Direct Link to Full 98-Page 2014 Human Rights Watch Report:
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION & ABUSE BY AFRICAN UNION FORCES IN SOMALIA
Somali women leave with food rations from a distribution centre near Jowhar, a
town north of the capital
– September 8, 2014
HRW documented 10 incidents of rape and sexual assault, including gang rape
and the rape of a 12-year-old girl, by African Union Mission in Somalia
(AMISOM) troops in 2013 and 2014. Most of the incidents took place on AMISOM
bases in the Somali capital,
“Where this case is particularly shocking is the direct use of humanitarian assistance to lure these women in,” Laetitia Bader, one of the authors of the report, told Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“These were displaced women coming in (to the military base) to get medical assistance and it’s when they are in the outpatient clinics that they get approached by a Somali intermediary who says: ‘Why don’t you come back to the base? We’ll give you medication.”
One woman, known as Ayanna, told HRW she was gang raped at gunpoint by six Burundian soldiers after going to their outpatient clinic to get medicine for her sick baby.
One of the three other women who were also raped at the same time was badly hurt.
“We carried the injured woman home,” she told HRW. “Three of us walked out of the base carrying her… She couldn’t stand.”
The soldiers threw packets of porridge, cookies and $5 at the women as they left, she said.
Rape is rarely punished in
SEX FOR $5
HRW also interviewed 14 displaced women and girls selling sex to AMISOM soldiers for around $5 a day. Sexual exploitation – the abuse of power or trust for sexual purposes – is in violation of their code of conduct.
The sex trade on AMISOM bases appears “routine and organised”, HRW said.
Women who visited the bases regularly were not checked on their way in and HRW was told that some lived there, ostensibly employed as interpreters.
“Somali women having paid sex with soldiers have been able to obtain AMISOM badges allowing them easy access in and out of what should be highly secure military zones,” the report said.
Almost all of the women interviewed who regularly sold sex to soldiers described seeing other women and girls on the bases.
“It would suggest there are many more,” Bader said. “This is much more organised than a few soldiers.”
AMISOM deployed to
AMISOM’s 22,000 troops come from
Only two out of the 21 women and girls interviewed filed a complaint, for fear of reprisals and stigmatisation while those having sex for money did not want to lose their main source of income.
“We take all allegations against AU Troops in
“Any AMISOM personnel found guilty of any such crimes will be dealt with appropriately.”
HRW only identified one case, in