Child protection in Somalia
Somalia, one of the world’s poorest countries, is also arguably one of its least protective environments for children. Much of the country has been entrenched in civil conflict for 19 years with children as young as nine forced to fight. The administration and local institutions are unable to provide children with an adequate protective environment that safeguards their rights. Somali women and children have become increasingly vulnerable to all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation, much of it is practiced in a climate of total impunity.
The internally displaced, children from minority groups, the very poor, orphans, children with special needs, working children, children living in the streets, militia children and children in conflict with the law, are all in special need of protection. In most of these categories, girls are especially disadvantaged.
Young people have had little opportunity for education, or have had their education interrupted. They are frequently exposed to violence, risk of HIV and AIDS and drug abuse especially the use of khat. These challenges, coupled with unemployment, have worsened young people’s overall vulnerability to different forms of violence and exploitation, and increased their involvement in criminal activities, including piracy and armed conflict, in search of alternative livelihoods.