Newly deployed military officers trained on gender and human rights

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Mogadishu, 21 February 2017 – The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has embarked on training of gender focal persons to help bring the soldiers on the Mission into line with United Nations laws on human rights and gender equality.

Consequently, AMISOM has organized an orientation course on gender issues for officers from new battalions that were recently deployed in all the five sectors of Somalia.

The three-day training was officially opened, yesterday, by the AMISOM Deputy Chief of Staff, Col. Charles Byaruhanga, on behalf of the Force Commander Lt. Gen. Osman Noor Soubagleh.

“The main aim of this course is to achieve the call of gender equality which is set in the charter of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325(2000) that is one of the primary and enduring responsibilities of the member states,” Col Byaruhanga said at the opening ceremony.

The AMISOM Gender Officer at the Mission headquarters in Mogadishu, Major Bupe Chanda, said the course was aimed at orienting the new officers on their roles as well as coordinating all gender issues in the sectors.

“This is part of capacity building for AMISOM officers and also for the Somali National Army (SNA). We’ve started with this one, then eventually we’ll train focal persons for SNA”, Major Chanda added.

She said the officers being trained would be instrumental in preventing sexual exploitation and abuses in the sectors as well as being ambassadors for AMISOM in their respective areas of operation. “The main aim of our training is to acquaint the newly nominated gender focal persons in sectors on gender issues and their roles as focal point persons. All sectors are required to have gender focal point persons”, the gender officer added.

The training facilitator, Stella Maranga, gave a breakdown on how the course would be run and the information to be shared with the new gender focal persons in the sectors.

“On the last day, we shall look at AMISOM and gender mainstreaming in AMISOM, we introduce them to our gender focal point system and show them how they are linked, how the gender unit functions. The gender unit has three functions; there’s civilian, police and military and we try to show them how the three units work together and how we connect with people in the sectors or in the field and then let them make an action plan on how to strengthen gender and women participation in AMISOM and military,” Maranga added.

Col. Byaruhanga congratulated the AMISOM gender unit for organizing the training.

“I assure you that all training of gender will be supported by our office,” he added before officially opening the training.

The training involves newly deployed officers in the five sectors of the country to train them on mainstreaming gender issues. The officers will act as the link between AMISOM headquarters and the sectors.