The UN senior envoy in Somalia on Monday decried increased cases of sexual violence particularly in some makeshift settlements for internally displaced person (IDP) in Somalia.
In a statement issued to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia Michael Keating paid tribute to the victims and survivors of sexual violence in the country.
“Conflict-related sexual violence incidents constitute grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and it is deplorable that these crimes continue to be widespread in parts of Somalia,” Keating said in a statement.
According to the UN, sexual violence in Somalia disproportionately affects IDPs and individuals belonging to minority clans who have little or no access to justice systems and can not rely on their own marginalized clans for protection.
Keating said women and girls need protection, adding that effective measures must be implemented to end the impunity of the perpetrators of such crimes by holding them accountable under Somali laws.
According to information received by the UN, 7,324 new gender-based violence incidents were reported in Somalia last year.
Nearly all of the survivors were female, and 74 percent of them were living in IDP camps when they were attacked.
The UN said the problem has been exacerbated by the sharp increase in the number of IDPs in Somalia who have recently moved into urban areas in response to the country’s ongoing drought crisis.
An estimated 739,000 people have abandoned their rural homes in search of food and water since November 2016, and the incidence of sexual violence is especially high in some makeshift IDP settlements, said the UN.