Rights in Exile Programme

Refugee Legal Aid Information for Lawyers Representing Refugees Globally

Somalia - COI

Click here to see the host countries of refugees originating from Somalia.

Dr Cawo Abdi

Email: cabdiatumn [dot] edu

Dr Abdi's work on Somalis and on the Somali political processes started over a decade ago when she spent the summer in Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya conducting research on refugees and gender based violence. Since that time She has substantial time in various parts f the glob-Somalia, Kenya, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and the United States where she is currently based-researching and writing about Somali affairs, including though not limited to, issues around gender, family, human rights, development, Islamic identity and political Islam.  Though Dr Abdi's trips to Somalia are limited due to the insecurities still prevailling in the country, she continues to stay abreast on the ongoing social, economic, and political debates as they pertain to Somalis around the globe.  In addition to numerous journal articles, Dr Abdi has a forthcoming book on Somali migration-"Elusive Jannah: The Diaspora and a Borderless Muslim Identity". 

Dr Samuel A Bekalo

Email: samuelatayele90 [dot] freeserve [dot] co [dot] uk or samuelbekaloathotmail [dot] com

Dr Samuel A Bekalo has conducted research and published widely on Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan. He has lived and worked in the region and regularly visits the area since the 1960s. He has written over 100 expert and documentation authentication reports on these countries. His scholarly reports are based on first-hand experience and benefit from his knowledge of Amharic, Oromo, Arabic, Tigrinya, and Kiswahili. In recent years, Dr Bekalo has worked as a Research Fellow at the International School of Education of the University of Leeds (UK), where he was involved in the capacity building project North-South Higher Education Institutions Link programme for Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan.

Mr Mark Bradbury

Email: markebradburyatgooglemail [dot] com
Tel: (+44) (0)1544230178 / (0)7762108044

Somalia and Somaliland

Mr Mark Bradbury is a social analyst who has worked extensively in Somalia and Somaliland since the late 1980s with a range of Somali and international humanitarian and development organizations. He has authored a book, Becoming Somaliland (2008), and a number of other publications on Somalia and Somaliland including Accord 21, a journal focused on current events and issues in Somalia.

Dr Laura Hammond

Senior Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, UK
Email: lh4atsoas [dot] ac [dot] uk 
Forced migration, diasporas, food security and conflict

Laura Hammond has conducted extensive research in areas of forced migration, diasporas, food security, and conflict. She has worked in the Horn of Africa - particularly Ethiopia and Somalia/Somaliland - for the past eighteen years, and has done consultancy for a wide range of development and humanitarian organizations, including UNDP, USAID, DfID, Oxfam, Medécins Sans Frontières, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the British Red Cross and the World Food Programme.  She is a member of the Independent Advisory Group on Country Information (IAGCI). She is also the author of This Place Will Become Home: Refugee Repatriation to Ethiopia (Cornell University Press: 2004) and several other book and journal articles.

Ms Mary Harper

Africa Editor, BBC World Service News
Email: maryharper44atgmail [dot] com

Ms Mary Harper is a journalist and author who has reported on Somalia and Somaliland since the early 1990s. She is the author of the book Getting Somalia Wrong? Faith, Hope and War in a Shattered State (2012). She has done consultancy on Somali issues for a wide range of organisations, and speaks regularly about Somalia at public events.

Ms Maimuna Mohamud

Email: mmohamud0atgmail [dot] com
Tel: +974 33 464 294

Maimuna Mohamud is a researcher and independent consultant with focus on issues related to Somali institutional responses to returning Somali refugees and IDPs. She is currently researching the diaspora return to Somalia as well as the history of Somali women’s citizenship and civic engagement. Maimuna has also conducted research in Yemen and Eritrea, gaining a broader understanding on migration patterns and flows originating from the Horn of Africa region. Previously in Algeria, she worked with Saharawi refugees as part of UNHCR’s family visit program. Now based in Doha, Qatar, Maimuna travels extensively to the Somali regions.  

