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U.N. EXPERT CALLS FOR RELEASE OF ABDUCTED CHILDREN IN SOMALIA

MOGADISHU, Somalia, A United Nations human rights expert, on Friday, called for the immediate release of all children kidnapped or recruited as fighters in armed conflict in Somalia.

Bahame Tom Nyanduga, the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, also condemned recent terrorist attacks in the country and urged action to stop use of children in armed conflict.

"The abduction of children by the al-Shabab group and their recruitment and use by government security forces in the armed conflict, constitute a grave violation of the children's rights," Nyanduga said, in a statement issued in Mogadishu, at the end of a six-day mission to assess the human rights situation in the country.

The rights expert urged the authorities to act now to stop children being used in the fighting, calling on the government to build rehabilitation centres to address the plight of children associated with al-Shabab.

The UN rights expert welcomed action by both the government and the international community, to reduce loss of life from famine, but made clear that more had to be done urgently, to help thousands of people forced to leave their homes because of flooding.

He lauded the government for some human rights improvements, including ending the practice of executing in public, those convicted of terrorism-related offences, but made clear there was still much more to be done, to improve human rights generally, in Somalia.

Source: Nam News Network