The American University in Cairo Center for Migration and Refugee Studies Database
Legal Instruments
Statistics and Figures

  Legal Instruments   

This section provides a list of international conventions and regional/bilateral agreements to which each country is a signatory, as well as national legislation that deals with movement, migration, asylum and human rights. Each listing includes a PDF/ link to a publically accessible document of the convention/law mentioned.
  International Conventions:

General International Law

Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 24 April 1963 (entered into force 19 March 1967) 596 U.N.T.S 261.

Ratified 1968


International Criminal Law

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 10 December 1984 (entered into force 26 June 1987) 1465 U.N.T.S. 85 [CAT].
Ratified 1990

International Human Rights Law

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 7 March 1966, 660 U.N.T.S 195 [CERD].
Ratified 1975


Convention on the Rights of the Child, 20 November 1989, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3 [CRC].

Signed 2002, Ratified 2015


International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, 999 U.N.T.S. 171 [ICCPR].

Ratified 1990


International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 16 December 1966 (entered into force 3 Jan 1976) 993 U.N.T.S. 3 [ICESCR].

Ratified 1990



Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/217 A (III), 10 December 1948, Art 14. [UDHR].




International Humanitarian Law/Law of War

Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, 12 August 1949 (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 U.N.T.S. 31 [First Geneva Convention].

Ratified 1962

Link to Conv.

Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, 12 August 1949 (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 U.N.T.S. 85 [Second Geneva Convention].

Ratified 1962

Link to Conv.

Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 12 August 1949 (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 U.N.T.S. 135 [Third Geneva Convention].

Ratified 1962

Link to Conv.

Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War
, 12 August 1949 (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 U.N.T.S. 287 [Fourth Geneva Convention].

Ratified 1962

Link to Conv.


International Labor Law 

ILO Convention C 111 Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (1958).

Ratified 1961

Link to Conv.

ILO Convention C 29 Forced or Compulsory Labour Convention (1932).

Ratified 1960 Link to Conv.

ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration (2005).

Link to Framework


International Refugee Law

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 28 July 1951, 189 U.N.T.S. 150. [Refugee Convention].

Ratified 1978

Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, 4 October 1967, 606 U.N.T.S. 267. [Refugee Protocol]
Ratified 1978
Link to Protocol


  Regional and Bilateral Agreements:

Regional Agreements 

OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, 1001 U.N.T.S. 45 (1969). 
Signed 1969, Ratified N/A

African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (The Kampala Convention) (2009).
Signed 2009, Ratified N/A


Labor Agreements

Labor Agreement between Somalia and Qatar on the situation of Somali workers in Qatar (1983)
Link to Agreement_Arabic


Other Relevant Agreement

Cultural, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement between France and Somalia (1996)
Link to Agreement_French

  National Legislation:

Somali Nationals

Somaliland Nationality and Citizenship Ordinance 15 of 1960

Law No. 22 of 2002, the second Nationality and Citizenship Act
Link to law_SomaliLink to law_Eg


Migration and Labor 

Law No. 72 of 1995 of the Somaliland Immigration Law
PDF_SomaliPDF_Eg (unofficial translation)


Asylum Laws

 Presidential Decree No. 25 of 2 June 1984 on determination of refugee status
Link to Law


  Statistics and Figures:   

This section provides links to regularly updated sites that provide statistics on migrants and refugees in different countries around the world.

Below are links to various databases that provide statistics and figures relevant to the movement of people in and out of Somalia:  

The World Bank 

UNFPA Migration Indicator 

UNHCR Statistics Database

The Displacement Tracking Matrix of the International Organization for Migration 

Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre


This section includes a comprehensive list of sources and links to journal articles, books, webpages, etc. for each country in the database that address migration and refugee topics within the context of education, health, legal, psychosocial, political, among others. Each listed source includes a brief description of the material and a link.


