Information on the procedure for the issuing of identity cards [SOM18375.E]

A representative of the Somali-Canadian Association of Etobicoke explained in a telephone interview with the DIRB that every municipality in Somalia during Siad Barre's regime, had the authority to issue identity cards (18 Oct. 1994). He emphasized that identity cards were not mandatory and were issued on demand. They were required to open a bank account, apply for a passport, for schooling and for other government purposes and only a small percentage of Somalis carried identity cards (ibid.).

In order to have an identity card, however, one required a birthcertificate, and in order to obtain a birthcertificate the applicant had to open a family file with the municipality and be issued a family number. The applicant would have to provide two witnesses from his clan and/or subclan who know him/her very well (ibid).

The identity cards bore the the family file number and another number. He also explained that prior to 1973, birth certificates and identity cards were issued in Italian in southern Somalia but in English in northern Somalia. After 1973, they were issued in the Somali language. This information was corroborated by a representative of another Somali organization based in Toronto, Somali Immigrant Aid (18 Oct. 1994).

A professor of public administration at Syracuse University also corroborated the information adding that only military personnel, the police and government employees were required to carry identity cards (18 Oct. 1994).

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Professor of public administration, Syracuse University, Syracuse. 18 October 1994. Telephone interview.

Somali-Canadian Association of Etobicoke, Etobicoke. 18 October 1994. Telephone interview with representative.

Somali Immigrant Aid, Toronto. 18 October 1994. Telephone interview with representative.