News / Africa

UN Says Rape, Gender-Based Violence Rampant In Somalia

Internally displaced Somali women wait for relief food to be served in Hodan district south of capital Mogadishu in this September 5, 2011 photo.
Internally displaced Somali women wait for relief food to be served in Hodan district south of capital Mogadishu in this September 5, 2011 photo.
Lisa Schlein
— The United Nations says that rape and sexual abuse is widespread throughout Somalia, though cases remain seriously underreported.  A new report notes during the first half of the year, from January to June, some 800 cases of sexual and gender-based violence were reported in the capital, Mogadishu, alone.  

Sexual and gender-based violence has been pervasive in Somalia for many years and appears to be growing.  A spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke, says internally displaced women and girls are most affected.

“Rape continues to be perpetrated by unknown armed men and men wearing military uniform. Sexual and gender-based violence also includes domestic violence, harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, and early and forced marriage.  The majority of the survivors of this are women aged 18 and above," said Laerke.

The United Nations puts the number of internally displaced in Somalia at 1.1 million.  Last year, the U.N. recorded at least 1,700 rapes in 500 camps in the capital Mogadishu.  Human rights groups say many cases of rape go unreported because women fear being stigmatized and victims of reprisals.

This was illustrated earlier this year when a woman was arrested for claiming security forces had raped her.  She and the journalist who broke the story were imprisoned for one year.  They were released after two months in the face of an international outcry.

Presently, investigations are under way into the alleged gang rape by African Union troops of a Somali woman in Mogadishu.

The U.N. Children’s Fund says one-third of the victims of sexual violence are children. UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado says that last year, her agency and partners provided assistance to more than 2,200 victims of gender-based violence in central and south Somalia.

“One particular form of assistance is quite interesting because girls and women are at extremely high risk of being attacked while collecting firewood.  So, through funding from the Japanese government actually, we have provided thousands of families, of girls and women, displaced girls and women with fuel efficient stoves as part of the assistance provided," said Mercado.

The United Nations reports humanitarian agencies on the ground provide survivors of sexual abuse with medical assistance, psychosocial support, and legal counseling.

You May Like

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid