News / Africa

HRW Asks for Support for Arrested Children in Somalia

TEXT SIZE - +
— Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling on the Somali government to give three children arrested in Mogadishu Wednesday, for working with the al-Qaida-linked group al-Shabab, a fair trial and psychological support. The group also is calling on the government to stop using some of these children as informers.

After two suicide attacks, one targeting the newly elected president and the other targeting a restaurant in Mogadishu this month, Somali government forces have started carrying out searches of al-Shabab cells in Mogadishu that are still inflicting casualties on civilians and African Union and Somali military forces.

Door-to-door searches are proving very dangerous for security officials as they try to secure the capital despite al-Shabab withdrawing from Mogadishu more than a year ago.

On Wednesday, government forces arrested three teenage boys in Yaqshid district accused of planting Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs.)

Security officials displayed the explosives and the school children to the local media. The Somali officials said they will hand over the youngsters to police and they will later be arraigned in court.

With al-Shabab's ranks dwindling, due to tension and in-fighting, a Human Rights Watch report released in February noted the militant group has increasingly recruited children to strengthen its numbers. Families and children that resist the recruitment drive face severe consequences and even death.

Laetitia Bader, a Human Rights Watch researcher, says the new government has to look for ways to integrate these children back into society.

"One thing we called on TFG [the Transitional Federal Somali government] and have continued to do so is that the detention of children should be the measure of last resort so really what needs to be priority for the current Somali authority is to basically make sure that these children are rehabilitated, reintegrated and imprisoning them would need to be the measure of last resort," she said.

The rights group is calling on the government to allow children to have access to legal assistance and psychological support while their trial is under way.

According to Bader, the Washington-based Human Rights Watch has expressed real worry about some of these detained children being used as informers by the government.

"It does seem that in the past some of the children which have alleged to be with al-Shabab that have been picked up by now what was the former Transitional Federal Government were actually being used by the security forces as informers and this is something we are very concerned about and continue to be concerned about and it needs to be very clear the government should not be using any children that they come across as informers," she said.

As the government promises to continue with the flushing out of al-Shabab remnants in bullet-riddled Mogadishu,  the Somali authorities will have to decide what they will do with hundreds of young children forcibly recruited by al-Shabab.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid