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Sexual violence pervasive in Somalia: UN

Sexual violence pervasive in Somalia: UNUnited Nations, Aug 17 - Sexual violence against women and children is still pervasive in Somalia, a UN official has said.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said about 800 cases of rapes, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, early and forced marriage have been reported in Mogadishu from January to June this year, Xinhua reported.

Rape continues to be perpetrated by unknown armed men as well as men in military uniform, and the internally displaced remain most vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence, said deputy UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey.

Del Buey said around one-third of the victims of sexual violence were children.

Survivors of such violence have been provided medical assistance, psychosocial support, and legal counselling by humanitarian partners, he added.

According to UN figures, at least 1,700 people were affected by sexual and gender-based violence in Somalia last year.

The Somalian government and the UN signed a joint statement on the prevention of sexual violence in May, stressing that there is zero-tolerance to sexual violation and that perpetrators will be punished.

Somalia has been torn by factional fighting since 1991. On June 2, the UN launched an assistance mission to offer expertise in areas ranging from the political process to disarmament to help Somalia achieve peace, reconciliation and stability. (IANS)