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Somalia: Information on adoption regulations

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 January 1990
Citation / Document Symbol SOM4070
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Somalia: Information on adoption regulations, 1 January 1990, SOM4070, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


According to the president of the North Somalia Association of Quebec, adoption is a relatively simple procedure. An application is made out to the Ministry of Interior, who in turn submits the name of the prospective adopting parent to the Ministry of Security for a security check. Should that prove positive, the Ministry of Interior will permit the applicant to choose from a list of orphans. The applicant must agree to provide the adopted child with proper care and submit to a six month probationary period. Upon signing the document, the adopting parent may take his/her child home. At the end of the probationary period, the Ministry of Security will inspect the general living condition of the adopted child and report to the Ministry of Interior. It is at this juncture that the final papers are signed and the children become legally adopted.

Regarding names, the above source stated that children always keep their first full names, ie. that of their biological father. However, the adoptive parent may give his own last name to the new child unofficially.

The manager of COSTI, Centre for Italian Scholastic and Technical Organizations located in Toronto, corroborates the information given above and offers the following details.

It has been the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior to fund orphanages housing children of military or police background. The Ministry of Defence also funds orphans of the revolution referred to as Arurta Ka-anka. From the period proceeding the revolution and beyond to the present, the Ministry of Education has looked after civilian orphans. Therefore one can apply to one of the three ministries involved for adoption purposes.

In general, children are considered orphans upon the death of the father and not the mother. Traditionally, orphans are looked after by the extended family. If however, the widow is unable to provide for her children, then state-run orphanages would take them in.

Corroborating information from published sources is currently unavailable to the IRBDC.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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