Press Release: TechnicalInter-Agency Workshop on Approaches, Roles and Procedures for Disengaged Combatants, March 17-18, 2012
Mogadishu,18 March 2012 -- The first two-day workshop to determine approaches, rolesand procedures for managing disengaged combatants (defectors) concluded inMogadishu on 18 March.
The workshop wasorganized and facilitated by the UN Political Office for Somalia and chaired bythe Deputy Minister of Interior and National Security, Abdihakim E. Guled. Participants included the Deputy Mayor ofBenadir, Iman Icar, the African Union DSRCC Hon. Wafula Wamunyinyi, numerous seniorTFG and AMISOM officials, representatives from Galmudug, civil society, UNagencies, NGOs and the international community.
In his openingstatement, Minister Guled noted the good timing of this workshop. “This is the opportunity to support ouryouth and guarantee peace and stability for Somalia”, the Ministeradded. As TFG and AMISOM operationsexpand to new geographic areas, the need that a transparent, comprehensivesystem be in place is becoming increasingly more urgent.
“Managing thedisengaged combatants is a complex issue that requires sound coordination andcooperation. It calls for cohesive and comprehensive approaches and strategies”said the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, in astatement read on his behalf. “We need tosupport the Government, IGAD and AMISOM to manage the disengaged combatantsthat have decided to join the peace process” added SRSG Mahiga.
Participants reviewedexisting policies and practices, and learned from examples from otherpost-conflict countries, reviewing the findings of the prior inter-agencyworkshop on lessons in dealing with defectors held last June in Entebbe, Uganda.
Currently there is acamp in Mogadishu managing ex combatants and two rehabilitation centres forsome 500 youth. Participants underlinedthe importance of developing similar facilities around the country.
Several presentersdrew lessons from recent success of the Inter-agency “Youth at Risk/Youth forChange” programme in Somalia and called for further services and focus onchildren, families and youth pointing out that prevention measures are equallyimportant.
The workshop calledfor an integrated comprehensive approach on the issue involving all keyMinistries, regional local administrators, Human Rights Officers, legal advisors,NGOs, UN agencies, AMSIOM, IGAD, local community and international expertise.
The representativesagreed on the need to promote a national policy and to draft Standard OperatingProcedures (SOPs) where monitoring and oversight mechanisms are included. Participants also articulated the importanceof outlining the process in accordance with an agreed legal framework that takesinto account the unique Somali context.
Following through onthe recommendations of the June 2011 workshop in Entebbe, Uganda therepresentatives reconfirmed the need to establish a National Technical CoordinationSecretariat to support the existing Joint Security Committee on the issue ofdisengaged fighters. The proposedsecretariat should meet on a regular basis and engage with a wide set of actors.
The participants furtherreiterated the importance of creating a communication and outreach campaign, toinform target groups about how to disengage and renounce violence against thestate, as well as the process and the benefits of the reintegration programme.
The participants reiteratedthe ongoing importance of a national driven process and they discussed in depththe roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders while calling for aninclusive process.
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