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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid