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Last updated: June 2022

Some of the particular risks Somali children may face include the following.

  • Violence against children (general): with regard to violence specifically against girls, see sub-profile 2.11.1 Violence against women and girls: overview. Boys also can experience violence, including sexual violence, killing and maiming and deprivation of liberty by Somali state, federal and international forces as well as Al-Shabaab and clan militias [Targeting, 5.2; Actors, 2.4.6, 3.6, 4.5, 7.1.5 ]. Cases of child trafficking and of child labour have also been reported [Security 2021,; Socio-economic 2021,].
  • Child recruitment: children have been recruited by multiple actors in Somalia. During the period 1 August 2016 - 30 September 2019, 391 cases of child recruitment were attributed to SNA, 172 cases to SPF and 169 cases to clan militias [Actors, 2.4.6, 3.6]. FMS forces have also been accused of child recruitment [Actors, 7.1.5, 7.2.5, 7.5.3, 7.5.5, 7.6.5]. During the same period 4 910 cases were attributed to Al-Shabaab [Actors, 4.5]. On child recruitment by Al-Shabaab, see sub-profile 2.2.2 Child recruitment by Al-Shabaab.
  • FGM/C: in Somalia, FGM is almost universally practiced throughout the country. The majority of girls are circumcised between ages 5-9 [Targeting, 2.4]. See more under sub-profile 2.11.4 Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C).
  • Child marriage: boys can also be subjected to child marriage [Targeting, 2.3]. Child marriage rates are higher for girls compared to boys, see sub-profile 2.11.3 Child marriage and forced marriage.
  • Children born out of wedlock: a child born out of wedlock would face discrimination and stigma and some would end up on the streets as orphans after getting abandoned by their mothers. Furthermore, children born out of wedlock and their mothers may be abandoned by the rest of the extended family [Targeting, 2.5].

Risk analysis

Children could be exposed to acts which are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. sexual violence, trafficking, certain forms of child labour, child recruitment, FGM). When the acts in question are (solely) of discriminatory nature, the individual assessment of whether this could amount to persecution should take into account the severity and/or repetitiveness of the acts or whether they occur as an accumulation of various measures. Being a child is to be taken into account in the assessment on whether an act reaches the threshold of persecution.

Not all children would face the level of risk required to establish well-founded fear of persecution. The individual assessment of whether there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for a child to face persecution should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, such as: area of origin, family status, level of assistance by a support/clan network, etc.

In the case of children without support/clan network, well-founded fear of persecution would in general be substantiated.

Nexus to a reason for persecution

With regard to the nexus to a reason for persecution, the assessment should take into account the individual circumstances of the child. For example, children born out of wedlock may be subjected to persecution for reasons of membership of particular social group, based on their common background which cannot be changed (born out of wedlock) and distinct identity in Somalia (in relation to stigmatisation by society).