Djibouti and Somalia: Whether Djiboutian passports are issued to Somaliland government officials to facilitate their travel; whether such passports give the bearer citizenship rights or residence rights in Djibouti (2011-October 2016) [ZZZ105648.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

Information on whether Djiboutian passports are issued to Somaliland government officials to facilitate their travel was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

HCH24, a French-language web site dedicated to current events in the Horn of Africa (UDDESC 7 Mar. 2014) provided the information found below.

HCH24 has reportedly been banned in Djibouti since March 2014, allegedly under the orders of Djiboutan president Isamël Omar Guelleh (ibid.). The website is operated by Hassan Cher Hared (HCH24 12 July 2013). The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) reports that Hared, then a labour leader and activist, was [translation] "arbitrarily dismissed" in 2005 from his position in the Djiboutian postal service (OMCT 14 June 2005). According to the same source, Hared was allegedly fired as a "reprisal" for having criticised the social and economic situations of workers as well as denounced corruption and mismanagement of public resources (ibid.). Hassan Cher Hared is also the Secretary General of l'Union djiboutienne pour les droits économiques sociaux et culturels & politiques et civils (UDDESC) (UDDESC 8 Mar. 2016). UDDESC is described as an "opposition formation" (Afrol News n.d.). Further information on UDDESC could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

In December 2013, HCH24 reported that [translation] "50 percent of officials at every level of Somaliland have and use the passport of the Republic of Djibouti," including "[m]ost of the intelligence service officials, ministers, members of Parliament, traditional leaders, journalists, and businessmen" (HCH24 23 Dec. 2013). The website also quotes a Djiboutian intelligence officer as stating that such passports are renewed every three years and are authorised directly by Djiboutian President Isamël Omar Guelleh (ibid.). Without providing details, the same source states that "some groups" are opposed to this "dangerous project" and accuse the president of "selling off Djiboutian citizenship to unknown persons" (ibid.).

A further article published in March 2015 by HCH24 indicates that [translation] "many" political and administrative leaders from Somaliland used the Djibouti passport (ibid. 20 Mar. 2015). The same article indicates that Somaliland's Head of immigration service and Minister of Aviation have developed a "lucrative business" in the selling on a "large scale" of Djiboutian travel documents in collaboration with "officials of the political police and the presidency" of Djibouti (ibid). Corroborating information on the information provided by HCH24 could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Information on whether Djiboutian passports issued to Somaliland government officials give the bearer citizenship rights or residence rights in Djibouti could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

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 for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Afrol News. 18 February 2011. "Djibouti Protests More Massive than Expected." [Accessed 17 Oct. 2016]

Afrol News. N.d. "About afrol News." [Accessed 20 Oct. 2016]

HCH24. 20 March 2015. "Djibouti / Somaliland : trafic lucratif des passeports djiboutiens entre des officiels de Hargeisa et de Djibouti." [Accessed 14 Oct. 2016]

HCH24. 23 December 2013. "Djibouti: La moitié des autorités du Somaliland utilise le passeport djiboutien." [Accessed 14 Oct. 2016]

HCH24. 12 July 2013. "À propos de l'auteur." [Accessed 17 Oct. 2016]

Union djiboutienne pour les droits économiques, sociaux et culturels & civils et politiques (UDDESC). 7 March 2014. "Le dictateur de Djibouti, Ismaël Omar Guelleh, a censuré le site web d'actualité francophone HCH24.com." Réf: 002/AN2014. [Accessed 17 Oct. 2016]

World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). 14 June 2005. "Djibouti: Djibouti: Licenciement abusif de M. Hassan Cher Hared." [Accessed 17 Oct. 2016]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Djibouti – Embassy in Paris, Embassy in Washington, DC, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères et de la Coopération Internationale; Somaliland – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mission in UK, Mission in USA.

Internet sites, including: Africa.com; Africa Intelligence; Africatime.com; Agence djiboutienne d'information; AllAfrica; Djibouti – Présidence de la République; Djiboutination.com; ecoi.net; Embassypages.com; Factiva; Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme; GaroweOnline.com; IRIN; JeuneAfrique.com; Medeshi news; Le Monde; La Nation; Nouvel Essor; Observatoire de la situation des droits de l'homme à djibouti; Panapress; Radiodiffucion Télévision de Djibouti; Sahan Journal; SlateAfrique; Somalia Online; Somaliland – Ministry of Interior; SomalilandInformer; Somalilandpress; Somalialand Sun; SomTribune; UN – Refworld; US – Department of State.