Somali Minister of National Security Abdikarim Hussein Guled and Minister of Defense Mohamed Sheikh Hassan Hamud signed the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Reception and Handover of Children Separated from Armed Groups at a ceremony in Mogadishu on February 13, reaffirming the Federal Government of Somalia’s (FGS) commitment to protecting and preventing the use of child soldiers, addressing issues related to receiving children from the field, and cooperation with AMISOM and the United Nations to ensure the safety of children formerly associated with armed groups.
In addition to the two Ministers, those attending the ceremony included General Dahir Adan Elmi, Chief of Defense Forces; U.S. Special Representative for Somalia James P. McAnulty; Commander of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), General Wayne Grigsby; among others.
Special Representative for Somalia McAnulty commended the FGS, stating that “This signing reaffirms the Somali government’s commitment to protecting and preventing child soldiers, reuniting families separated by violence and terrorism, and its resolve to abolish this practice from within its borders.”
The SOP advances Somalia’s commitment to the “Child Soldier Action Plans,” two documents signed in July and August 2012 to establish a strategy for the reception and handover of children in the field and prevention of child soldiers through education of Somali National Forces troops, monitoring of camps, and cooperation with UNICEF.
The United States Government looks forward to assisting the Ministries of Defense and National Security in supporting their efforts to abolish the practice of child soldiers in Somalia and in promoting a peaceful, secure, and stable Somalia.