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ATMIS of the African Union provides training on child protection for police officers in Somalia’s peace support operations

Thirty police officers serving with the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) on Friday completed a weeklong training on how to protect and promote the welfare of children in armed conflict.

The training organised by ATMIS Protection, Human Rights, Gender (PHRG) Division for the Uganda Formed Police Unit (FPU) personnel, was to support the Federal Government of Somalia’s efforts in safeguarding and advancing the rights and welfare of children.

“I would like to reiterate the commitment of ATMIS to supporting to the Government ofSomalia and its people in the promotion and the protection of the rights and welfare of children especially at this critical time of drawdown and handovers,” said the ATMIS Deputy Force Commander in-charge of Operations and Plans, Maj. Gen. Marius Ngendabanka, during the opening of the workshop in Mogadishu.

ATMIS Deputy Force Commander in charge of Support and Logistics Major General Peter Muteti echoed the AU Mission’s commitment to developing capacities of Somali Security Forces to ensure smooth transfer of security responsibility.

“As ATMIS, we remain committed to ensuring that we develop capacities both for our own personnel as well as Somali National Army (SNA) and Somali Security Forces (SSF) because knowledge is power and a tool that enables us to achieve quality effects and performances,” observed Maj. Gen Muteti.

The Acting Head of ATMIS PHRG Division, Dr. Omar Alasow, noted that the training covered a range of topics including children’s rights, international humanitarian law, human rights law and national legal standards protecting children’s rights in armed conflict among others and urged the participants to cascade the knowledge gained from the training to Somali Security Forces.

ATMIS Senior Protection and Human Rights Officer, Gloria Jasse, emphasized the significance of protecting the rights of women and children and other vulnerable groups as ATMIS continues to hand over security responsibilities to Somali Security Forces.

“We did this training to enhance the knowledge of our peace support operations personnel on mainstreaming child protection and promoting their rights and welfare in all activities they undertake during this period,” said Jasse.

Participants described training as timely coming at a time when ATMIS has intensified its efforts of helping the Federal Government of Somalia develop a strong security force capable of security Somalia after ATMIS exits.

“Children in conflict regions face challenges that are largely overlooked; their voices are seldom heard. It is very important to address their needs, especially regarding their rights,” said Corporal Bidok Phoebe who has served in the Uganda Police Force for 16 years.

“I have learnt that children suffer most in cases of armed conflicts including illegal inclusion in the war as child soldiers, they are the victims of maiming and killing, child trafficking and abductions,” noted Police Sergeant Cosmas Onenge.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

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