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3.11.6. Individuals in mixed marriages

Last update: June 2022

COI summary

Intermarriage between majority clans and Madhibaan, Muse Diriye, Tumal, Yibir, Yahar, Eyle, and particularly Bantu are taboo; if they happen, they often provoke violent conflict. Intermarriage between majority groups and Ashraf or Sheikhal is possible and does not normally produce resistance among majority group members. Rahanweyn and members of other majority groups do intermarry. Benadiri also enjoy some prestige and occasionally, majority group members in Mogadishu and surroundings marry especially women from Benadiri groups. [Targeting, 4.5., p. 75]

It is most problematic if a man belonging to a minority group marries a woman from a majority group. According to the patrilineal logic of belonging, the children from this marriage would then belong to the minority group, which the relatives of the mother would see as a ‘downgrade’. [Targeting, 4.5., p. 75]

In the biggest cities of Somalia, Mogadishu and Kismayo, which are more cosmopolitan, compared to other Somali towns, intermarriages between majority clans and members of occupational minority groups are seen as less problematic. This does not apply with regard to intermarriage with Bantu. A marriage between a man of a majority group and a Bantu woman, or the other way around, could lead to the murder of one or both partners or of the relatives involved. [Targeting, 4.5., p. 75]

Especially in the north, in Somaliland, where the ‘purity’ of patrilineal descent is an important social value, marriages between occupational minorities and majority groups are happening rarely, especially if the man is from a minority group. In Somaliland, if a man from a minority clan marries a girl from a majority group, the couple normally has to ‘run away’. Normally, the woman is then disowned by her family. The family of the husband would also discourage such a relationship, because they would fear revenge by the relatives of the woman. Majeerteen and Gabooye (especially Madhibaan) do not normally intermarry in Puntland. [Targeting, 4.5., p. 75]


Conclusions and guidance 

   Do the acts qualify as persecution under Article 9 QD?   

Some acts reported to be committed against individuals under this profile are of such severe nature that they amount to persecution (e.g. killing, physical violence). 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.

   What is the level of risk of persecution (well-founded fear)?   

The individual assessment of whether there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution in the whole of Somalia, including South-Central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland, should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, such as: gender, the clan of the partners (in particular whether one of the partners belongs to a minority clan), specific minority group that the applicant belongs to, area of origin, etc.

   Are the reasons for persecution falling within Article 10 QD (nexus)?   

Where well-founded fear of persecution is substantiated, available information indicates that persecution of this profile is highly likely to be for reasons of race. Persecution of individuals in mixed marriages may also be for reasons of membership of particular social group, based on a common background which cannot be changed (entering in a mixed marriage) and distinct identity in Somalia, as they are perceived as different in the Somali society.