PRESS STATEMENT: Condemning insurgent acts of terrorism in the double truck bombings in Mogadishu, Somalia

Destruction of the Safari Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia during the October 14th terror attacks (Photo Source)

Somalia’s long-running political unrest has continued to take a heavy toll on civilians, as warring partied and insurgent Islamic continue to hurt, kill and later, displace them in the country.  On Saturday 14th October, a deadly double truck bombing struck in Mogadishu – one of the deadliest attacks in the capital of Somalia, with a rising death toll of at least 300 and over 200 injured. There is no clear insinuation on which extremist group is responsible for the twin bombing attacks in the city, but the magnitude of the attack is most alarming since the 1990’s in the politically-fragile nation making it the single most deadly attack in the Horn of Africa nation.

With this unclaimed attack on civilians, including women and children, SIHA strongly condemns these brutal acts of violence on innocent individuals. This merciless brutality against humans destabilizes communities, violates human rights and threatens the well-being of the inhabitants. SIHA Network also recognizes that with a spontaneous increase in Somalia’s 1.1 million internally displaced people to many more, primarily women and children who remain extremely vulnerable, we are confident that these negative forces will be overcome and, wicked ideologies defeated.

SIHA calls on the Somali government to address the militarization of civilians, spreading militant militias, and stand firm against the spreading of religious militancy, gender-based violence, corruption while working to provide employment and training opportunities for youth males and females to end the situation of disparity and random violence.

SIHA remains committed to reproaching such acts of violence against minority, demographic groups recognizing the need for long-term persistent messaging to drive change in the region.

SIHA mourns the loss of our Somali family, friends and civilians; and we pray for recovery of those injured in the attacks.

Background

The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) is a network of civil society organizations from Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Somali-land, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Uganda, and Kenya. Established in 1995 by a coalition of women’s rights activists with the aim of strengthening the capacities of women’s rights organizations and addressing women’s subordination and violence against women and girls in the Horn of Africa, SIHA’s network is comprised of close to 90 member organizations. SIHA and its members envision girls and women in the Horn of Africa with the right to live in a peaceful, just environment and the ability to exercise their equal rights as human beings. SIHA’s work with adolescent girls aims to address their overall subordination and exposure to violence, while investing in their potential and reducing their vulnerabilities.


For interview requests or images and case studies from SIHA Network, please contact Martha Tukahirwa, Project Development and Communications Officer (
martha@sihanet.org) +256414286263

PRESS STATEMENT: International Day of the Girl Child 2017

16 days of Activism with school girls in Khartoum, Sudan

On the International Day of the Girl Child with the aim of highlighting and addressing the needs and challenges that girls face – SIHA remains committed to advocating for girls in the Horn of Africa. This year’s theme of “EmPOWER Girls: Before, during and after crises” is central to our ethos. SIHA’s work with adolescent girls living in emergency contexts aims to address their overall subordination and exposure to violence, while investing in their potential, and reducing their vulnerabilities as a marginalized group in the region. The social and economic drivers of migration, violence against girls and trafficking in the East and Horn of Africa region are embedded in political instability, poverty, and the ingrained culture of patriarchy. In the countries where SIHA is operating, adolescent girls are not allowed to enjoy their childhood.

  • In several parts of Uganda, girls’ education is not a priority; here, we are looking at Moroto and Kotido as key areas – where in Moroto, 6.4% of girls finish their education. According to the latest census, there are 23,154 girls aged 6 to 12, but only 20.7% (4,786) of them are enrolled in school. Additionally, Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) education is also a key priority in schools, especially for girls where they can make informed decisions about their bodies, choices and speak out against acts of sexual violence. A lack of proper SRHR education has led to an increase in teen pregnancies amongst young girls from 24 to 25% attributed to the low level of education in the demographic group. SIHA through its educational programme remains devoted to supporting girls in their educational path in Uganda;
  • Due to the prolonged war and militarization in South Sudan, there continues to be normalization of violence which has translated into rising levels of sexual violence. In Darfur and Nuba Mountains, SIHA has established skills-development programs for girls where protection and awareness against all forms of violence against women particularly sexual violence, have been integrated into curricula;
  • With the influx (part of a total of 11,245 migrants and asylum seekers) of Ethiopian migrant adolescent girls into the Gulf through Somalia in search of better economic conditions, many of these girls are deported back into Ethiopia – thus increasing their vulnerability as Internally Displaced People (IDPs), and being more susceptible to trafficking and child marriages. These girls account for nearly 50% of the migrant population. Eritrea’s population continues to be disrupted by the country’s military conscription, turmoil – enabling sexual violence and trafficking. In Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somaliland, SIHA continues to work very closely with and through its members to advocate and provide direct support related to girls migrating seeking economic opportunities.
  • In Somalia, SIHA strongly condemns the practice of gang-rape, where victims of rape and those supporting them are criminalized and harassed by the authorities that need to protect the girls’ rights. Female genital mutilation and early marriage are still rife in the region and SIHA has persistently challenged these harmful traditional practices by conducting trainings and community facilitation.

Across all project locations, SIHA continues to use a number of methods to provide direct support to grassroots organizations and associations. SIHA acknowledges that saving and empowering the girl-child living in emergency contexts, especially in the Horn of Africa is a global effort. SIHA is committed to the safety of adolescent girls in the Horn of Africa.

Background

The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) is a network of civil society organizations from Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Somaliland, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Uganda, and Kenya. Established in 1995 by a coalition of women’s rights activists with the aim of strengthening the capacities of women’s rights organizations and addressing women’s subordination and violence against women and girls in the Horn of Africa, SIHA’s network is comprised of close to 90 member organizations. SIHA and its members envision girls and women in the Horn of Africa with the right to live in a peaceful, just environment and the ability to exercise their equal rights as human beings. SIHA’s work with adolescent girls aims to address their overall subordination and exposure to violence, while investing in their potential and reducing their vulnerabilities.

For interview requests or images and case studies from SIHA Network, please contact the Project and Communications Development Officer – Ms. Martha Tukahirwa (martha@sihanet.org) +256414286263