Somalia

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2017

2,003

New asylum applications

2019

17,882

Refugees

2019

52,131

International migrants

2019

Overview

Somalia is the third largest source country of refugees worldwide, with the number of Somali refugees reaching one million in 2012. Although immigration detention is reported to be relatively common in the autonomous territories of Puntland and Somaliland, it does not appear to be a significant issue in Somalia proper.

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

12 March 2021

UNSOM, “Somalia’s COVID-19 Response: Internally Displaced People Especially at Risk,” 23 June 2020, https://unsom.unmissions.org/somalia%E2%80%99s-covid-19-response-internally-displaced-people-especially-risk
UNSOM, “Somalia’s COVID-19 Response: Internally Displaced People Especially at Risk,” 23 June 2020, https://unsom.unmissions.org/somalia%E2%80%99s-covid-19-response-internally-displaced-people-especially-risk

Somalia, a war-torn country located in the Horn of Africa, has a population of approximately 15 million. The population is considered to be particularly vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases because of its poor public health infrastructure that was damaged during years of civil war, ongoing conflicts, and economic underdevelopment. At the same time, multiple crises have contributed to the massive displacement of Somalis within and outside the country: persistent conflict, climate disasters, diseases, and desert locust infestations. By the end of 2019, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that around 5.2 million inhabitants were in need of assistance. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the challenges faced by the general and displaced population: food insecurity has increased and the response to environmental disasters has been slowed down by higher shipping costs of necessary equipment and goods.

The first case of COVID-19 in Somalia was reported on 16 March 2020 from a returning citizen, prompting a halt of international flights for two weeks, with exceptions for humanitarian flights. Other measures imposed to curb the spread include movement restrictions and reduced business activity. In 2020, Somalia recorded a total of 4,714 COVID-19 cases and 130 deaths. A considerable spike was reported in the first two months of 2021, when nearly the same number of positive cases and deaths were recorded as during the entire previous year. Its health system is severely underdeveloped and cannot cope with the second wave. In the capital Mogadishu only one hospital has an isolation centre. It is also possible that the low recorded cases in 2020 can be attributed to the limited testing capacities of the country (Al Jazeera, 28 April 2020).

A UNHCR update from 21 May 2020 reported only two active cases among its population of concern (one refugee and one IDP), which includes 2,648,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 130,510 returning refugees, 15,358 asylum seekers, and 14,666 refugees. However, Amnesty International reported a lack of testing facilities within camps in July 2020, as well as reduced healthcare provision due to lack of funding and movement and overcrowding restrictions. The effect of the pandemic and restriction measures on the numerous and overcrowded IDP camps was also assessed by a CCCM Cluster Feedback Assessment. The findings show that a majority of respondents faced economic difficulties due to a loss of their livelihoods, 36 percent believed they had adequate access to health services, and only 23 percent had access to COVID-19 testing.

The extent of COVID-19 transmission in Somali jails and other detention centres is still unclear. The conditions for a mass outbreak are present, as reported by the ICRC in April 2020: “Overcrowding, shared sanitation facilities, poor hygiene, limited ventilation and access to common areas are examples of structural and organizational factors that can favour the spread of diseases. … The good news is that several handwashing stations are being set up in the detention facilities. Detainees and staff have also been informed on measures they can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. … Some detention facilities in Somalia have already halted family visits to reduce the risk.”

In April 2020, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) donated personal hygiene goods, cleaning products, medical goods, masks, and gloves, and provided guidelines for coping with infectious diseases to several prisons in Somalia (Mogadishu Central Prison, Mogadishu Prison and Court Complex, Baidoa Central Prison, Garowe Prison, Kismayo Prison, Beledweyn Prison).

The United Kingdom Home Office, in a 2015 Document on Prison Conditions in Somalia, reported that “Conditions in most prisons in Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland, including those administered by Al Shabaab, are harsh with reports of poor levels of sanitation, overcrowding and disease; inadequate medical facilities; extensive use of lengthy pretrial detention and the use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.”

It is unclear how many detainees are non-citizens, and whether they are detained due to their migration status. In 2012, Mogadishu Central Prison had no foreign prisoners out of 950.


Last updated: August 2016

Somalia Immigration Detention Profile

Somalia is the third largest source country of refugees worldwide. The number of Somali refugees reached one million in 2012. As Somalia is not a destination or transit country for migrants from neighbouring countries, immigration-related detention does not appear to be a significant issue and there is very little information available about this issue.[1]

In 2013, the U.S. State Department described conditions in Somalia’s prisons and detention centres as harsh and life-threatening. Problems include poor sanitation, lack of medical care, inadequate food, and widespread tuberculosis, cholera, and pneumonia.[2]

 

[1] Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Behind Bars: The Detention of Migrants in and from the East and Horn of Africa, 2015, http://www.regionalmms.org/.

[2] U.S. Department of State, Somalia 2014 Human Rights Report, 2014, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/236616.pdf.

DETENTION, EXPULSION, AND INCARCERATION STATISTICS

Total number of immigration detainees by year
Not Available
2019
Total number of detained minors
Not Available
2017
Criminal prison population
3,450
2012

DEMOGRAPHICS AND IMMIGRATION-RELATED STATISTICS

Population
15,900,000
2020
10,787,000
2015
International migrants
52,131
2019
24,600
2013
International migrants as a percentage of the population
0.2
2013
Refugees
17,882
2019
16,741
2018
14,567
2017
11,559
2016
8,081
2015
2,729
2014
Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
0.23
2013
Total number of new asylum applications
2,003
2019
3,153
2016
2,886
2013
Refugee recognition rate
39.9
2013
Stateless persons
0
2016
0
2014

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

Legal tradition
Muslim law
2017
Civil law
2017
Customary law
2017
Common law
2017

INTERNATIONAL LAW

Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 9/19
International treaty reservations
Reservation Year
Observation Date
CRC Article 14 2015
2015
2015
Individual complaints procedure
Acceptance Year
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1990
1990
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
1/7
2017
Regional legal instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 1985
1985
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2011
2017
No 2016
2017

INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS