August 20, 2013 (KAMPALA) - The African Union (AU) on Wednesday began a three-day training course on human rights for 32 officers from the Somali National Army (SNA) in the Ugandan capital Kampala.
Eloi Yao, the spokesperson of the AU Mission for Somalia (AMISOM), said in a press statement that the training is aimed at ensuring compliance and understanding of international humanitarian law by the Somalia army.
“The training seeks to contribute to professionalising and building a competent Somali armed forces by introducing the essential rules of international humanitarian law - both treaty and customary rules - and other relevant norms binding Somalia”, Yao said.
The workshop was opened by the minister of state for foreign affairs and Regional cooperation, Asuman Kiyingi.
“It is incumbent upon you to borrow a leaf from countries like Uganda, Burundi, South Africa, among others to ensure discipline, reconciliation [and] unity in diversity in order to build a prosperous, secure and self-sustaining Somalia”, the Ugandan minister told the training participants.
Col. Ali Amer, a representative of the Somali government, said the training will improve on the army’s understanding of basic rights.
Aisha Abdullahi, the AU commissioner for political affairs, noted that the 1949 Geneva convention and the 1977 additional protocols remain important tools for the protection of civilians.
“I hope this training will provide us with a way forward on how we can use international human rights law and other relevant regional and international legal instruments such as the ones on human rights in enhancing the protection of vulnerable persons”, she said.