Addis Ababa, 21 April 2015: The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, today, formally released the key findings and recommendations (attached) contained in the report of an Independent Investigation Team established to investigate allegations of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) by personnel of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The allegations were contained in a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), titled “The Power These Men Have Over Us – Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by African Union Forces in Somalia” and released on 8 September 2014.
The Team of experienced investigators was drawn from Ghana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, which are all non-Troop/Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) to AMISOM. The Team conducted its investigations both inside and outside Somalia between November 2014 and February 2015.
The Team investigated the twenty one (21) allegations contained in the HRW report. It found that two of these allegations are indeed proven cases of SEA perpetrated by AMISOM soldiers.
On the basis of its findings, the Team made a number of observations and recommendations to strengthen existing mechanisms that the AU Commission and the T/PCCs to AMISOM have put in place to address SEA.
In line with its “zero tolerance policy” and its commitment to address SEA, the Commission is, in this particular instance, engaging with the concerned countries, which have the primary responsibility for the requisite prosecutorial action to be urgently undertaken in order to ensure that the victims get justice and assistance, as maybe required. Furthermore, the Commission will be convening a meeting with the T/PCCs and Somalia, with a view to identifying the concrete steps to be taken to implement the recommendations contained in both the HRW and the Investigation Team report.
The Commission seizes this opportunity to reiterate its commitment and that of the Member States to continue to respect the dignity of all Somali women and girls and to uphold the religious and cultural values of Somalia, as AMISOM continues to implement its mandate to restore peace and stability in the country.