July 21, 2011

Amnesty International highlights suffering of Somali Children

by Jan Harris

A new report from Amnesty International describes how children in Somalia could become a ‘lost generation’ unless the world stops ignoring their suffering.

The report, ‘In the line of fire: Somalia’s children under attack’, describes how children are still being recruited by Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government as child soldiers, despite the party having promised to respect children’s rights.

Children are also being forced to fight by Al-Shabab, the main armed group opposed to the government, which is using schools as its recruiting grounds.

Al-Shabab has stopped some subjects being taught in schools and blocked education for girls in some areas, as well as imposing restrictions on clothing and listening to music.

Many refugees are leaving southern and central Somalia because they fear their children will be taken away to become soldiers.

Meanwhile, the famine spreading across Africa is exacerbating the already critical situation.

The UN has declared a famine in two regions of Somalia but the political situation in the country makes delivering aid a seemingly impossible task.

The UK has donated £25m for Somalia, but has not agreed how the money can be channelled without indirectly aiding al-Shabaab.

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