Somalia: UN-Supported Toll-Free Hotline Aims to Help Tackle Gender-Based Violence in Somalia

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A United Nations-backed toll free hotline has been launched for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Somalia to tackle sexual violence by enhancing timely response to abuse cases and offering information on accessible health services.

Hotline 5555, nicknamed Ceebla meaning 'no shame' in Somali, was initiated in October by the Somali Women's Development Centre (SWDC), with the support of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), several UN agencies and non-profit organizations, according to an UNSOM press release issued earlier this week.

"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 UNSOM Human Rights Officer Abdinasir Moallin during a training session meant to sensitize IDPs on the rights and services available to victims of gender-based violence.

Aiming to improve timely report to the authorities and their response time to handle abuse cases, the hotline also helps make health service accessible to the victims, such as providing information on emergency medical services.

Of great importance, one Somali official stated, is that the hotline breaks the cultural taboo as most sexual violence was unreported due to stigmatization and regarded normal.

Moreover, it offers a platform for the vulnerable group with legal and social support, urging them seeking justice with the help of police.

"We received training on human rights and gender-based violence, which we will share with our people in the camps," Fartun Hassan Hussein, an IDP representative at the training, applauded the hotline launch to curb the rampant gender-based violence in the camps.
Source: UN News 5 November 2015