Background Paper on Somalia for the European Union High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration

1.         Introduction

Since independence in 1960 from Britain and Italy, Somalia has experienced three different political periods. During the first nine years of independence, the internal situation was fairly calm and the governments were dominated by the Somali Youth League (SYL) which is the oldest Somali party created in 1943. In 1969, the assassination of then President Dr Rashid Ali Shermarke from the Somali Youth League was followed by a coup d'état led by Commander-in-Chief Major-General Mohamed Siad Barre. The political strategies of Siad Barre based on repression and ethnic favouritism made it possible for him to stay in power until 1991 when he finally lost most of his support from different clans and had to flee from the country[1]. From 1988 onwards, Somalia has been plagued by a complex national conflict. It started as a fight with the objective of overthrowing the Siad Barre's regime and turned into a full scale civil war. The civil war in Somalia is difficult to disentangle mainly due to the high number of militant and political groups involved (mostly based on the Somali clan system) and to the shifting nature of the war in terms of the locations of the fighting.

Thirty clan-based factions are believed to be actively involved in militant activities[2]. The most serious fighting has taken place in and around Mogadishu, at Baidoa, 250 kilometers to the North-west, and around the southern port city of Kismayo[3]. More than 800,000 Somalis fled the country during the civil war since 1988 and approximately 1,170,000 Somalis are estimated to be internally displaced[4].

The major actors fighting in Mogadishu are the two faction leaders, Hussein Aideed from the United Somali Congress/Somali National Alliance and Ali Mahdi from the United Somali Congress/Somali Salvation Alliance. In the South-East of the country, the Gedo region, the two adversaries are the movement of the Siad Barre loyalists, the Somali National Front and the Islamic movement, Al-Ittihad al Islamia. In the two southern regions, Bay and Bokol, the two clans fighting each other are the Rahanwein Resistance Army and Hussein Aideed from the United Somali Congress/Somali National Alliance. The northern part of Somalia has been relatively calm compared with the southern and central parts of the country,

2.         Politicaland Economic Developments 1997-1999

The latest significant peace agreement for Somalia is the Cairo Declaration of 22 December 1997 after which crucial developments regarding peace and the reconstruction of the country ensued. The main developments are the proclamation of the autonomous "Puntland State of Somalia" (North-East of the country) in July 1998 and the agreement on an installation of an unified civilian administration for Mogadishu and the Benadir region[5]. However, the joint agreement between the two main faction leaders in Mogadishu, Hussein Aideed and Ali Mahdi Mohamed, has not led to a more permanent settlement. While these initiatives look promising, the recent efforts to restore peace and to built up a stable administration in the Gedo region and Jubaland (South of the country) have failed[6].

Despite the peace efforts, the situation in Somalia has worsened, especially in the southern part of the country[7]. However, two elements made the Cairo negotiations special for developments in Somalia: the subjects discussed and the participants. The negotiations went beyond the necessity of peace towards talks on the creation of state and government structures of Somalia. The consensus in Cairo was important because it was reached by two broad alliances that include most of Somalia's main political clan-based groups: the National Salvation Council led by Ali Mahdi and the Somali National Alliance led by Hussein Aideed[8]. Hussein Aideed, the self-declared President of Somalia had refused to take part in the national reconciliation process set out in January 1997 at the Sodere (Ethiopia) peace negotiations[9][9]. Mr. Aideed's reservations about these negotiations had centered on issues of membership credentials and foreign intervention, especially by Ethiopia[10].

In the Cairo Declaration, participants pledged to set aside their differences and to "embark on a new path towards national unity and re-establishment of the basic rights, aspirations and freedoms of the Somali people"[11]. Acknowledging previous peace efforts made in Nairobi (October 1996), Sodere (January 1997), Sanaa (May 1997), Cairo (May 1997) and the separate Cairo Understanding of 21 December 1997, the Cairo Declaration calls for the formation of a transitional government based on a system of federal governance and "bound by the rules of international law and the objectives and principles of the United Nations and all other international organizations in which Somalia is a member"[12]. These future visions for Somalia made the Cairo Declaration different from the previous agreement.

The Cairo Declaration on Somalia issued after the negotiations was signed by 28 representatives of factions and alliances, including the two major warlords, Ali Mahdi Mohamed on behalf of the National Salvation Council (NSC), a coalition of 26 factions, and by Hussein Mohamed Aideed on behalf of the United Somali Congress/Somali National Alliance (USC/SNA)[13].

While Mr. Aideed's participation at the Cairo meetings was seen as crucial to the success of the negotiations, the Issaq of Somaliland, which declared its independence in 1991, continued to refuse to participate in a process of national reconciliation in Somalia, and two Darod leaders who had been strong supporters of the Sodere Accord have distanced themselves from it, namely Abdullahi Yussuf Ahmed of the Majerteen Somali Salvation Front (SSDF), and General Adan Abdullah Nur (a.k.a. "Gabyo") of the Ogaden Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM)[14]. They demanded that the reconciliation conference be held in the Northeastern city of Bossaso, as agreed at Sodere, and that it should include more Darod delegates[15]. Other critics, including factions representing Somali Bantus and other minorities, claim that, unlike the Sodere Accord, which was founded on an equilibrium of representation between the four largest clans (Darod, Hawiye, Rahaweyn and Dir), the Cairo Declaration on Somalia appears to give the best share to the Hawiye, the clans of Ali Mahdi Mohamed (Abgal/Hawiye) and Hussein Mohamed Aideed (Habr Gedir/Hawiye)[16].

Continuation of the peace talks and a National Reconciliation Conference was to take place in Baidoa (North-west of Mogadishu) commencing on 15 February 1998 (AFP, 30 December 1997). It was to be constituted of 465 delegates from all segments of Somali society, taking into account community balance[17].

The continuation of the negotiations in Baidoa was, however, prevented by the two main faction leaders Ali Mahdi Mohamed (National Salvation Council) and Hussein Aideed (Somali National Alliance) the day before the conference was to begin[18]. The negotiations were postponed until 31 March by the two leaders who identified logistic problems as the main cause[19]. Analysts interpreted the postponement as a lack of commitment from the main actors in Somalia who on their side emphasized that there was no political reason for the postponement[20]. An obstacle could have been that forces of Hussein Aideed were still present in Baidoa contrary to the demands contained in the Cairo Declaration[21]. Once again, the day before the National Reconciliation Conference was due, it was postponed, this time until 15 May 1998[22]. The principal reason was that Hussein Aideed still had his forces present in Baidoa and that clashes between them and the forces of the Rahanwein clans (Rahanwein Resistance Army, RRA) who originate from that region repeatedly took place[23]. In May 1998, the hope for negotiations was further undermined by a third postponement. Lack of financial resources to organise the conference and continued fighting in the area around Baidoa were thought to be the principal reasons for the postponement. No immediate plans were made to set another date[24]. The conference in Baidoa has not taken place during 1998 and 1999.

Along with the multiple delays of the National Reconciliation Conference, inter-clan fighting continued in southern Somalia primarily in Mogadishu, Kismayu, around Baidoa, in Gedo region and in numerous other towns and villages[25].

Thirteen peace initiatives have been pursued during the conflict in Somalia[26], of which eight were initiated by countries in the region including Egypt, Ethiopia and Kenya[27].

Ethiopia had soldiers in the Gedo region that they eventually withdrew: It was affirmed on 4 January 1998 that Ethiopian military forces left the Somali cities of Lug, Bula Hawo and Dolow in the South-western Gedo region that they had been occupying for several months[28].

Ethiopia, mandated by IGAD (the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development) and the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) to pursue the peace process, rejected the Cairo Agreement brokered by Egypt. Ethiopia feared that an Arab-backed regime in Mogadishu would ferment Islamic fundamentalism and thus constitute a threat for the mainly Christian Ethiopia[29]. They also argued that the negotiations had not included all the clans in Somalia and in that way, it actually constituted a threat to the peace in Somalia[30]. It was Ethiopia which hosted the former peace negotiations in Sodere in December 1996 and January 1997, 200 kms from Addis Ababa during which the National Salvation Council was established regrouping 26 factions[31].

