Child Protection

Child protection in Somalia

Priority issues

UNICEF in Action


Protection publications


Priority issues

  • Continuing invisibility of children
    Recruitment by all parties to the conflict between Jan to July  reached 1,414 children as of July 2012. Unknown numbers of children have been injured or killed on the frontline of the fighting in the past years, and hundreds of thousands of others have felt the impact of the conflict through displacement, bereavement, loss of access to schooling and other services, as well as widespread trauma.
  • Harmful and discriminatory practices against girls
    Somalia has one of the highest prevalence rates of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in the world, with more than 98 per cent of girls between the ages of 7 to 12 having undergone the process.
  • Women and girls at risk
    Increased insecurity, displacement and break-down of community protection mechanisms have led to increases in violence against women. A partner survey conducted by a UNICEF partner revealed high levels of sexual violence in IDP sites. It also highlighted an increase in the number of female headed households as well as single underage mothers. Additionally, several settlements reported frequent gang attacks, rape, illegal arrests, and harassment.
  • Child marriage
    Eight per cent of girls were married before the age of 15 and 46 per cent before they turned 18. While child marriage affects both sexes, girls are disproportionately affected as they are the majority of the victims. Tradition, religion and poverty continue to fuel the practice of child marriage, despite its strong association with adverse reproductive health outcomes and the lack of education for girls.



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