Incoming AU Special Representative for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Maman S. Sidikou takes a tough stand on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Somalia
Incoming African Union Special Representative for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Maman S. Sidikou takes a tough stand on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Somalia.
9 October 2014, Johannesburg: As part of the continued efforts by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to combat Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA), the recently appointed Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Maman Sambo Sidikou, today opened a three-day workshop aimed at strengthening the Mission’s instruments and approaches towards preventing and addressing the issue of SEA.
Speaking during the opening, Amb. Sidikou said “AMISOM is duty-bound to diligently respect and implement the mandate entrusted to the mission by the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) and authorized by the United Nations Security Council in line with applicable policy guidelines on gender and human rights.” He also stressed that “Like any other human undertaking, AMISOM must continually seek to improve our systems and processes in order to respond to the dynamics of the mission, particularly on issues that affect the most vulnerable in society, such as those of sexual exploitation and abuse of women and girls.” Amb. Sidikou therefore noted that the workshop is critical in enhancing the Mission’s transparency and accountability mechanism related to conduct and discipline of the Mission’s civilian, police and military personnel.
As Amb. Sidikou assumes the leadership of AMISOM to steer the fulfillment ofits mandate to support the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) in bringing about peace in Somalia, he says that he iss committed to ensuring that AMISOM meets its obligations under international humanitarian law, especially with respect to conflict related sexual violence, including SEA.
Amb. Sidikou’s assumption of duty coincides with this maiden workshop of AMISOM’s leadership on SEA that is intended, not only to ensure that the leadership is well-equipped to address potential cases of SEA but to also come up with a robust, effective and victim-friendly response to addressing it if it occurs.
Also, at the invitation of the Special Envoy of the AU Commission Chairperson on Women, Peace and Security, Ms. Bineta Diop, the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairperson of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, participated in a session of the workshop. Former President Obasanjo, while urging AMISOM leadership to be attentive in preventing and responding to SEA, also commended AMISOM personnel and the police and troop contributing countries for the remarkable sacrifices and contribution to the peace process in Somalia.
The workshop is expected to come up with a more robust policy including a strategy and action plan on SEA as well as recommendations on the measures the Mission will put in place to support any victims of SEA. In addition, the workshop is expected to make recommendations to enhance the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the AU Commission and the troops and police contributing countries in order to strengthen their accountability and transparency in addressing SEA.
Participants at the workshop are drawn from the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the AU Commission, AMISOM, United Nations (UNSOM and UNSOA), human rights experts and Civil Society organizations from across the continent, including Somalia and the media.
The workshop has been organized with the support of the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA) and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) through the Norwegian funded Training for Peace (TfP) project.