The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/67/845–S/2013/245) issued on 15 May 2013.

In 2012, the country task force documented 4,660 cases of violations against children, of which 2,051 concerned recruitment and use of children (2,008 boys and 43 girls). Children were reportedly recruited by armed forces and armed groups from camps for internally displaced persons, schools and villages. Al-Shabaab also coerced teachers into enlisting pupils.

Al-Shabaab was the main perpetrator (1,789 cases of recruitment and use of children), followed by the Somali National Armed Forces (179 cases). A total of 53 of those cases took place after the Transitional Federal Government signed an action plan on 3 July 2012 to halt and prevent the recruitment and use of children. On 9 September 2012, five boys between 16 and 17 years of age were recruited by the national armed forces in Beletweine district, Hiran Region. They were previously associated with Al-Shabaab and had escaped to join the government forces. In addition, it was reported that, in April 2012, a girl carried out a suicide attack at the National Theatre. Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a, a Government-allied militia integrated into the national armed forces in 2012, was responsible for 51 cases of recruitment and use of children. On 18 February 2012, six children between 15 and 17 years of age were recruited by the militia in Beletweine district.

In 2012, the country task force verified 296 cases of killing of children (228 boys and 62 girls) and 485 cases of maiming of children (326 boys and 132 girls). The killings were perpetrated by unknown armed groups (111), Al-Shabaab (94) and the national armed forces (70). According to the World Health Organization, the four major hospitals in Mogadishu treated weapons-related injuries of 230 children under 5 years of age during the period under review. Most of the cases verified by the country task force involved crossfire and mortar attacks. On 10 March 2012, for example, stray bullets injured three children between 11 and 14 years of age during fighting between Al-Shabaab and the national armed forces in Yurkud village, Berdaale district, Bay Region. Children were also allegedly killed for spying. On 18 January 2012, a 15-year-old boy associated with Al-Shabaab was killed by Al-Shabaab in Rabdhure district, Bakool Region, for allegedly spying for the national armed forces. On 16 September 2012, the country task force received allegations of ill-treatment of children implicating the national armed forces in Afgoye district, Lower Shabelle Region. According to reliable sources, the national armed forces arrested and detained 10 children on suspicion of being Al-Shabaab members. It is alleged that they were subjected to ill-treatment and acts tantamount to torture while in police custody. That information, however, could not be verified.

During the reporting period, the country task force received reports of 213 cases of sexual violence committed against 210 girls and 3 boys, mostly in central and southern Somalia. The incidents were attributed to the national armed forces (119), Al-Shabaab (51) and unknown armed groups (43). Following the end of the transitional period and establishment of the new Government, the Government issued a statement on 25 November 2012 in which it acknowledged that sexual violence was being perpetrated by its national armed forces and committed itself to ending the violations. My Special Representative will work with the Government to decisively address the issue.

During the reporting period, Al-Shabaab (51) and the national armed forces (14) were also responsible for attacks on schools. Al-Shabaab was responsible for a further 11 attacks on hospitals in 2012 in Hiran (4), Lower Juba (4), Middle Shabelle (2) and Middle Juba (1).

The country task force received information on 1,533 cases of abduction (1,458 boys and 75 girls) during the reporting period. Most were reported in central and southern Somalia and were perpetrated by Al-Shabaab (780) and the national armed forces and allied militias (720). On 28 May 2012, for example, around 30 children between 12 and 17 years of age were taken into custody by the national armed forces in Afgoye corridor, Lower Shabelle Region, on suspicion of being members of Al-Shabaab. The country task force is following up on this incident. Most of the southern and central parts of Somalia remained inaccessible, however, owing to the volatile security situation.

In 2012, humanitarian access continued to be affected by attacks targeting humanitarian workers, roadblocks and looting of humanitarian supplies, mainly in southern Somalia. There were a total of 96 attacks on aid workers or their assets, 27 incidents of aid interventions (aid diversions, lootings, confiscations or sabotages) and 20 cases relating to denial of movement.

On 3 July 2012, the Transitional Federal Government signed an action plan to end the recruitment and use of children, and, on 6 August 2012, another action plan to end killing and maiming of children. Progress towards their implementation was limited, however, owing to the election period and the appointment of the new Government. The President nevertheless pledged his strong commitment to implementing both action plans. The Government reported that it had issued strict guidelines prohibiting the recruitment of children into the national armed forces and that the implementation of the action plan was in the planning process.

In October 2012, the Government established, together with the United Nations, a joint technical committee in charge of the coordination and implementation of the action plans. On 7 and 8 October 2012, the country task force held a validation workshop with the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior to finalize standard operating procedures for the handling and release of children who are captured, who surrender or who are otherwise separated from armed groups and who find themselves in the custody of the national armed forces or AMISOM. AMISOM efforts to reduce civilian casualties notwithstanding, slow progress has been made in the implementation of the civilian casualty, tracking, analysis and response cell. AMISOM has, however, instituted training on protection of women and children as part of the predeployment training for all AMISOM troops.

Parties in Somalia

  1. Al-Shabaaba (a, b)
  2. Somali National Armed Forces.a, b This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005) (a)
(*) The parties underlined have been in the annexes for at least five years and are therefore considered persistent perpetrators. (a) Parties that recruit and use children. (b) Parties that kill and maim children.