As of March 1999, the National Reconciliation Conference appears to have been indefinitely postponed. What still appears to hold for Somalia today is the statement made by the UN Secretary-General in his September 1997 report to the Security Council:

Somalia remains susceptible to three types of emergency situations requiring immediate international response: natural disasters, such as floods, droughts and pestilence; epidemics, particularly of cholera and also those affecting livestock; and man-made disasters, typically war-related casualties, population displacements and famine[32].

In 1997 too, the Secretary-General further reported that 13 UN agencies, in collaboration with 50 international and 10 national non-governmental organizations, provided emergency humanitarian relief assistance, focusing on the four priority areas of emergency, rehabilitation, reconstruction and governance assistance requirements[33]. In April 1998, nine expatriates from the International Committee of the Red Cross were abducted and although they were released quickly afterwards, many humanitarian agencies subsequently suspended their relief work in Somalia[34].

Economic Situation

The continued presence of insecurity, the harsh environmental conditions (floods and droughts) and crop-destroying pests worsened the already dire economic situation of Somalia[35]. In 1997, a rise in commercial activity lead to a revival of livestock and fruit export[36]. However, the continued closure of the Mogadishu seaport retained the export at a moderate level[37]. Moreover, the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia imposed an import ban in 1998 on Somali livestock. This has in particular affected the northern economy of Somalia[38].

Somalia suffers under a chronic food deficit due to the political insecurity, droughts and floods. The latter left about 250,000 people homeless in the south of the country in November 1997[39].

Parts of the central and southern region were affected by floods brought on by heavy rains that started in October 1997 and caused the Juba and Shebelle rivers to overflow, destroying more than 60,000 hectares of crops and farmland and washing away thousands of tons of sorghum and other foods stored underground[40]. At the end of November, at least 2,000 Somalis were believed to have drowned in the floods[41]. The floods also forced another 122,000 mostly Somali refugees to flee their camps in northeastern Kenya[42]. Relief efforts were endangered by renewed clan fighting in Baidoa, in the heart of the flooded area, 200 km northwest of Mogadishu[43].

In August 1998, poisoned water killed 15 people in the Abudwaq district, Galgudud region in central Somalia. The water came from a private reservoir and the circumstances of the contagion are not known. Due to the prevailing insecurity, no humanitarian organisations provided assistance and relief in this region[44].

Floods and drought occurred in southern Somalia in the latter part of 1998 and the beginning of 1999 leading to hunger and starvation among the civilians[45]. 300 people reportedly fled their village in the Juba region in southern Somalia as drought and fighting were threatening[46].

2.1        TheSituation in the Different Regions of Somalia

Different conditions prevail in different parts of the country, which is divided into four major zones: the North-West, or Somaliland, which is conducting an experiment in democracy combined with centuries-old cultural traditions; The North-East which has lived in near total peace since January 1991 marked the end of the hostilities against former President Siad Barre in January 1991; to its south, the Central region from Galkayo to Belet Weyn, populated by Marehans and numerous Hawiye sub-clans, with its own share of troubles, and which serves as a passageway, especially at the commercial level, between the stable North-East and the war-torn South. It is in the South, from the area around Mogadishu to the border with Kenya, that the civil war has been waged for over six years[47].

The United Nations distinguish three regional trends in Somalia with different characteristics and needs: the South which is composed mainly of zones experiencing crisis, the relatively calm North and the rest of the country which are to different degrees pursuing a transition from crisis to recovery[48].

The North-West (Somaliland)

Somaliland was declared independent in 1991 by the Issaq clan-dominated politico-military movement, Somali National Movement (SNM), founded in 1981 and supported by Ethiopia[49]. Though Somaliland has not yet been granted international recognition as an independent state, it has its own police force, courts and taxes which have been established in a co-operation between the SNM authorities and traditional structures and clan elders[50].

On 16 December 1997, the President of Somaliland, Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, notified parliament (Guurti) of his decision to step down from the post he has held since 1993 and to which he was re-elected in March 1997, and outlined the constitutional channels for his succession[51]. The move was labeled as "political blackmail" by Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, as it is believed that the opposition could not agree on one single candidate and instead feared "the political storms that could break around the empty presidential chair"[52]. Egal is said to be under growing criticism, especially over the issue of corruption, and he realizes his limitations in a society that is "increasingly rebuilding its bridges and where public opinion has a growing role"[53]. As explained by a member of the opposition, the country's institutions are too young and fragile to withstand the shock of a coup d'état or an insurrection, and many electoral meetings will be held in the four years until the next elections[54]. Consequently, Egal's resignation was rejected by parliament nearly unanimously[55].

Clashes between the Issaq clan and other clans from the North-Eastern part of Somaliland occurred in 1997. The SNM administration is limited in the eastern part and the other clans associate themselves more with North-Eastern Somalia. Subsequently, a semi-autonomous region, the ‘Eastern Commonwealth', was established. Fighting subsided and tensions between the clans have allegedly been diminished. Traditional conflict-solving mechanisms along with reconciliation conferences were used[56].

Somaliland also continued its efforts to gain international recognition: in March 1997, President Egal reportedly demanded recognition of the "Republic of Somaliland" by the United Nations and its agencies, and the appointment of a UN Resident Representative in Hargeysa[57]. In November 1997, Foreign Minister Mahmoud Salah Fagadeh Nour, traveled to Ethiopia and obtained an agreement from the Government of Ethiopia to work directly with the Government of Somaliland and not with the clans or clan factions. Mr. Nour also visited the United States and France and met with representatives of both governments, as well as with officials of the French oil company, Total, the latter aimed of reviving a network of service stations in Somaliland[58].

The Northeast (Puntland)

The North-East area, also known as Puntland, is said to be the most stable region of Somalia with no violent clashes reported since 1993[59]. The area which consists of three regions, Bari, Nugal and northern Mudug, has been controlled by the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF). It is a political coalition formed in 1981, representing the Majerteen clans of the North-East. Signs of consolidating the stability appeared during 1998. The autonomous Puntland State of Somalia was proclaimed on 23 July 1998 followed by the appointment of a nine-member cabinet and the inauguration of a 69-member parliament[60]. It is here in the North-East where freedom of movement has reportedly been most respected. Other clans than the Majerteen are said to have been able to move in and through the territory that is administered by the SSDF. However, the only refugees who have repatriated to the North-East are Majerteen[61].

Despite the well-functioning of the administration in place, it is fairly recent (in 1997) that cases of intimidation and incidents of violence were registered and that militias of the SSDF (in auto-proclaimed control today) were said to extort money through violent means[62]. The border dispute between the North-West (Somaliland) and the North-East (Puntland) still needs to be solved[63] as well as the internal regional border dispute between the regions of Nugal and Mudug in the North-East although the tensions have subsided[64].

Central and Southern Somalia

The central and southern Somalia is less homogenous in terms of clans compared with Northern Somalia[65]. The heterogeneity is reflected in the large number of clan-based militia, some of which only control a small area. Reportedly, in the central and southern regions, a person will be safest in areas controlled by their proper clan[66]. However, this will be the situation for other regions of Somalia as well. The major areas of conflict were still Gedo, Bay, parts of Bakool and Lower Juba[67].

Two southern regions, Bay and Bakol, endured fighting between two clans: the Rahanwein clans who constitute the overwhelming majority of the population in the two regions and Hussein Aideed's Hawiye-based USC/SNA (United Somali Congress founded in 1989/Somali National Alliance founded in 1992). In September 1995 the latter clan captured the two regions and the situation remains unresolved[68]. Fierce fighting in July 1998 forced at least 12,000 civilians to flee South to the Juba valley. The fighting and consequent insecurity impeded farmers from cultivating their land. The World Food Programme reportedly estimated that the farming surface was diminished by 37 %[69]. Seemingly, no peace initiatives have been taken and the fighting between the two warring clans is still a reality. Fighting was last reported in February 1999 where ten people lost their lives and 16 were injured[70].

