A toll free hotline is now available to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia for reporting cases of gender-based violence and other violations of human rights.
Popularly known as CEEBLA in Somali, the hotline 5555 was launched in October and spotlighted today during a training for IDPs on human rights, gender and sexual violence that was organized by HINNA, a women’s organization, with the support of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) UNFPA, UNHCR and other protection actors.
The establishment of the hotline seeks to reduce the number of cases of abuse by improving response time on the part of authorities and easing access to health services.
The toll free line is the initiative of the Somali Women’s Development Centre (SWDC).
Speaking at the training, UNSOM Human Rights Officer Abdinasir Moallin said the training is meant to sensitize IDPs on the rights and services available to victims of gender-based violence.
“This training for IDPs from camps in Mogadishu on gender-based violence is meant to raise awareness and enhance their understanding. It is also to generate discussions on gender-based violence. More importantly, we are also sharing with them information on services available for victims of gender-based violence, which includes domestic violence and rape,’’ said Moallin.
The victims can access all the necessary information they need in terms of emergency medical services and how to lodge a complaint with the police through the hotline.
Fadwo Hassan Jimalle, a Protection Officer with HINNA, said the training and toll free line would provide an easier avenue for reporting gender-based violence.
Talking about or reporting an instance of gender-based violence in Somalia is considered a taboo due to cultural barriers, but the hotline is expected to help overcome that hurdle.
“Most cases of gender-based violence go unreported because of stigmatization. We are educating them on the need to break the silence because there is a lot of gender-based violence in our communities. Unfortunately, our society thinks gender-based violence is normal and not a crime,” noted Jimalle.
Amina Arale, a Human Rights Coordinator at the Somali Women Development Center, said the hotline would offer a referral mechanism for victims seeking justice.
“The phone calls will be used as reference points and will increase cases of referrals handed over to the police, hospitals or legal representatives of the victims. It will also coordinate the agencies involved in providing legal and social support to the victims,” added Arale.
SWDC supports IDPs with legal aid and also works with the Somali Police.
Fartun Hassan Hussein, one of the IDPs attending the training, lauded the establishment of the hotline which in her view will help tackle gender-based violence that is rampant in the camps.
“We received training on human rights and gender-based violence, which we will share with our people in the camps,” Ms Hussein said.