Somalia: Security forces trained on facilitating humanitarian access

Amisom forces need to convince Somalis that it is fighting in their interests

A team from African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Humanitarian Unit and the Civil Military Working Group held a two-day workshop aimed at improving relationship between the military, civilians and humanitarian actors.

The coordination workshop, held in Baidoa, this week, was attended by civilians, AMISOM Ethiopia National Defence Forces (ENDF) officers, Somali Police Force, Somali National Army, AMISOM Police, AMISOM Humanitarian Unit, AMISOM Civil Affairs Unit and AMISOM Gender Unit.

The participants were taken through the Somalia Country Specific Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination Guidelines, which defines the manner of interaction and relationship between AMISOM and humanitarian actors in Somalia.

The guidelines, developed after years of engagement between AMISOM and the Civil Military Working Group, also aims to protect and promote humanitarian principles, reduce competition and minimize conflicts between military and humanitarian actors, and where appropriate, pursue common goals.

“The workshop was mainly focused on facilitation of humanitarian assistance, how we can address access challenges in Somalia, that is, the military and civilians. How we can coordinate and what guidelines are in place to effectively facilitate humanitarian access to people in need,” Major Dr. Fasil Yigzaw, from AMISOM said.

The participants also discussed AMISOM’s civil-military guidelines and the Mission’s involvement in provision of armed escorts to humanitarian convoys. Mohamed Ibrahim Abdi, a member of the Somali National Army, said the country’s military had a crucial role in facilitating humanitarian access. “We attended today, a training on how to abide by the Somalia Country Specific Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination Guidelines for Humanitarian Actors and their Engagement with AMISOM, how we can facilitate humanitarian access to people in need and the role of the Somali National Army in facilitating access in order to provide assistance when there are natural disasters or complex emergencies,” Abdi added.

Speaking in Baidoa, Sunday, AMISOM Humanitarian Liaison Unit Officer, Jackson Robert Basoronga, said the objective of the two-day workshop was to create awareness and understanding among military and police on the basic concepts and principles of humanitarian civil-military coordination as well as understanding the roles and responsibilities of federal states, humanitarian organization and the military.