Sporadic clashes between rival militias continued throughout 1997 in the regions of Baidoa, Shabelle and Bay, causing the displacement of nearly 27,000 people[71]. In March 1997, factional fighting broke out in the village of Began, in the Galgudud region, between Abgal clan supporters of Ali Mahdi Mohamed and Murusade supporters of Mohamed Qanyare Afraf, an ally of the Haber Gedir/Hawiye Hussein Mohamed Aideed[72].

In October 1997 a truce was reportedly signed between Ali Mahdi Mohamed's SSA and Hussein Mohamed Aideed's USC/SNA. The agreement called for the cessation of hostilities, a cease-fire, the removal of roadblocks and the facilitation of humanitarian aid[73]. The agreement, which was described as non-political, also called for the enforcement of Shari'a law to combat the increasing banditry[74]. In early November machine-gun fire was reportedly exchanged between Abgar militias of Ali Mahdi Mohamed and Hawadle followers of Col. Omar Hashi Aden in the region of Mahaday, 117 km North of Mogadishu, resulting in the deaths of four militias and two civilians[75]. At the end of November 1997, members of international humanitarian organizations were evacuated from North Mogadishu due to the worsening security situation (24 November 1997; 26 November 1997). The Spanish section of Médecins sans Frontières, the French organization Action contre la faim and the Italian organizations CEFA, Intersos and CINS announced the withdrawal of their staff from Mogadishu after two members of CINS had been kidnapped briefly during an attack to their offices in Daganley, 28 km north of Mogadishu[76]. At least 13 Somalis, some of them employed by CINS, were killed during these attacks.[77]

The Gedo Region which is located in the South-eastern part of Somalia was established by the former President Siad Barre in 1974 and it is one of the traditional home regions of the Marehan clan of which Siad Barre was a member[78]. Although the Marehan clan does not constitute the most important clan in terms of numbers, the political control of the Gedo region is retained by the Marehan clan-based Somali National Front (SNF). The Somali National Front was founded in 1991 by Siad Barre loyalists with the objective of restoring the former regime [79]. The parties of the civil war in the Gedo region were the SNF who fought against the Islamic Union Party (Al-Ittihad al Islamia) which is a radical Islamic group aiming to unite Somalia and surrounding states in an Islamic State. Their area of influence is the region between Bardera and Luuq[80]. Ethiopian forces were engaged in the conflict in 1996 and 1997 when they in co-operation with the SNF, occupied parts of the Gedo region in retaliation for alleged attacks by the Islamic Union Party inside Ethiopia[81]. In June 1998, a peace agreement was signed between the SNF and the Islamic Union Party and since then a situation of general stability has been observed[82]. However, the reconciliation between the two parties has been described as weak since parts of the SNF were actually against the agreement. Another deteriorating factor is that the Islamic Union Party is said not to have handed in all its arms but instead placed them in different stocks in the Gedo region[83].

The Danish Immigration Service has stated that, in general, people do not experience persecution due to their political beliefs in the Gedo region. However, cases of political murder have taken place during the last four years[84]. Although unconfirmed, the victims were probably sympathisers of the Islamic Union Party[85].

Mogadishu remains deeply divided with four main Hawiye clan-based administrations. The four faction leaders all belong to the same Hawiye clan and they are all members of the United Somali Congress which was the movement that overthrew Siad Barre. Subsequently, they split into factions and two new movements were established in 1992 and 1993 that however stayed linked to the United Somali Congress. The two new movements were: Somali National Alliance (SNA) founded in 1992 to regroup the members in favour of General Aideed; in 1993 the Somali Salvation Alliance (SSA) was created to regroup the anti-Aideed factions, led by Ali Mahdi. Some of the factions even have their own radio station, e. g. Aideed's ‘Radio Voice of the Somali People and Atto's Pacification Radio[86].

Initiatives to unify Mogadishu were taken during 1998. In February 1998, thousands of people demonstrated in the streets of Mogadishu in favour of peace. The three main faction leaders participated and promises were made to reopen the seaport and the airport of Mogadishu. Afterwards, Ali Mahdi crossed the ‘green lines' dividing the city since 1991 and went to the southern part where he had not been since the division was established[87].

Following negotiations in early July 1998 in Tripoli under the auspices of the Libyan President Mouammar Kadhafi between the four main rivals, Hussein Aideed, Ali Mahdi Mohamed, Mohamed Qanyare Afarah and Osman Hassan Ali "Atto", a unified civilian administration for Mogadishu and the surrounding Benadir region was established in early August 1998[88]. Subsequently, a radio statement in the pro-Hussein Aideed Radio Mogadishu was made outlining seven points on the establishment of the unified civilian administration for Mogadishu. The four main faction leaders were cited as adhering to the agreement which among others declared that "Mogadishu leaders should forget the past and instead work towards a lasting reconciliation"[89]. However, one of the main faction leaders (Osman Hassan Ali "Atto") withdrew his support from the agreement and other minor faction leaders expressed discontent with the arrangement as well[90]. The fighting continued in Mogadishu and fire exchange was reported just before the civilian administration was officially announced and continued thereafter[91]. The fighting, especially fierce in north Mogadishu spilled over to the Middle Shabelle region just north of Mogadishu in the beginning of 1999[92].The two warring sub-clans signed a cease-fire agreement in the beginning of February 1999[93].

3.         Overviewof the Human Rights Situation (1997-1999)

In the Cairo Declaration, participants pledged to set aside their differences and to "embark on a new path towards national unity and re-establishment of the basic rights, aspirations and freedoms of the Somali people"[94]. Acknowledging previous peace efforts made in Nairobi (October 1996), Sodere (January 1997), Sanaa (May 1997), Cairo (May 1997) and the separate Cairo Understanding of 21 December 1997, the Cairo Declaration calls for the formation of a transitional government based on a system of federal governance and "bound by the rules of international law and the objectives and principles of the United Nations and all other international organizations in which Somalia is a member"[95]. These future visions for Somalia made the Cairo Declaration different from the previous agreement.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Somalia stated in her last report of 16 January 1998 that "the conditions of daily life of Somali citizens are generally harsh and highly unpredictable"[96].

Minority groups, notably the Bantu, Bravanese and Benadiri people have been particularly disadvantaged and targeted by clan militia considering they were the only people in Somalia who, when Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991, did not have their own armed militia to protect them[97]. It has been reported that 17 members of the Bantu minority, including four women and eight children were killed by faction militias in Janiya Misra village in Middle Shebelle region, and seven women were raped[98].

Somalia has not been governed centrally since 1991. Since then, an environment of lawlessness has reigned in especially the central and the southern part of Somalia. Amnesty International characterised the situation in their 1998 report as follows:

Human rights abuses against unarmed civilians, including women and children, were carried out by militias of clan-based factions. Abuses included scores of deliberate and arbitrary killings, as well as hostage-taking and rape.[99]

A positive development was that several prisoners of conscience who were imprisoned in 1996 and 1997 were released during 1998[100].

3.1        TheNational Context

The Somali clan system on which the fragmented Somali state has been functioning since 1991 has controlled the choices of protection strategies of the Somali civilians in their daily life. It is generally acknowledged that: "an individual will be most secure in an area in which his or her clan are dominant and able to afford them protection"[101].

It is difficult to discern a true pattern of who can live safely where in today's Somalia. General observations based on the available information can be made. In the North-West region of Somaliland, members of clans not holding power were reportedly able to pass freely[102]. Individuals who were able to settle down on permanent basis originated from the area of Somaliland although they were not members of the clan in power, the Issaq clan. No clan-based persecution is said to exists in Somaliland although occasional localised fighting within the Issaq clan may occur[103]. In the North-East region of Puntland, the situation is such that a large number of internally displaced Somalis from differing clans than the Majerteen in power as well as minority groups from elsewhere in the country moved into the region in recent years. However, as noted earlier, the Somali refugees who moved to Puntland from Kenya were all members of the Majerteen clan although they originated from the south of Somalia[104].

