Child Protection

Child protection in Somalia

Priority issues

UNICEF in Action


Protection publications


Priority issues

UNICEF Somalia/2012/Holt
© UNICEF Somalia/2012/Holt

Continuing invisibility of children
Between January and September 2015, the country task force on monitoring and reporting has documented 2,447 grave violations against children in Somalia including the forced recruitment and use of 62 girls and 749 boys. 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 97 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. The recent Gender Based Violence survey by the NGO the Organization for Somali Protection and Development (2014) found that during the reporting period, 94 percent of the survivors were female, indicating that women and girls are particularly at risk and the majority of the survivors had been internally displaced.

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. 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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