The Somali National Army (SNA) is listed for recruitment and use and killing and maiming of children, and Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a (ASWJ) is listed for recruitment and use. Al-Shabaab is listed for all five trigger violations. In 2012, the Government signed action plans to end and prevent violations for which it is listed. In 2018, the number of children affected by grave violations in Somalia increased by 23 percent as compared with 2017; Somalia topped all other countries on the CAC agenda, with the highest number of cases of child recruitment and use (2,300), sexual violence (331), and abductions (1,609). In October, the Emergency Relief Coordinator is expected to report to the Council on the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia. The deadly combination of conflict, insecurity, and drought has led nearly a quarter of a million civilians to flee their homes and left millions facing food insecurity. At least 178,400 children face severe malnourishment. However, continued insecurity caused by targeting of civilians by Al-Shabaab and Islamic State (IS) affiliates, as well as the presence of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERWs), pose significant challenges to humanitarian access, not to mention the protection of civilians. The dire humanitarian situation is further exacerbated by funding shortfalls. In August, several Council members objected to a proposal to impose additional counterterrorism (CT) sanctions against Al-Shabaab, which could have jeopardized access to humanitarian assistance for millions of Somali children and other civilians living in territories with Al-Shabaab presence.

The UN Security Council should:

  • Condemn all violations of international human rights and IHL, including by Al-Shabaab, IS affiliates, Somali national and regional forces, and international forces;
  • Call on all sides to respect international law, including by taking all precautions to protect children and other civilians, minimizing civilian deaths and casualties, and allowing safe, unhindered access to humanitarian assistance;
  • In broader discussions on humanitarian access, ensure humanitarian safeguards are included in all UN sanctions and CT measures; furthermore, consider amending SCR 2462 on preventing and combating the financing of terrorism and the 1267 sanctions regime to include safeguards for humanitarian activities.


This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – October 2019.

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.