Recently, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia has been accused by the United Nations in the annual report of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict of being one of the “most persistent violators” of using child soldiers.
As a result of their ongoing support of the Somali Transitional Government – as a part of their effort to eradicate terrorism from the Horn of Africa – the United States is subsequently being accused of possible violations of the Child Soldier Prevention provision of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008; the Durbin-Coburn Child Soldiers Accountability Act; and the Durbin-Coburn Human Rights Enforcement Act. Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois recently voiced his concern relating to these issues in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, the transitional government has demonstrated a willingness to recruit and retain child soldiers. A Somali government official was quoted as saying,”I’ll be honest, we were trying to find anyone who could carry a gun.” And Ali Sheikh Yassin, vice-chairman of Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in Mogadishu, said that about 20 percent of government troops (thought to number 5,000 to 10,000) were children and that about 80 percent of the rebels were.
Somalia’s president, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, has promisted to look into the matter.