UN: Sexual and gender-based violence pervasive in SomaliaListen /
About 800 cases of sexual and gender-based violence have been reported in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, during the first six months of the year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Women and girls who are internally displaced continue to be the most affected.
OCHA says rape is often perpetrated by unknown armed men and men wearing military uniform.
Other forms of gender-based violence that women in Somalia encounter include domestic violence, harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and early and forced marriage.
Marixie Mercado from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) says about one-third of victims of sexual violence in Somalia are children.
"In 2012, UNICEF provided over 2,200 victims of gender-based violence in south and central Somalia with assistance. There is immediate health support for girls and women who have been attacked. There is also livelihood support. Poverty is clearly a huge factor in their vulnerabilities so socio-economic support to these women and girls is a major component of this support. Girls and women are at extremely high risk of being attacked while they are collecting firewood. So through funding from the Japanese government, we have provided thousands of displaced women and girls with fuel efficient stoves as part of the assistance that is provided."
In 2012 there were at least 1,700 cases of sexual and gender-based violence in Somalia, according to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual violence in Conflict.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.