In March, the Working Group received the SG’s fifth report on children and armed conflict in Somalia (S/2020/174). Between August 1, 2016 and September 30, 2019, the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) verified 14,856 violations against 12,551 children. Al-Shabaab was identified as the main perpetrator of most of the verified violations, including recruitment and use, killing and maiming, attacks on schools and hospitals, abductions, and denial of humanitarian access. Somali security forces were the main perpetrators of rape and other forms of sexual violence verified during the reporting period. In the SG’s 2019 annual report on CAAC, Somalia was the country situation with the highest number of verified grave violations. The Working Group should:

  • Strongly condemn all grave violations committed against children in Somalia, in particular the alarming numbers of children recruited, used, and abducted; and urge all parties to uphold their obligations under IHL and IHRL;
  • Welcome the drafting of the national strategy aimed at preventing child recruitment and facilitating release and reintegration of children associated with armed groups; as well as the national strategy on victims’ assistance; and urge the Government of Somalia to continue screening troops integrating into the Somali National Army for any children in their ranks;
  • Call on the Government of Somalia to swiftly adopt the Sexual Offences Bill, to finalize and adopt the Child Rights Bill, to criminalize the six grave violations against children, and to ratify the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC) and incorporate its provisions into national law;
  • Urge the Government to fully implement its 2012 action plans and subsequent 2019 roadmap on recruitment and use and killing and maiming; and to consistently comply with its 2014 Standard Operating Procedures for the reception and handover of children associated with armed groups, including the 72-hour limit on detaining children before handing them over to child protection actors; and to uphold the Paris Principles and Commitments.


This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – May 2020.

UN Action

Year listed: 2003
Action Plans signed: Somali National Army – recruitment and use of children (July 2012)
Sanctions Committee: The Sanctions Committee on Somalia
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Somalia: 2016201020082007
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Somalia2017201120082007

Perpetrators listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict

2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Transitional National Government a
Juba Valley Alliance a a
Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council a
Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA) a a, b
Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA/SNSC) of Mohamed Ibrahim Habsade a
United Somali Congress/Somali Salvation Alliance (USC/SSA)-faction of Muse Sudi Yalahow) a
Middle Shabelle Administration a, b
Puntland Administration a, b
Somali Patriotic Movement/Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council a, b
United Somali Congress (USC) of Mohamed Kanyare Afrah a, c
United Somali Congress/Somali Salvation Alliance (USC/SSA) of Omar a, c
Lower Shabelle Administration a
Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter Terrorism (ARPCT) a, b, d
Union of the Islamic Courts (ICU) a, b
Remnants of the former Union of the Islamic Courts (UIC) a, b a, b, d
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) a, b, c, d, f a, b, d a, b a, b a, b
Al-Shabaab* a, b, d a, b a, b a, b a, b a,b a,b a,b,e a,b,e
Hizbul Islam a a, b
Somali National Army (SNA) (Formerly listed as Somali National Armed Forces)~* a, b a,b a,b a,b a,b
Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a (ASWJ) a a a,b a

a: Parties that recruit and use children
b: Parties that kill and maim children
c: Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children

d: Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals
e: Parties that engage in abduction of children
f: Parties that deny humanitarian access to children

~ This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
* This party has been in the annexes for at least five years and is therefore considered a persistent perpetrator.