The same pattern is valid for the divided city of Mogadishu. The Country Information & Policy Unit of the United Kingdom Home Office states that:

As with Somalia as a whole, an individual in Mogadishu will be most secure in an area in which his or her clan are able to afford them protection. Inevitably, members of small clans and minority groups are at more risk.[105]

The Judiciary

The lack of a central government have given local faction militias the opportunity to exert juridical power in the local societies which they control. The results have been denial of fair trials, excessively harsh punishments and arbitrary detention[106]. Another phenomenon was the introduction of an Islamic court based on Shari'a law, reportedly in function in Mogadishu, which imposed floggings and amputations as well as punishments which are considered cruel, inhuman and degrading[107]. A fair trial can be connected to the clan system in the same way as with protection and security. In the Gedo region, it was observed that belonging to a dominant clan implied higher chances of receiving a fair trial.[108]

The United Nations Special Representative on Somalia, Mona Rishmawi, describes the rules of the justice system in Somalia as follows:

Various communities in Somalia apply different rules. These rules are based on either the traditional system, Sharia law, or Somali law that was applied during former President Siad Barre's regime, or before Mr. Barre's takeover in 1969, or a mixture of all or some of them.[109]

As a result of the Siad Barre era , many Somalis have very little confidence in secular rules. The UN Special Representative for Somalia reports that many Somali jurists are of the opinion that in personal status matters as well as in some criminal matters, Sharia, as well as the traditional system must prevail[110]

According to the same Representative, the perspectives for law enforcement in Somalia are that:

The efforts needed to restore confidence in the idea that a regular, effective, qualified and independent judiciary is capable of dealing with the requirements of today's world and of enforcing human rights, will be enormous.[111]

Extra-judicial Killings and Torture

According to the US Department of State Annual Report on Human Rights Practices for 1998, extra-judicial killings were common during 1998. However, they were not necessarily politically motivated murders. Instead, they were often caused by conflicts over land or job disputes. In December 1998, two clans were competing for jobs with a Swedish relief agency in the South-western part of the country and the fighting left at least 60 people dead and over 150 injured[112]

There were no reports of the use of state torture by warring militias against each other or against civilians in 1998, the US Department of State reckoned that many incidents of torture were unreported[113].

Arbitrary Arrest and Disappearance

Somali factions and armed militias continued to engage in arbitrary detention in the north as well as in the south of the country. In Hargeisa , a special security committee with members as the mayor of Hargeisa and local prison officials can order an arrest without a warrant and sentence persons without a trial. Reportedly, this procedure was used against 100 individuals during 1998[114].

Kidnapping remained a problem, especially for relief workers and for critics of faction leaders. Among the most notable incidents was the abduction in Mogadishu of ten relief workers from different humanitarian agencies among others the International Committee of the Red Cross in April 1998. The kidnapping which had the clear support of local leaders, ended two weeks afterwards with the release of the aid workers[115].

Denial of Fair Public Trial

Shari'a courts have been established in north Mogadishu, a segment of south Mogadishu, the Middle Shabelle and parts of the Gedo and Hiran regions. The court decisions are based on Shari'a law and certain offenses are punished with public whippings, amputations and stoning[116]. Somali human rights organisations note that proceedings in the north Mogadishu Shari'a court often contravene the norms of Shari'a law such as the right to counsel and to face witnesses[117].

There is no national judicial system in Somalia. In areas that apply traditional and customary judicial practices or Shari'a law, the right to representation by a counsel and the right to appeal do not exist[118]. In Somaliland where the former government's penal code still applies, these rights are more often respected[119].

Prison Conditions

Prison conditions vary from region to region. It was only possible to obtain information about the conditions in the prisons in Mogadishu. The prison in north Mogadishu which is controlled by the Shari'a court reportedly has poor conditions[120]. Conditions elsewhere are reported as less severe but cannot be verified. An improvement of the conditions in the prison in South Mogadishu has been noted after the start of visits in 1995 by international organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross[121].

3.2        Groupsat Risk


The UN Special Representative on Somalia considers that one of the main problems in Somalia is that of the phenomenon of child soldiers. The age of maturity in Somalia is 15 which gives young adolescents the right to carry weapons. As Somalia has no central government, it is one of only two countries in the world that have not acceded to the Convention of the Rights of the Child[122].

No official provision exists for essential services such as health and education. International Organisations such as UNICEF are active in promoting children's health, nutrition and education and some hospitals and schools have been able to function in the more stable areas such as Somaliland[123]. There is no organised higher education system in the country[124].

The widespread practice of female genital mutilation in particular is affecting young girls. According to the UN Special Representative on Somalia, most, if not all, young Somalia girls between the age of 10 and 13 undergo a circumcision process.


Somali culture is considered patriarchal in which polygamy is permitted[125]. Women have suffered disproportionately in the Somali civil war. However, during the past years there have been no reports of systematic attacks on women in connection with the continuing civil violence[126]. The war in which most Somali men have been involved has turned many Somali women into heads of household[127]. Many initiatives to empower the Somali women especially in the economic field have been taken through income-generating programmes. However, the relatively stronger economic position of the Somali woman has not led to any changes regarding their status in politics or the society in general[128].

4.         UNHCRActivities in respect of Somali Asylum-Seekers and Refugees

An overview of the statistical trends of Somali refugees and asylum-seekers as well as a description of major UNHCR operations in the region will be addressed in this section.

4.1        SomaliRefugees And Asylum-Seekers: Global Trends

Somali refugees and asylum-seekers in the region

At the end of 1998, Ethiopia hosted the largest Somali refugee population (195,000) in the region, followed by Kenya (130,000) and Djibouti (22,000), all of which share a land border with Somalia, and Yemen (57,000), separated from Somalia by the Gulf of Aden (see Table I).


Table 1. Somalirefugee population in the region at year-end, 1993-1998

Asylum country











































As regards durable solutions, the total Somali refugee population in these four countries has fallen since 1995, mostly as a result of spontaneous returns, but also due to UNHCR-organized voluntary repatriation. During 1997, some 50,000 Somali refugees were estimated to have returned from Ethiopia, 400 from Yemen, 300 from Kenya and 100 from Djibouti. During 1998, the Somali refugee population in Kenya fell by more than 40,000, mostly as a result of spontaneous returns. During the same year, 1,700 Somali refugees returned from Yemen whereas 240 returned from Djibouti during 1998.

Kenya is the main country in the region from where Somali refugees are resettled to countries overseas. In 1997, 6,500 Somalis were resettled from Kenya, 100 from Ethiopia, 90 from Djibouti and five from Yemen.

During 1998, Yemen experienced a significant new influx of some 14,000 Somalis.

Up to half a million Somalis, including returnees and internally displaced, benefit from UNHCR-sponsored Quick Impact Projects within Somalia.

In all four asylum countries, some 50 per cent of the Somali refugees are female. Conversely, the percentage of children aged five or below fluctuates significantly, from some 20 per cent in the refugee camps in Kenya to less than 10 per cent in some urban areas in Yemen and around 5 per cent in camps in Djibouti.

Somali refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe

a.         Asylum applications ofSomali nationals

From 1990 to 1998, almost 104,000 Somali asylum-seekersapplied for asylum in Europe, constituting 2.7 per cent of the total number ofasylum applications lodged. The annual number of Somali asylum-seekers peakedin 1992, when 14,600 Somalis submitted an asylum application. In 1998, thenumber of Somali asylum applications reached 11,900, an increase with 38 percent compared to 1997 (8,600) (see Table II.). However, as the total number ofasylum applications increased with some 22 per cent, the percentage Somaliasylum applications in total applications increased only marginally, from 2.7per cent in 1997 to 3.5 per cent in 1998.


Table II. Applications and recognition ofSomali asylum-seekers in Europe.























UN Convention












































Convention rec.(1)











Total rec.(2)











(1) Convention recognition rate: UN Convention status recognitions divided by

(2) Total recognition rate: UN Convention status plus humanitarian status recognitions divided by

During 1990-1998, the largest number of Somali asylum applications was lodged in the Netherlands. During this period, the Netherlands received 27,000 Somali asylum applications, 26 per cent of the total number of Somali asylum applications lodged in Europe. The United Kingdom was the second largest country of destination for Somali asylum-seekers in Europe (22,000 applications or 21 per cent), followed by Germany (14,500 applications or 14 per cent) (Table III). In 1998, the United Kingdom received almost 40 per cent of all Somalis who applied for asylum in Europe.

b.         Recognition of Somaliasylum-seekers

During 1990-1998, almost 60,000 Somali asylum-seekers, 58per cent of the total number of Somalis who lodged an asylum application, weregranted Convention refugee status (8.6 per cent) or humanitarian status (49 percent). In 1998, the total recognition rate for Somali asylum-seekers reached44.5 per cent, the lowest rate since 1990 (see Table II.).

