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Storyline:National News

In support of the Somali Custodial Corps, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) with support from UNODC, is conducting training for Somali Custodial Corps to boost their knowledge of human rights and international humanitarian law.

The training, which is part of capacity building for the country’s prisons sector also aims to enhance the capacity of female Custodial Corps Officers, and is jointly facilitated by officials from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

The trainees are also being sensitized on the human rights of prisoners, their obligations to respect prisoners’ dignity whilst balancing security procedures in handling prisoners to ensure safety.

One of the female trainees Lieutenant Sadiya Hassan Ali said it was fruitful and tackled aspects relevant to their daily tasks.

“We were trained on the necessity of good conduct with the inmates especially women; and respecting them; while bearing in mind that prisoners should not escape from jail since we are assigned to ensure custody of inmates,” she said.

Major Ahmed Jimcale Mohamed, one of the trainees appreciated emphasis on equal treatment between male and female Custodial Corps.

“Women and men have the same opportunities to serve the nation. We are all soldiers and have the same rights. Female soldiers work especially in the female inmates section while the men work with the male inmates. But in general, we all have one task to serve and protect,” Major Ahmed Jimcale Mohamed observed.

Stephen Cox, the Corrections Officer in the Joint Justice and Corrections Section of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions Group (ROLSIG) who jointly led the training noted that it aims to enhance their understanding of international humanitarian law and how it relates to Somali law. He added that the UN emphasizes building the capacity of the female Custodial Corps Officers in all training programs.

“Purposely, we selected junior officers at the very early stages of their career. This is about planning for the future. We have officers ranging from Warrant Officers, to Major on this training course, and out of 34 students, 9 are female officers which is very encouraging. UNSOM insists on 25 percent female representation for all our training courses. We want to see female officers in senior positions in years to come. There is no reason why they can’t sit in those positions. They are highly educated and they are very motivated. As the course is showing, they do have a desire for high positions,” Cox said adding that the training will be rolled out to other regions of Somalia including Kismayo, Baidoa and Puntland.

Presently, the United Nations is supporting the drafting of a new law for the Prisons sector to update the Somali Prisons Law of 1972. The new draft law when passed will incorporate international legislation and the “Mandela Rules” which provide the minimum standards for treatment of prisoners.