Mr Ben Rawlence

Email: benrawlenceatgmail [dot] com 

Mr Rawlence is a Country of Origin expert on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritea, and Somalia. He has written numerous articles on issues occuring in the region and also written two BOOKS including City of Thorns: Fear and Longing in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp (forthcoming, 2015) and Radio Congo: Signals of Hope from Africa’s Deadliest War. Mr Rawlence can speak Swahili. He supervised work on Somalia for Human Rights Watch from 2011-2013, visiting the country several times and researching abuses of the laws of war and the treatment of internally displaced persons. Since 2013 he has been working on a book about Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and have a good current understanding of the dynamics of conflict in Somalia and of rights violations there. 

Dr Zaheera Jinnah (FGM/C)

Email: Zaheera [dot] Jinnahatwits [dot] ac [dot] za

Zaheera Jinnah holds a doctorate in anthropology and is a researcher at the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and a visiting scholar at the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, Toronto. She is also a qualified social worker. Her doctoral thesis was an in-depth 3 year ethnographic study of Somali women in Johannesburg. She has done research on Somali women’s perceptions of FGM/C in Johannesburg, their level of engagement with public and private heath care professionals and community organisations and is co-author of a paper on FGM/C amongst Somalis in Nairobi and Johannesburg which was published in the Journal of Medical Anthropology in 2015. She is actively involved with Somali women and community groups in Johannesburg and Toronto.  

Laura Young, JD, MPH

Email: lyoungatprorightsconsulting [dot] com

Laura is a US-trained human rights lawyer based in Nairobi, Kenya who works across sub-Saharan Africa as a consultant on governance and human rights for USAID, the UN, governments, and international NGOs. Laura has published numerous articles and reports focused on conflict dynamics, gender, minority rights, transitional justice, migration, health, and other human rights issues in the African context. Laura has provided expert input for immigration and asylum cases in both the US and UK, focused on LGBT, FGM/C, domestic violence, trafficking, access to health services (including mental health and HIV), ex-combatants, ethnic minorities, disability access, police protection, and other key issues.

Prof Marianne Sarkis (FGM/C)

Email: msarkisatclarku [dot] edu

Professor Marianne Sarkis founded and continues to direct the FGM Education and Networking Project, an outreach project and information clearinghouse on FGM/C which has been in existence since 1995. Professor Sarkis’ research in Massachusetts focuses on the intersection of culture and biomedicine in women’s reproductive experiences, especially those who have resettled or emigrated from FGM/C-producing countries. Her community-based participatory research has allowed her to engage in respectful yet transformative community dialogues about the implications of abandoning FGM/C on cultural continuity and identity. She has served as a consultant for physicians, nurses, public health practitioners and ethics committees at hospitals in Florida and in Massachusetts to identify best practices in providing care to women who have undergone FGM/C. In 2010, Dr Sarkis was invited to participate at a Briefing at the NGO Relations Cluster of the Department of Public Information at the United Nations in New York City.
Dr Sarkis has provided expert testimonies on behalf of women who were either at risk of experiencing FGM/C once they returned home or persecution because they belonged to minority clans. She has extensive experience in the history and current status of clan relations in Somalia, gender roles and expectations in kinship, majority-minority clan relations, and the pressure to conform that women face at home and after resettlement. Dr Sarkis has provided testimonies on behalf of women from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Djibouti. However, her primary expertise is in Somalia, especially among the dominant and minority clans (Somali and Somali Bantus). Dr Sarkis is assistant professor of international development and social change at Clark University in Worcester, MA.

Reports, Commentaries and relevant Documents

  • Commentary on the October 2011 Somalia OGN.Published by Still Human, Still Here with commentaries on the Operational Guidance Notes (OGN) issued by the UK Border Agency on Somalia. This is intended as a tool to assist legal practitioners identify the relevant country of origin information and to help ensure that all relevant material is considered by decision-makers
  • 2010 Report on Somalia available on RefWorld
  • see Martin Hill's Report: No redress: Somalia’s forgotten minorities, available on Minority Rights Group International Web page.

Share