The number of returnees from Kenya to Kismayo (1998/1999); percentage of women among returnees; treatment upon return especially of women "without male relatives" [SOM33473.E]

Information contained in this Response is taken from the UNCHR Website. Accordingly:

1998 saw a significant achievement in the organized voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees to different parts of Somalia. A total of 47,881 individuals in the camps in Ethiopia returned to north-west Somalia - nearly four times as many as returned during 1997. A smaller number of Somali refugees also returned from other countries of asylum: 1,561 from Kenya and from Djibouti. In total, 49,872 persons returned to Somalia from neighbouring countries during the year.


Since all of northern Somalia has enjoyed peace and security over the past five years, UNHCR targeted its organized repatriation and reintegration activities in the north-east and north-west regions. UNHCR did not promote returns to southern Somalia, as there are sporadic armed clashes between clan militias in that region (1998)

Women and children comprise about 70 per cent of the returnee population. UNHCR will continue to establish links between refugees, returnees and internally displaced women and the relevant local and international NGOs that provide services to women and children (ibid., 1999).

According to the World Refugee Survey 1999, the UNHCR expected to repatriate 75, 000 refugees during the year. However, "final repatriation totals fell short of UNHCR's goals, but nearly 50,000 refugees voluntarily returned from Ethiopia, and some 1,500 returned from Kenya. At least 700 of the returnees from Kenya arrived in northern Somalia aboard UNHCR-chartered planes" (89).

The UNCHR further states that

the political and security situation in Somalia has again been characterized by pockets of relative peace or instability. Whereas the north-east and north-west has been relatively stable, many areas in the centre and south experienced not only armed conflict, but also severe shortage of food...The UNHCR compound was taken over and used as a military base. Some of the equipment, including telecommunications, was reported to have been looted, but there have been promises that it would returned...these developments greatly affected UNHCR's operations in the Kismayo area. At the time of writing, efforts were underway to regain access to the UNHCR compound and equipment, but it was not yet possible to resume operations (May 1999).

For information relating to the situation of women without male relatives including assistance they receive from the local community and NGOs, please consult ZZZ32930.E of 15 October 1999 and SML33286.E of 30 November 1999.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate 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.


United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). 1999. "1999 Global Appeal -Somalia: Repatriation and Reintegration of Refugees."[Accessed: 18 Jan. 2000]

_____. May 1999. UNCHR 1990 Mid-Year Progress Report - Somalia."[Accessed: 18 Jan. 2000]

_____. "1998 Global Report - Somalia: Voluntary Repatriation and Reintegration of Somali Refugees"[Accessed: 18 Jan. 2000]

World Refugee Survey 1999. 1999. "Somalia." Washington, DC: Immigration and Refugee Services of America.