During the period 1990-1998, Somalis constituted nine percent of all asylum-seekers granted refugee or humanitarian status in Europe.Whereas in Finland, Norway and the United Kingdom, Somalis constituted morethan 20 per cent of the total number of recognized asylum-seekers, in Austria,Belgium, France and Germany, their share was less than two per cent.

During 1990-1998, the United Kingdom granted refugee orhumanitarian status to more than 18,000 Somali asylum-seekers (cases only), 30per cent of all Somalis granted refugee or humanitarian status in Europe. TheNetherlands accounted for 29 per cent of all Somalis granted refugee orhumanitarian status, followed by Denmark (14 per cent) and Sweden (13 per cent)(see Table III).

The total recognition rate for Somali asylum-seekers wassome 80 per cent or higher in Denmark, the United Kingdom and Finland, but lessthan 10 per cent in Germany and Austria.


Table III. Applications and recognitionof Somali asylum-seekers in Europe,

Country of asylu


1951 UN Conventio

Humanitarian statu

Conv.rate(%) (1)

Total rec. rate(%) (2)









































































United Dingdom













(1) Convention recognition rate: 1951 UN Convention divided by

(2) Total recognition rate: 1951 UN Convention and humanitarian status divided by

(*) 1998 decisions not

(**) Humanitarian status refers to 1996 and 1997

(***) Cases.

In the previous paragraphs the relative importance of Somali refugees in the refugee status determination in Europe was assessed. Due to the fact that some countries grant residence permits to asylum-seekers who have not been granted refugee or humanitarian status, the above statistics do not provide a precise indication of the "total immigration effect" of Somali refugees in Europe. Sweden is one of the very few countries for which such a long-term assessment can be made. During 1980-1997, 3.2 per cent of all residence permits issued on the basis of refugee or refugee-like grounds were issued to Somali nationals.

c.         The Somali refugeepopulation in selected countries

While the asylum application and refugee statusdetermination data allow for a comparison of the "asylum experience", they formonly a rough indicator of the actual size of the resident refugee population.However, only a few countries keep a refugee register which allows to assessboth the increases and decreases in the refugee population.

At the end of 1998, 304 recognized Somali refugees residedinSwitzerland, forming 1.2 per centof the total number of recognized refugees in the country (24,340). Bymid-1996,Belgiumhosted 151 Somalirefugees, constituting 0.4 per cent of the national refugee population(36,000). At the end of 1996, the Somali refugee population inFrancenumbered 496 persons, 0.4 percent of the entire refugee population (125,300).

While a significant number of Somalis remain in Europe whohave not been granted Convention refugee status, precise data on the size ofthis, strongly fluctuating, population is scarce. InSwitzerland, one of the few countries for which such information isavailable, some 5,300 Somalis were recorded under all forms ofnon‑refoulement(that is, refugeeand humanitarian status, pending cases and returns which could not be executed)at the end of 1998, 3.4 per cent of the total number of persons in the"asylum domain"(155,100). According to Government estimates,Italyhosts some 10,000 Somalis withresidence permits issued on the basis of humanitarian grounds, some 17 per centof the total number of persons granted such status.

Somali refugees and asylum-seekers in other regions

a.         Somali asylum-seekers inNorth America

During 1990-1998, Canada receivedsome 19,000 Somali asylum applicants, of whom some 17,400 (92 per cent) weregranted refugee status. In the United States, some 8,000 Somalis nationalsapplied for asylum during the same period (cases only), some 3,300 of whom (42per cent) were granted asylum in first instance.

b.Somali refugees andasylum-seekers elsewhere

At the beginning of 1998, thelargest Somali refugee populations outside the countries discussed above wereconcentrated in Egypt (3,500), the United Republic of Tanzania (3,000), Eritrea(2,500), Libyan Arab Jamahariya (2,500) and Uganda (1,600). In Asia and theMiddle East, the largest groups of Somali refugees were located in Pakistan(800), Syrian Arab Republic (700), Iraq and the United Arab Emirates (each300).

Somalis are among the most widelydispersed refugee populations in the world: during 1997, Somali asylumapplications were recorded in 61 countries world-wide. Countries locatedoutside Europe and North America which received the largest number of Somaliasylum applications were Libyan Arab Jamahariya (600), Egypt (112), Uganda(92), Zambia (74), Syrian Arab Republic (59), Thailand (59), Djibouti (50),Mozambique (49), Lebanon (43), United Arab Emirates (36), Kuwait (32), Malawi(24), India (21), Zimbabwe (19), Jordan (17), Turkey (12) and Niger (11).

4.2UNHCRActivities in Somalia

Inthe country of origin, Somalia, up to half a million Somalis includingreturnees, internally displaced persons as well as local populations, benefitfrom community-based reintegration projects in the sectors of water, health andeducation, and the reinforcing and the rehabilitation of infrastructure.Promotion of food security is pursued through agricultural and livestockprojects, in addition to income-generating activities[129].A pilot voluntary repatriation programme from the camps in eastern Ethiopia wasinitiated in the beginning of 1997 and although the original target figure hadto be revised downwards, the programme did not encounter difficulties as it wasthe case with the repatriation programme in Kenya. The repatriation from Kenyaencountered some difficulties due to the security situation in a number ofpotential returnee areas. However, the general perception is one of continuingpeace and security in some areas in Somalia, particularly in the northern partsof the country[130].

4.3UNHCRActivities in Neighbouring Countries

Giventhe historical migration patterns in the Horn of Africa, ethnic Somalis arescattered in large numbers in the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia, Kenya andDjibouti though they mostly live in Somalia.[131]Anexample is eastern Ethiopia where a large group of Somali refugees reside (seechapter 4.1). The Ethiopians in this part of Ethiopia share the same culture,language, religion and have the same physical appearance as the Somalis fromSomalia[132].This phenomenon canlead to a problem of identification and distinction between the people who haveaccess to national protection.

Inthe case of Ethiopia, the Somali refugees are hosted in nine camps at varyingdistances from the border and they are placed according to their clan oforigin. Persons from clans known to be conflicting are placed in differentcamps in order to avoid violence[133]."Thus, for thepurpose of security, the restriction of the freedom of movement of the Somalirefugees may be necessary..... as a matter of policy....every Somali refugee isreferred to a camp upon registration[134].The right forrefugees to education, employment and income-generating activities face severeobstacles in Ethiopia due to various reasons. Under-staffing and budgetconstraints influence in a negative way the execution of the work of UNHCR inEthiopia with reported some evident results: "... the nutritional situation inthe eastern camps is serious with the under-five malnutrition prevalenceranging 15.2% to 21.1%..."[135].

Therepatriation of the Somali refugees is hampered by continued fighting incertain areas in the southern and central part of Somalia, the lack of capacityto absorb and reintegrate the returnees in the local societies as well asnatural disasters such as floods and droughts.

Themajor asylum countries for Somali refugees are the four neighbouring countries:Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Yemen. In all the four countries, the Somalisconstitute the largest group of refugees. UNHCR promotes a programme ofrepatriation and reintegration of Somali refugees.

InDjibouti, the majority of Somali refugees reside in the two refugee camps ofAli-Adde and Holl-Holl. Modalities for the return of Somali refugees werediscussed between authorities from North-West Somalia and Djibouti. A frameworkof understanding between the two parties was signed to this effect[136].

InEthiopia, repatriation of Somali refugees took place in 1997 and 1998. Thedestination of the repatriation was only the North-western region of Somalia(‘Somaliland')which had shown arelative political stability compared with other regions of Somalia. Therepatriation programme started on 18 February 1997. In addition to the 11,000Somali refugees repatriated during 1997 from Ethiopia, some 6,800 returnedduring the first four months of 1998[137].However, at theUNHCR Standing Committee meeting in February 1999, it was reported that theauthorities of the North-western part of Somalia had suspended the return ofSomali refugees. The reason provided was lack of resources in order toreintegrate the returnees in the society[138].

