The United Nations envoy tasked with advocating for children caught up in armed conflict today voiced her horror at last week’s stoning to death of a 13-year-old Somali girl who was a victim of rape.
Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, issued a statement condemning the killing and calling for better protection for children in Somalia, which remains beset by widespread fighting.
“The incident highlights the extreme nature of violence against children and women in Somalia, which has been heightened by the increasing lawlessness,” she said.
Aisha Duhulow was stoned to death in a stadium full of spectators in the southern port city of Kismayo on 27 October after authorities found her guilty of adultery.
But reports indicate that she had been raped by three men while walking to visit her grandmother in the capital Mogadishu. After the attack, Aisha asked for protection from prosecutors, who in turn accused her of adultery and sentenced her to death.
According to media reports, Aisha pleaded for her life before she was forced into a hole, buried up to her neck and then pelted with stones by some 50 men until she died in front of more than 1,000 people.
In her statement Ms. Coomaraswamy also raised concerns about the widespread recruitment and use of children as soldiers by all parties to the conflict in Somalia, which has not had a functioning national government since 1991. Children are being killed or maimed on a daily basis as a result of military operations, she added.
“It is the duty of the international community and the local authorities to stop these violations and to ensure better protection for children. No efforts should be spared.”