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UN: sexual violence against Somali women has risen by 80%

NY (SD) – Rape violence against women in Somalia has risen by 80%, according to a United Nations report, sparking a huge uproar.

The report was released by the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba and the Special Representative for Rape in Conflict, Pramila Patten.

The United Nations has called the violence “appalling” and called for an immediate end to the sexual violence.

“The heightened levels of conflict-related sexual violence in Somalia demand urgent attention and action. We urge all parties to the conflict in Somalia to immediately cease these violations and comply with their obligations and responsibilities under international humanitarian and human rights law, as well as their commitments with the United Nations pursuant to relevant Security Council resolutions,” the two Special Representatives emphasized.

According to the report, in 2020, 400 civilians, mostly girls, have been victims of rape and other sexual violence.

“In 2020, 400 civilians, primarily girls were victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated by all parties to the conflict in Somalia. This represents a staggering increase of almost 80 per cent compared to 2019. In the first quarter of 2021, over 100 cases of sexual violence against girls were verified by the United Nations.” Said the report.

The UN report blamed the increase on Al Shabaab and government forces “The two UN Officials are alarmed by the significant increase in the number of cases of sexual violence which has doubled and are attributed to Al-Shabaab, which continues to use sexual violence and forced marriage as tactics of domination in areas under their de facto control, forcing many families to flee their land. The two UN Officials also noted with concern the high number of violations perpetrated by clan militia, which has almost tripled over the past year, and are linked to a proliferation of small arms and light weapons,” adding “ The two UN Officials also expressed serious concern that over 15 per cent of all cases of sexual violence verified, were attributed to the Government security forces. Both the Somali National Army and the Somali Police Force, as well as regional forces, committed acts of rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and children.”

The United Nations has called on the country’s legislature to swiftly pass laws to curb abuses.

“The Somali authorities must send a strong and clear signal of hope to survivors and deterrence to perpetrators and potential perpetrators. They should fast-track the endorsement and enactment of the 2017 Child Rights Bill as well as the re-introduction and enactment of the 2018 Sexual Offences Bill to ensure that its legislation to address all forms of sexual violence is comprehensive and in line with Somalia’s international and regional human rights commitments,” the two Special Representatives stated.

More than 100 cases of rape have been confirmed by the United Nations in the first four months of 2021. The perpetrators often take advantage of vulnerable girls in IDP camps.

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