InKenya, a limited number of 280 Somali refugees were repatriated back to Somaliaduring 1997[139].The Somali refugees are hosted in the Dadaab camp located in the eastern partof Kenya. In mid-October 1997, an unexpected and unusually heavy rainfall andflooding in eastern Kenya had a devastating effect on the physicalinfrastructure of the Dadaab camp and for almost three months, the camp was cutoff by road from other parts of Kenya. The flooding also had a deterioratingeffect on the security situation in the camp in the sense that that incidentsof criminal offences against the refugee women and their properties increasedin spite of commendable efforts made by government security forces[140].

In Yemen, a regular influx of Somali refugees was registeredduring 1997. The average number of persons arriving per month was 250 and mostof them were from Somalia[141].While a small numberof Somali refugees (700) were repatriated, the overall situation of refugees inYemen was substantially improved as a result of the nation-wide registrationand documents of refugees conducted by UNHCR in collaboration with governmentagencies[142].

4.4SomaliRefugees Protection Challenges within Africa

As indicated in the earlier part of this document, largecaseloads of Somali refugees exist in Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. In allthese countries they were granted group recognition on "prima facie" basis. Nothaving gone through individual refugee status determination, they possess noother identity document than their ration cards. Any movement therefore madeoutside their designated camps makes them very vulnerable as they are subjectto arrest and detention by the law enforcement agents of their host country whoinsist that ration cards are not the equivalent of residence permits. Theprotection unit of UNHCR in these countries has to go to police stations oftento obtain the release of such refugees.

a.Action BeingTaken

Negotiations with the Government in each of the countriesconcerned about the need to grant a document attesting to residence or to stampthe residence permit on the ration cards.

While all the States hosting large caseloads of Somalirefugees in Africa have ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1969 OAUConvention, their pre-occupation either with their own problematic economy ortheir internal political situation make them unable to provide the basicprotection they had engaged themselves to provide for refugees on theirterritories. In Kenya, for example, the refugee camp for Somali refugees isclose to the Kenyan border where insecurity due to banditry attacks is rife.The Kenyan Government recently, in reaction to the death of some two hundred ofits nationals, informed UNHCR it intended to declare the area a military zoneand urged UNHCR to either repatriate the Somali refugees or agree to theirbeing moved further inland. The first option was not feasible for obviousreasons while the second option would have entailed very huge capitalinvestments to prepare adequate infrastructure for a new site. It is the sameconcern for internal security that caused Ethiopian security agents to demandthat all urban refugees in Addis Ababa, the capital, be removed to the camps.In Djibouti where the national eligibility commission has not sat for manyyears UNHCR has been obliged to take on the interviewing of asylum seekers whoapproach its office. The Djibouti police has on several occasions rounded uprefugees holding UNHCR protection letters and such individuals have only beenreleased on UNHCR's intervention.

UNHCR as stated in its Global Appeal Document for 1999 hasprogrammed various training activities in the countries concerned. Thesetrainings which will take place in 1999, will be targeted at immigration andinternal affairs officers of the Governments. In Kenya, logistic support isbeing provided to the police to enable it to provide security around the campsand to pre-empt banditry attacks prevalent in the areas near the camps.

Several other projects aimed at offering more protection torefugee women in particular have been implemented in Kenya such as the firewoodproject which was to provide fuel for refugee households to prevent the continuedrape of refugee women when they go out of the camps in search of firewood. Thesetting up of a mobile court in Dadaab, Kenya was also financed by UNHCR tobring about the rapid hearing of cases and the conviction of criminals in theareas near the camp. In 1998 UNHCR reached an agreement with the DjiboutiAuthorities for the re-activation of the national eligibility commission, sothat the country can take up its responsibility of interviewing asylum seekers.The sub-project established for this purpose will become operational this year.

b.ContinuingCause of Flight

The question of the reasons for the continued flight ofSomalis from their country of origin is often raised. The reasons are indeedcomplex. While regions such as North West and North East Somalia have managedto avoid open clan fights and to maintain stability, the economy in theseregions are almost non-existent. In 1998, UNHCR provided QIPS (Quick ImpactProjects) of a value of 3.67 million USD in North West Somalia. These projectsare community support projects directed at the basic services needed to get acommunity functioning. They were in areas such as water, health, and livestock.

However, it is to be understood that return to a countrylike Somalia where all the basic infrastructure was at one time completelydestroyed by civil conflict poses difficult and enormous reintegrationchallenges for returnees.

There is also the insecurity caused by the continuedsporadic clan fighting which is reported in a monthly information bulletin issuedby the (UNCT) United Nations Coordinating Committee based in Nairobi, Kenya. Itis for the above reason that UNHCR firmly advocates that areas in Somalia,where the Regional Authorities have been able to keep the peace, should enjoythe support of the International Community in the repatriation andreintegration efforts being undertaken by UNHCR.

c.DurableSolutions and the Problems

Voluntary repatriation has continued to be regarded as thepreferred option of the three durable solutions to refugee problem. The othertwo solutions are local settlement and third country resettlement. UNHCR hasbeen, as described in the earlier part of this document, facilitating therepatriation of Somali refugees to Somalia since 1993. However, for any returnto be durable, there are key requirements. Repatriation should be accompaniedby economic reintegration and rehabilitation of areas of return. Somalia todaystill suffers from the major disruption of its economic activities whichoccurred during the civil war years.

It must be remembered that in the refugee camps in Ethiopia,Djibouti and Kenya, Somali refugees have had their basic needs in water, foodand medicine catered to. It is therefore necessary that adequate time (a periodof several years) be given for their re-adjustment to fending for themselveswhen they return home as some of them are going back to areas ill-prepared andincapable of receiving them due to a lack of economic infrastructure. This alsopre-supposes that some material aid continues to be provided for them duringthe period of re-adjustment and that an economy exists in the area of returninto which the returnee can re-integrate. This unfortunately is not happeningin almost all of Somalia. In the North West, the Administration's capacity tocontinue functioning is slowly grinding to a halt as a result of the livestockban imposed by Saudi Arabia, a year ago. While the area used to obtain aminimum of 100 million USD income from the livestock export this is now almosttotally lost. It is as a result of this situation that the North WestAuthorities stopped UNHCR from all further repatriation to the region inNovember 1998. The mission of the IGAD delegation (Inter Governmental Authorityon Development) in December 1998 to the North West and the promise made to theRegional Authorities that efforts were underway at the level of the Arab leagueand other Arab countries to persuade Saudi Arabia to lift the livestock ban, isyet to become effective.

The two other durable solutions-local integration andresettlement to third countries of asylum cannot be executed in large numbersfor obvious reasons.

Prospects of Kenya, Ethiopia or Djibouti accepting the localsettlement of Somali refugees in their countries are very slim. In the case ofKenya, the insecurity and banditry existing in the border areas near the Somalirefugee camps make Kenya unlikely to consider the prospect of localintegration.

In Ethiopia, the Region 5 which is the Ogaden is a Somalistate and the fear that a recurrence of the Somali/Ethiopia war in 1977 (whenSomalia tried to incorporate all Somali speaking people into Somalia) woulddeter Ethiopia from entertaining this option as viable.

Furthermore, resettlement to third countries of asylum, isonly possible for a limited number of Somali refugees.

d.SomaliRefugee Women Reintegration Challenges

For the Somali refugee woman, the reintegration challengesare great. The majority of Somali people are Moslems. Some of the refugees arehosted by non-muslim countries and Somali refugee women are therefore called onto re-adapt themselves to their former social conditions and changed roles whenthey repatriate. UNHCR has as one of its priorities in the various countrieshosting Somalis, the preparation of Somali refugee women for their return. InEthiopia as well as in Kenya, tailoring and handicraft centers have beenestablished in the camps. These training services are provided by NGOs.

