The drought in the Horn of Africa, together with the ongoing conflict in Somalia, is causing critical protection risks for children affected in the region. Somalia has been included in the Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict since 2006. Currently, the Somali Transitional Federal Government as well as the armed group Al-Shabaab are listed in the 2011 Annual Report as parties that recruit and use children as soldiers and that kill and maim children. While already facing serious threats to their physical safety as a result of long-term conflict, children in the sub-region have become even more vulnerable.
Watchlist has been collaborating with and supporting the efforts of the Global Protection Cluster‘s Child Protection Working Group in order to address the urgent child protection needs in Somalia and surrounding countries. Watchlist support’s the cluster’s call for scaled up child protection programs, including strengthening the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, expanding family tracing activities and increasing sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response activities. Watchlist also supports the GPC’s call for advocacy efforts with armed groups in order to enhance compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law and provide humanitarian agencies with safe and unimpeded access to affected populations.