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AU trains troops on protection of civilians in armed conflict in Somalia


The African Union Commission (AUC) wrapped up a five-day training on Friday to equip personnel of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) with the necessary knowledge to ensure compliance with international legal instruments on human rights.’

ATMIS Force Commander Diomede Ndegeya said the engagement of the AU troops in asymmetric warfare has a high potential risk to the safety of civilians in its areas of operations.

“This heightens the need to ensure that all personnel serving in the mission uphold the highest standards of conduct and accountability in the implementation of their mandate,” Ndegeya said in a statement issued in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

He said the training was timely and will help ensure compliance with international humanitarian and human rights laws.

Topics covered at the training included international humanitarian law, international human rights law, the protection of women, children, refugees and internally displaced persons and all the applicable standards of conduct and discipline.

The training was held under the African Union compliance and accountability framework project for peace support operations, supported by the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Fiona Lortan, acting special representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, said ATMIS has taken steps to ensure compliance with international human rights laws and obligations pertaining to armed conflict.

Lortan said the obligations are spelt out in the ATMIS rules of engagement, indirect fire policy to minimize the impact of civilian casualties during military operations, force commander’s directives, ATMIS standard operating procedures on the treatment of detainees, and ATMIS zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.

The UN Security Council resolution 2628 underscores the importance of the African Union Compliance Framework in enhancing compliance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law, Lortan said. Enditem

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