Unfortunately, on return to Somalia, most of the women areunable to put into practice much of the skills they have acquired as thereality of the situation in Somalia is that there is a non-existent economy.

The acquired knowledge meant to serve these refugee women asa means of survival therefore becomes lost. It is imperative that much of theskills and social support programs provided in the camps in host countriesshould also be made available inside Somalia.




"Somalia: Cairo's round", 9January 1998


"Somalia: Hussein is not Aydeed-A peace deal of sortshas been struck as some of the old grudges are buried", 18 October 1997

Africa South of the Sahara1999,

Regional Surveys of the World. London: Europa Publications, 1998.

Afrique Express,

"Somalie:les factions signent un accord mettant fin à la guerre civile", 2 janvier1998

Agence France Presse,

"Warring Somali subclans sign cease-fire agreement",2 February 1999 [Lexis-Nexis]


"Dixtués dans des combats entre factions à Baidoa", 2 février 1999.


"Starvation adding to fighting toll in southernSomalia", 3 February 1999, [Lexis-Nexis]


"Deshabitants fuient une ville menacée par la guerre et la famine", 7 février1999, [Lexis-Nexis]


"Lescombats en Somalie depuis le dernier accord de paix fin 1997", 3 novembre1998.


"Quinzesomaliens meurent après avoir bu de l'eau empoisonnée", 23 août 1998.


"Somali warlord rejects Mogadishu peace deal", 12August 1998,


"Rival clan militia exchange fire in Mogadishu", 9August 1998, [Lexis-Nexis]


"Desmilliers de somaliens fuient la famine et la guerre dans le sud du pays", 28juillet 1998.


"12 killed in new Mogadishu violence", 1 August 1998,[Lexis-Nexis]


"Administrationconjointe à Mogadiscio nommée par les chefs de guerre", 4 août 1998.


"Desmilliers de Somaliens fuient la famine et la guerre dans le sud du pays", 28juillet 1998.


"Key Mogadishu faction leaders issue peacedeclaration", 20 July 1998, [Lexis-Nexis]


"Laconférence de réconciliation nationale en Somalie reportée au 15 mai", 30mars 1998.


"Laconférence de Baidoa reportée au 31 mars", 14 février 1998.


"Mogadishu basks in rare peace", 1 February 1998,[Lexis-Nexis]


"Manifestationen faveur de la paix à Mogadiscio", 4 février 1998,


"L'Ethiopierejette l'accord de paix inter-somalien", 24 décembre 1997.


"Somalia-violence", 26 November 1997 [Lexis/Nexis]


"Gunmen attack aid compound in Somalia, killingthree", 24 November 1997 [Lexis/Nexis]


"Red Cross helps 27,000 displaced by Somaliafighting", 3 November 1997 [Lexis/Nexis]


"Sixmorts dans des combats au nord de Mogadiscio", 3 novembre 1997


"Faction leaders bolster their militia in centralSomalia", March 1997 [Lexis/Nexis]

Amnesty International,

Annual Report 1998, Somalia (internet)


"Somalia-Putting human rights on the agenda: a humanrights training workshop", July 1997


AI Week 97,"Refugee Children. Somalis ChildrenRefouled from Yemen",1997.

Associated Press,

"Hundreds rescued from the rising flood waters inSomalia", 10 November 1997


Summary of Word Broadcast,"Key Mogadishu factionleader issue peace declaration",20July 1998

Deutsche Presse-Agentur,

"12 killed in newMogadishu violence", 1 August 1998


"Somalia peace conference put off again", 13 May 1998


"Somalia aid distribution made harder by problems ofclan violence", 19 November 1997

The Economist,

"Somalia. The warlords make peace at least", 14February 1998.


"Beyond Power: A New Agenda for Peace in Somalia",NomadNet Commentary, no date,

The Indian Ocean Newsletter,

"Somalia" no unanimity in Cairo deal", 3 January 1998


"Somaliland: Egalresigns?", 20 December 1997


"Somalia: Ethiopian policeman", 20 December 1997


"Useful diplo trip", 13December 1997

Norwegian Refugee Council,

Internally Displaced People-A Global Survey, 15 January1998

La Lettre de l'Océan Indien,

"Coup de poker pour Kadhafi", 18 juillet1998


"Retraitmilitaire en Somalie", 10 janvier 1998.

Le Monde,

Bilan duMonde, Bilan Economique et Social Edition, 24ème année, édition 1999.

OxfordAnalytica Daily Brief,

"Yemen: Internal SecurityCrisis", 26 February 1999

Markos, Kibret,

"The Treatment of Somali Refugees in Ethiopia underEthiopian And International Law,1997,International Journal of Refugee Law, Vol. 9, No. 3.

Piguet, François,

"Somalie:Les conditions d'un retour éventuel de requérants d'asile originaires dunord-est de la Somalie (Madjertein)". OSAR-Jalons No. 47, décembre 1997

Prunier, Gérard,

"Somaliland,le pays qui n'existe pas", Le Monde Diplomatique, Octobre 1997


"Somali leaders postponepeace conference", 14 February 1998


"Cholera strikes as Somali floods recede", 8 January1998


"Somali faction leadersagree to meet on January 15", 6 January 1998


"Orphans in the storm", 1 December 1997

The Toronto Star,

"Fighting threatens Somalia flood relief", 21November 1997 [Lexis/Nexis]

Udlaendinge Styrelsen,

Rapport fra nordisk fact-finding mission til gedo-regionen,Somalia, 15.-30 ktober 1998, Udloendinge Styrelsen, Statens Invandrarverk,Novenber 1998, Denmark

United Kingdom Home Office,

Country Information&Policy Unit, Country Report,Somalia, December 1998

U. S. Department of State,

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in 1998:Somalia-Yemen. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 26 February1999. -

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,

1999 Global Appeal-Somalia.


Ethiopia Fact Sheet,UNHCR-RLO, Information Section, Addis Ababa.


Executive Committeeof the High Commissioner's Programme, Standing Committee, 9 February 1999.


Executive Committee of theHigh Commissioner's Programme, Standing Committee, EC/48/SC/CRP.24, 25 May1998.


Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme,Standing Committee, EC/48/SC/CRP.3, 7 January 1998.

United Nations,

Commission on Human Rights, Report on the situation ofhuman rights in Somalia, prepared by the Independent Expert of the Commissionon Human Rights, Ms. Mona Rishmawi, pursuant to Commission resolution 1997/47E/CN.4/1998/96, 16 January 1998


Commission on Human Rights, Report on the situation ofhuman rights in Somalia, prepared by the Independent Expert of the Commissionon Human Rights, Ms. Mona Rishmawi, pursuant to Commission resolution 1996/57of 19 April 1996, E/CN.4/1997/88, 3 March 1997


Security Council, Letter dated 22 December 1997 from thepermanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations addressed to thePresident of the Security Council, S/1997/1000, 22 December 1997.


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[1] Africa Southof the Sahara 1999, 1998, p. 948ff.

[2] UnitedNations, Commission on Human Rights, E/CN.4/1998/96, 16 January 1998

[3] AgenceFrance Presse (AFP), 1 February 1998

[4] UNHCR 1999Global Appeal; IDP Global Survey, p. 84

[5] U. S.Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1998,Somalia (U.S. DOS Country reports), 1999, [internet].

[6] Ibid.

[7] Le Monde, Bilan Economique etSocial, Edition 1999, p. 102.

[8] TheEconomist, 14 February 1998.

[9] UnitedNations, Security Council, S/1997/715, 16 September 1997.

[10] Ibid.

[11] UnitedNations, Security Council, S/1997/1000, 22 December 1997.

[12] Ibid.

[13] UnitedNations Security Council, S/1997/1000, 22 December 1997; Afrique Express, 2janvier 1998.

[14] The IndianOcean Newsletter, 3 January 1998.

[15] AfricaConfidential, 9 January 1998.

[16] The IndianOcean Newsletter, 3 January 1998.

[17] UnitedNations, Security Council, S/1997/1000, 22 December 1997.

[18] Reuters, 14February 1998.

[19] AFP, 14February 1998.

[20] Ibid.

