The UN is conducting a two-week course on human rights and international humanitarian law for 63 officers from the Somali National Army (SNA) and the South West Special Police Force.
The training, which started last week in Baidoa, South West state’s administrative capital, is aimed at equipping security forces drawn from Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions with skills on human rights and humanitarian law.
The Human Rights and Protection Group of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) is conducting the training as part of the Mission’s mandate to support the rebuilding of Somalia’s security institutions.
UNSOM’s support to the security sector is aimed at professionalizing security institutions and developing their capacity to protect citizens.
“The purpose of the training is to provide the state forces with knowledge on human rights issues and strengthen the rule of law,” explained Nadifa Armey Abdullahi, the South West state Minister of Women and Human Rights, during the opening of the training session for the South West Special Police Force Officers. “It will enable security forces to have a good understanding of human rights since they are dealing with different sections of the society”.
Through the training, participants get a better understanding of their complex roles and duties in the protection of civilians, vulnerable and marginalized individuals and groups, among them women and children.
Charles Muwunga Mwebe, UNSOM Human Rights Team Leader in Baidoa, commended the active participation during the sessions. “They are raising a lot of issues because this is something that is practical and key to their lives,” Muwunga said.
Similar training for Somali National Army Officers aimed at enhancing the capacity of the armed forces in human rights observance was held in Baidoa last week. Among the topics covered were human rights and sharia law, non-discrimination in law enforcement, use of force,firearms, state of emergency, prevention of torture, rights in the administration of justice, and the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.
“This is not the first time we are given such training and it will certainly make difference in the conduct of the military towards civilians,” stated Abdullahi Noor Ali, an SNA trainee.
Foos Abdi Farah, another SNA trainee said the training would be beneficial to both the Somali National Army and the civilian population. “We request for more trainings so as to get more knowledge,” Foos added.
At the end of the training, participants will be expected to demonstrate the ability to transfer the knowledge acquired to their counterparts in the army and the police force.