AMISOM in Somalia: peacekeepers or abusers?

By Ena Cefo

Human Rights Watch reports that Western-supported African Union troops stationed in Somalia since 2007 under the name AMISOM have been sexually assaulting Somali women as young as 12. AMISOM’s mission is to help restore stability in Mogadishu, but soldiers have been accused of abusing their power to sexually exploit vulnerable women. Interviews of the victims revealed signs pointing to organized abuse that is tolerated by senior officials within AMISOM. As a peacekeeping mission, AMISOM receives immunity from prosecution by Somalia and the troops’ home countries reserve both the jurisdiction and the discretion to prosecute misconduct.