[21] CountryInformation&Policy Unit, United Kingdom Home Office, Country Report,Somalia, December 1998, p. 11.

[22] Ibid.

[23] AFP, 30March 1998

[24] Lexis/Nexis, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), 13 May 1998.

[25] AfricaSouth of the Sahara 1999, 1998, p. 955.

[26] Regionalinitiatives:-Djibouti (June 1991)-Two ReconciliationConferences;-UNITAF(Unified Task Force -Operation Restore Hope) (December1992);-Addis Ababa (March 1993);-Addis Ababa (December 1993);-Anticipation oftalks between Aidid and Ali Mahdi in Nairobi, first half of 1994 postponed fivetimes;-Nairobi (October 1996);-Sodere, Ethiopia (January 1997);-Sanaa, Yemen(May 1997);-Cairo (May 1997);-The Cairo Agreement of 21 December 1997; Internalinitiatives:-Abgal and Murusada communities. Agreement in January 1995. Bermudaarea of Mogadishu;-Southern Mogadishu (June 1995)-Conference of reconciliation;

-Baidoa, Somalia (planned for February 1998, postponedthree times); (Africa South of the Sahara 1999, p. 948ff).

[27] AfricaSouth of the Sahara 1998, 1998, p. 948ff.

[28] La Lettre de l'Ocean Indien,January 10, 1998.

[29] CountryInformation&Policy Unit, United Kingdom Home Office, Country Report,Somalia, December 1998, p. 11

[30] AFP, 24December 1997

[31] Ibid.

[32] UnitedNations, Security Council, S/1997/715, 16 September 1997

[33] Ibid.

[34] Le Monde, Bilan Economique etSocial, Edition 1999, p. 102.

[35] U.S. DOSCountry Reports 1998, 1999, [internet].

[36] U.S. DOSCountry Reports 1997, 1998, [internet].

[37] Ibid.

[38] UNHCR, 1999Global Appeal.

[39] Ibid.

[40] AssociatedPress, November 1997 [Internet].

[41] Time, 1December 1997.

[42] AssociatedPress, November 1997 [Internet].

[43] The TorontoStar, 21 November 1997; Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 19 November 1997.

[44] AFP, 23August 1998.

[45] AFP, 3February 1999

[46] AFP, 7 February 1999

[47] Prunier, G., Le Monde Diplomatique,Octobre 1997.

[48] UnitedNations, Commission on Human Rights, E/CN.4/1998/96, 16 January 1998

[49] CountryInformation&Policy Unit, United Kingdom Home Office, Country Report,Somalia, December 1998.

[50] Ibid.

[51] The IndianOcean Newsletter, 20 December 1997.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Prunier, G., Le Monde Diplomatique,Octobre 1997.

[55] AfricaConfidential, 9 January 1998.

[56] CountryInformation&Policy Unit, United Kingdom Home Office, Country Report, Somalia,December 1998, p. 16.

[57] AfricaSouth of the Sahara 1998, 930.

[58] The IndianOcean Newsletter, 13 December 1997.

[59] CountryInformation&Policy Unit, United Kingdom Home Office, Country Report,Somalia, December 1998, p. 15

[60] Ibid., p.16

[61] Ibid.

[62] Piguet, F., OSAR-Jalons No. 47,Décembre 1997, 29.

[63] Gaabane,Beyond Power: A New Agenda for Peace in Somalia, Nomadnet Commentary [internet]

[64] CountryInformation&Policy Unit, United Kingdom Home Office, Country Report,Somalia, December 1998, p. 17

[65] CountryInformation&Policy Unit, United Kingdom Home Office, Country Report,Somalia, December 1998, p. 19

[66] Ibid.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Ibid., p.24

[69] AFP, 29July 1998.

[70] Courrier,AP, 2 February 1999.

[71] AFP, 3November 1997.

[72] AFP, March1997 [Lexis/Nexis].

[73] AfricaConfidential, 18 October 1997.

[74] Ibid.

[75] AFP, 3November 1997.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Ibid.

[78] UdlaendingeStyrelsen, oktober 1998, p. 8

[79] CountryInformation&Policy Unit, United Kingdom Home Office, Country Report,Somalia, December 1998..

[80] Ibid., p.21.

[81] Ibid.

[82] UdlaendingeStyrelsen, oktober 1998, p. 22.

[83] Ibid.

[84] UdlaendingeStyrelsen, oktober 1998, p. 32

[85] Ibid.

[86][ AFP, 1February 1998.

[87] AFP, 4 February 1998.

[88] La Lettre de l'Ocean Indien, 18July 1998.

[89] BBC,Summary of World Broadcast, 20 July 1998

[90] AFP, 4 August1998

[91] DPA, 1August 1998; AFP, 9 August 1998; AFP, 3 November 1998.

[92] AFP, 2February 1999.

[93] Ibid.

[94] UnitedNations, Security Council, S/1997/1000, 22 December 1997.

[95] Ibid.

[96] UnitedNations, Commission on Human Rights, E/CN.4/1998/96, 16 January 1998.

[97] CountryInformation&Policy Unit, United Kingdom Home Office, Country Report,Somalia, December 1998, p. 23ff.

[98] AmnestyInternational, Annual Report 1998, Somalia (internet).

[99] Ibid.

[100] Ibid.

[101] Country Information&Policy Unit, United Kingdom Home Office, CountryReport, Somalia, December 1998, p. 24.

[102] Country Information&Policy Unit, United Kingdom Home Office, CountryReport, Somalia, December 1998, p. 17.

[103] Ibid.

[104] Ibid.

[105] Ibid., p. 18

[106] Ibid., p. 22

[107] Amnesty International, Annual Report 1998 (internet).

[108] Udlaendinge Styrelsen 1998, p. 31.

[109] United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, E/CN.4/1998/96, 16 January 1998

[110] Ibid.

[111] Ibid.

[112] U.S. DOS Country Reports 1998, 1999, [internet].

[113] Ibid.

[114] U.S. DOS Country Reports 1998, 1999, [internet].

[115] U.S. DOS Country Reports 1998, 1999, [internet].

[116] Ibid., p. 3-4.

[117] Ibid., p. 4.

[118] Ibid., p. 4.

[119] Ibid., p. 4.

[120] United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, E/CN.4/1998/96, 16 January 1998;Country Information&Policy Unit, United Kingdom Home Office, CountryReport, Somalia, December 1998, p. 27

[121] Ibid.

[122] United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, E/CN.4/1998/96, 16 January 1998

[123] Ibid.

[124] U.S. DOS Country Reports 1998, 1999, [internet].

[125] U.S. DOS Country Reports 1998, 1999, [internet].

[126] Ibid.

[127] United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, E/CN.4/1998/96, 16 January 1998

[128] Ibid.

[129] UNHCR, Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, StandingCommittee, EC/48/SC/CRP.24, 25 May 1998.

[130] Ibid.

[131] Markos, Kibret, "The Treatment of Somali Refugees in Ethiopia under EthiopianAnd International Law,1997,International Journal of Refugee Law, Vol. 9, No. 3, p. 367.

[132] Ibid., p. 373

[133] Ibid., p. 374

[134] Ibid., p. 374

[135] UNHCR, Ethiopia Fact Sheet, RLO, Addis Ababa, p. 4.

[136] UNHCR, Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, StandingCommittee, EC/48/SC/CRP.24, 25 May 1998

[137] Ibid.

[138] UNHCR, Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, StandingCommittee, 9 February 1999.

[139] UNHCR, Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, StandingCommittee, EC/48/SC/CRP.24, 25 May 1998.

[140] Ibid.

[141] UNHCR, ExecutiveCommittee of the High Commissioner's Programme, Standing Committee,EC/48/SC/CRP.3, 7 January 1998.

[142] Ibid.


This information paper was prepared in the Country Research and Analysis Unit of UNHCR's Centre for Documentation and Research on the basis of publicly available information, analysis and comment, in collaboration with Regional Bureau Responsible for Somalia and the UNHCR Statistical Unit. All sources are cited. This paper is not, and does not, purport to be, fully exhaustive with regard to conditions in the country surveyed, or conclusive as to the merits of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.