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Last update: June 2022
*Minor updates: August 2023

When examining the element ‘absence of persecution or serious harm’, the decision-maker should refer to chapters 2 to 5 of this document.

When assessing the requirement of safety with regard to the applicability of IPA in individual cases of applicants from Somalia, the following elements should be taken into account:

  • General security situation in relation to indiscriminate violence

The general security situation in the particular part of the country that is being examined as an alternative for internal protection in the individual case should be assessed in accordance with the analysis under the section on Article 15(c) QD.

The conclusions with regard to the three cities of Mogadishu, Garowe and Hargeisa are as follows:

In Mogadishu: indiscriminate violence reaches a high level, and, accordingly, a lower level of individual elements is required to show substantial grounds for believing that a civilian, returned to the territory, would face a real risk of serious harm within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD.

In Garowe: there is, in general, no real risk for a civilian to be personally affected within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD.

In Hargeisa: there is, in general, no real risk for a civilian to be personally affected within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD.

  • Actor of persecution or serious harm and their reach

In case where the person fears persecution or serious harm by State actors (e.g. journalists), there is a presumption that IPA would not be available (Recital 27 QD).

In specific cases, where the reach of a certain State actor is clearly limited to a particular geographical area (e.g. FMS authorities, Somaliland authorities), the criterion of safety may be satisfied with regard to other parts of Somalia. The presence and/or control of Al-Shabaab and its operational capacity has generally expanded in all South-Central Somalia. Activities and presence have been reported in Puntland to a lesser degree. However, Al-Shabaab has steadily become stronger in Puntland. [Actors, 4.1., p. 59; Targeting, 6.1., p. 88]. Moreover, Al-Shabaab has infiltrated both the government and the security forces, thus expanding its areas of influence beyond the areas where it holds military presence or even territorial control [Actors, 4.3.3., p. 64]. Al-Shabaab has limited capacity to carry out attacks in Somaliland because it only has a small presence [Targeting, 6.1., p. 90]. In case of persecution by Al-Shabaab, the criterion of safety, in general, would not be satisfied in South-Central Somalia. With regard to Puntland and Somaliland, IPA may be considered safe, depending on individual circumstances. Among other relevant factors, the capacity of Al-Shabaab to track and target individuals in areas outside of its control, the way the applicant is perceived by Al-Shabaab and whether a personal enmity is at stake should be given due consideration.

With regard to other actors of persecution or serious harm, such as ISS and clans, their presence is generally geographically more limited. In some cases, the criterion of safety under IPA could be satisfied, depending on individual circumstances.

For more information on the territorial aspect of the activities of different actors, see chapter 2. Actors of persecution or serious harm and 4.4.4. Indiscriminate violence.

Where the applicant faces persecution or serious harm for reasons related to the prevalent social norms in Somalia and the actor of persecution or serious harm is the Somali society at large (e.g. LGBTIQ persons), IPA would in general not be considered safe.

For certain particularly vulnerable individuals, such as some women and children, if the actor of persecution or serious harm is the (extended) family or clan (e.g. FGM, forced marriage), taking into account the reach of these actors, the lack of State protection and their vulnerability to potential other forms of persecution or serious harm, IPA would in general not meet the requirement of safety.

See also 2. Actors of persecution or serious harm.

  • Whether the profile of the applicant is considered a priority target and/or a threat by the actor of persecution or serious harm

The profile of the applicant could make him or her a priority target, increasing the likelihood that the actor of persecution or serious harm would attempt to trace the applicant in the potential IPA location (e.g. high-level federal and state officials and members of the armed forces targeted by Al-Shabaab and/or ISS, etc.)

  • Behaviour of the applicant

It should be underlined that it cannot be reasonably expected that the applicant abstains from practices fundamental to his or her identity, such as those related to their religion or sexual orientation and gender identity, in order to avoid the risk of persecution or serious harm.8F8F

  • Other risk-enhancing circumstances

The information under the section 3. Refugee status should be used to assist in this assessment.