Al-Shabaab is listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) latest annual report on children and armed conflict (CAAC) for all five ‘trigger’ violations, and Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a (ASWJ) is listed for recruitment and use. This year, the Somali Federal Defence and Police Forces were newly listed for rape and other forms of sexual violence and remain listed for recruitment and use and killing and maiming. The SG expressed serious concern at the staggering numbers of grave violations, in particular, the recruitment and use, killing and maiming, and abduction of children, as well as the rising level of sexual violence attributed to the Somali Federal Defence and Police Forces. In August, UNSOM’s mandate is up for renewal, pursuant to SCR 2540 (2020). According to the SG’s periodic report from May (S/2021/485), 460 grave violations against children were verified between February 10 and May 7, including five attacks against schools and hospitals and six cases of denial of humanitarian access. At least 192 children were abducted, 216 were recruited and used, 104 were killed or maimed, and 61 girls were subjected to rape or other forms of sexual violence. The Security Council should:

  • Strongly condemn the alarmingly high numbers of grave violations committed against children in Somalia, and demand that all parties uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL);
  • Call on the Federal Government of Somalia to strengthen accountability for all grave violations committed against children, to enact the Child Rights Bill and the original 2018 Sexual Offences Bill, to ratify the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, as well as to adopt and implement the African Committee of Experts’ General Comment on Children in Situations of Armed Conflict, and to treat children actually or allegedly associated with armed groups primarily as victims, in line with the Paris Principles and Commitments;
  • Encourage the Federal Government to implement its commitments under the Safe Schools Declaration, developing comprehensive risk assessments and risk reduction strategies to prevent and respond to attacks, including child recruitment and sexual violence at, or on the way to or from, school;
  • Urge the Federal Government to fully implement its 2012 action plans on recruitment and use and killing and maiming and 2019 roadmap, which includes provisions on sexual violence against children, including by the Somali Police Force, and to swiftly engage with the UN to develop and implement an action plan to end and prevent rape and other forms of sexual violence against children; and to consistently comply with its 2014 Standard Operating Procedures, including the 72-hour limit to hand children over to child protection actors;
  • Call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the recommendations of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (SCWG-CAAC) elaborated in its fifth conclusions on Somalia.

The United Kingdom is the lead country on Somalia.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – August 2021.

UN Action

Year listed: 2003
Action Plans signed: Somali National Army – recruitment and use of children (July 2012) and killing and maiming of children (August 2012); Roadmap to expedite the implementation of the two action plans adopted in October 2019
Sanctions Committee: Somalia Sanctions Committee (Current Chair: Belgium)
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Somalia: 2020; 2016201020082007
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Somalia: 2020; 2017201120082007

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.