News / Africa

HRW Asks for Support for Arrested Children in Somalia

— 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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid