Rapes on the Rise in Somali Camps

In the past two months, the number of rape cases has increased dramatically in camps in the Somali town of Galkayo as a result of decreased security, a “culture of impunity,” and a rise in the number of attacks on internally displaced people (IDPs). Silje Heitmann, a gender-based violence specialist for Somalia at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), stated, “Attacks on women have gone up dramatically in the last two months and the severity of the attacks has become worse.”

Hawo Yusef Ahmed, who works at the Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development (GECPD) also noted the growing rate of rape: “In my estimation rape cases have gone up twice what they were in 2010. Last year, you would hear of a rape case maybe once every two weeks. Now you hear of rape cases every three to four days.”

A women’s rights activist told IRIN that many of those who have experienced rape are living in inadequate shelters in the camps and armed gangs are threatening women in the town. Women’s groups, in coordination with town elders, religious officials, and security personnel, have started a campaign to address the growing rate of rape in the town.


IRIN 11/11/11; UNFPA 11/11/11

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