16, to raise awareness about the plight of children in Africa. This year, the day was placed under the theme “Eliminating harmful practices affecting children”.
Facilitators from the ATMIS Human Rights and Protection Group (PHRG) and the Human Rights and Protection Group (HRPG) of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) facilitated jointly training.
ATMIS Civilian Casualty Tracking, Analysis and Response Cell (CCTARC) Chief Jones Sarfo said they are targeting ATMIS police personnel because they work closely with communities where children live.
“Police personnel interact closely with the people on the ground. We want to hone their skills to engage their Somali police counterparts on child protection issues,” Sarfo said.
UNSOM Child Protection Officer Sylvia Ngane highlighted the impact of armed conflict on children and the need for police to respond to incidents of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence towards children.
The training covered other topics on national and international human rights legal frameworks, including international humanitarian law, international human rights law, the duty to prevent, investigate and raise awareness. gender-based violence and conflict-related sexual violence.
Inspector of Police (PI) Tracilla Ngonzi, ATMIS Police Gender Officer, who was among the trainees, said the training will help ATMIS and the Somali Police Force (SPF) to combat violations against women and children.
“With the SPF, we need to educate the public about conflict-related sexual violence. The public can then work with the UN, the police and other civilian components to fight against the vice,” noted IP Ngonzi.
The training was attended by 20 ATMIS Police personnel from contingents from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia serving in different ATMIS sectors in Somalia.