Somalia (Puntland)

Detains migrants or asylum seekers?

Yes

Has laws regulating migration-related detention?

Unknown

Refugees

2,729

2014

Asylum Applications

2,886

2013

International Migrants

24,600

2013

Population

4,334,633

2016

Overview

The autonomous Puntland State of Somalia is both a source and transit country for migrants and refugees seeking passage to Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Persian Gulf. According to a 2022 Somali civil society report, "migrants are detained in camps, sometimes for prolonged periods. Most of these people are navigating a migratory route through Ethiopia to Sudan and then north to Europe. Living conditions in the camps are poor, with limited services and accommodation. ... Authorities in Puntland use checkpoints to stop passing migrants, interrogate them and finally detain them." (IHRO, SWSO, SWDC, "Detainee and detention centre conditions in Mogadishu, Kismayo and Baidoa," 2022, https://www.saferworld.org.uk/resources/publications/1380-detainee-and-detention-centre-conditions-in-mogadishu-kismayo-and-baidoa)

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

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Last updated: August 2016

Somalia (Puntland) Immigration Detention Profile

    The autonomous Puntland State of Somalia is both a source and transit country for migrants and refugees seeking passage to Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Persian Gulf. Many people from Ethiopia and Somalia attempt to use the Puntland coast as a launching point to begin the hazardous journey across the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen and other Gulf States. Many of the smugglers operating boats that cross the gulf are notorious for their inhumane treatment of passengers and many people die each year during the crossing.[1] Roughly a dozen foreigners, mainly men between the age of 19 and 33, are reportedly detained each month.[2]  

    Authorities in Puntland have established checkpoints throughout the country in an attempt to intercept foreigners heading west towards Ethiopia, Sudan, and Libya. People stopped at these checkpoints report being interrogated and ultimately detained.

    People can be confined in immigration detention facilities, at checkpoints, or in police stations. There have been numerous reports dating back at least a decade of migrants and refugees being detained at an ad hoc camp located in the Bossaso seaport.[3] Other reports indicate that some eight different facilities have been used in Bossaso and Garowe to detain irregular migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.[4]

    In 2012, the UN Independent Expert for Somalia described detention conditions as being close to inhumane. Detention facilities lacked food, water, basic sanitation, and proper ventilation.[5] While Somalia allows for monitoring by independent NGOs, including weekly monitoring of two detention centres by a local organization, authorities refused to authorize visits by the UN Political Office for Somalia or the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia’s human rights unit in 2013.

    Previously, in 2006, the International Organisation for Migration reported that a camp was temporarily opened in Bossasso to confine “stranded migrants. UNHCR and the IOM reportedly assisted in the operation of the camp. According to an IOM Field Mission report, “At the beginning of November 2006 there were approximately 500 Ethiopians residing at a closed centre awaiting the screening process. ... The centre was located a few miles away from the Bossasso airport on a secluded dry piece of land encircled with hills. The authorities had at least four armed officers making sure no one escaped from detention. The weather is extremely hot, dry, and dusty and shelter for the migrants consisted of plastic sheets mounted on wood sticks.”[6]

     

    [1] UNHCR, “Gulf of Aden drownings raise concerns over smuggling and rescue-at-sea tradition,” 15 April, 2011, http://www.unhcr.org/4da8598d6.html.

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

    [3] International Organization for Migration (IOM), Field Mission Report: Stranded Ethiopian Migrants in Bossasso, North East Somalia/Puntland, IOM MRF Nairobi, November 2006.

    [4] UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Somalia Factsheet, June 2015; Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Regional Mixed Migration Summary for September 2012, http://www.unhcr.org/507ff56f9.pdf.

    [5] Human Rights Council, “Report of the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia, Shamsul Bari,” United Nations, A/HRC/21/61, 22 August 2012, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session21/A.HRC.21.61_en.pdf.

    [6] International Organization for Migration (IOM), Field Mission Report: Stranded Ethiopian Migrants in Bossasso, North East Somalia/Puntland, IOM MRF Nairobi, November 2006.

    DETENTION STATISTICS

    DETAINEE DATA

    Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
    0
    2017

    DETENTION CAPACITY

    ALTERNATIVES TO DETENTION

    ADDITIONAL ENFORCEMENT DATA

    PRISON DATA

    Criminal Prison Population (Year)
    500
    2011

    POPULATION DATA

    Population (Year)
    4,334,633
    2016
    10,787,000
    2015
    International Migrants (Year)
    24,600
    2013
    International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
    0.2
    2013
    Refugees (Year)
    2,729
    2014
    Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
    0.23
    2013
    Asylum Applications (Year)
    2,886
    2013
    Refugee Recognition Rate (Year)
    39.9
    2013
    Stateless Persons (Year)
    0
    2014

    SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

    LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

    Does the Country Detain People for Migration, Asylum, or Citizenship Reasons?
    Yes
    2022
    Does the Country Have Specific Laws that Provide for Migration-Related Detention?
    Unknown
    2023
    Legal Tradition(s)
    Muslim law
    2024

    GROUNDS FOR DETENTION

    LENGTH OF DETENTION

    Maximum Length in Custody Prior to Detention Order
    Number of Days: 12345678.91
    2013
    Maximum Length of Detention at Port of Entry
    Number of Days: 549
    2013

    DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

    Custodial Authorities
    (Puntland authorities) Local Authority
    2006
    Detention Facility Management
    International Organisation for Migration (International or Regional Organization)
    2006
    Ethiopian immigration (Governmental)
    2006
    Types of Detention Facilities Used in Practice
    2014

    PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

    COSTS & OUTSOURCING

    COVID-19 DATA

    TRANSPARENCY

    MONITORING

    NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORING BODIES

    NATIONAL PREVENTIVE MECHANISMS (OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO UN CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE)

    NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS (NGOs)

    GOVERNMENTAL MONITORING BODIES

    INTERNATIONAL DETENTION MONITORING

    INTERNATIONAL TREATIES & TREATY BODIES

    Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
    Ratio: 0/19

    > UN Special Procedures

    > UN Universal Periodic Review

    > Global Compact for Migration (GCM)

    > Global Compact on Refugees (GCR)

    REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

    HEALTH CARE PROVISION

    HEALTH IMPACTS

    COVID-19