Link to Researchers

 De Regt, Marina. “Refugee, Woman, and Domestic Worker: Somali Women Dealing with Dependence in Yemen” African and Black Diaspora 3.1 (2010): 109-121. Link to Article

Keyword: refugee, women, domestic workers, Somali, women, Yemen

Since the 1990s, many Somali's sought refuge in Yemen, most of whom intended to move on. This paper examines the changing gender relations among Somali couples in Yemen as men become financially dependent on their wives and women become socially dependent on their husbands due to the economic and social climate of Yemen. While these arrangements result in marriages, they also cause break-ups. 

Horst, Cindy and Anab Ibrahim Nur. “Governing Mobility through Humanitarianism in Somalia: Compromising Protection for the Sake of Return” Development and Change 47.3 (2016): 542-562. Link to Article

Keyword: governing, governance, mobility, humanitarianism, Somalia, protection, return 

With a focus on protracted displacement realities of Somali refugees and IDPs in Kenya, Somaliland and South-Central Somalia, this study explores the interlinkages between protection and displacement. It argues that the strategies by which conflict-displaced population protect themselves are largely based on mobility. However, humanitarian approaches to displaced populations do not take sufficient account of the mobility needs of those they assist.

Lindley, Anna. "Displacement in Contested Places: Governance, Movement, and Settlement in the Somali Territories." journal of Eastern African Studies 7.2 (2013): 291-313. Link to Article

Keywords: governance; displacement; migration; Somali territories; Horn of Africa

This paper highlight the forces that help in mediating the situation of displaced populations. The research is based on primary sources and an assessment of the relevance of local social relations, macro political authorities and the international humanitarian regime. The author concludes with arguing that much more research is need to explore the perspectives of displaced persons themselves and understand the implications of displacement in the Somali territories.  

“Behind Bars: The Detention of Migrants in and from the East and Horn of Africa.” Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat. 2015. (Summary adapted from resource). Link to PDF

Keyword: detention, migrants, protection, East and Horn of Africa, deportation, irregular, irregularity  

This study focuses on the detention of immigrants in the East and Horn of Africa, and Yemen, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The report further includes a section on the use of immigration detention in Italy and Malta, the first point of entry to Europe for immigrants from the Horn of Africa traveling the north-western route out of the region to Europe. 


Beswick, Stephanie. "If You Leave Your Country You Have No Life!" Rape, Suicide, and Violence: The Voices of Ethiopian, Somali, and Sudanese Female Refugees in Kenyan Refugee Camps." Northeast African Studies 8.3 (2001). Link to Article

Keyword: rape, suicide, violence, sexual violence, mental health, physical security, Kenyan, Somali, Sudanese, female, women, refugees

This paper gives voices to women from three conflict zones-Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan-who are residing in Kenyan refugee camps up to 2011. The author observes that women fleeing conflicts face equally violence trauma in foreign lands commonly subjected to rapes, beatings and murder. The author attributes these attacks to the changes in the relationships between women and men of the same country in foreign land, as well as the collapse of legal and societal rules and laws that prevail in the home country.

Halcon, Linda L., Cheryl L. Robertson and Karen A. Monsen. "Evaluating Health Realization for Coping Among Refugee Women." Journal of Loss and Trauma 15.5 (2010): 408-425. Link to Article 

keyword: health, realization, coping, refugee, women

This study tests the feasibility, accessibility and acceptability of a strength-based, community-delivered intervention with Somali and Ethiopian women refugees.

Jaranson, James M. , James Butcher, Linda Halcon, David Robert Johnson, Cheryl Robertson, Kay Savik, Marline Spring, and Joseph Wastermeyer. "Somali and Oromo Refugees: Correlates of Torture and Trauma History." American Journal of Public Health 94.4 (2004) 591-598. Link to Article 

keyword: Somali, Oromo, torture, Trauma, health, mental, physical, torture

This study characterizes Somali and Ethiopian Oromo refugees in Minnesota to determine the prevalence of torture and associate and associated problems. The methods this study uses includes a comprehensive questionnaire that samples 1,134 participants measuring torture techniques, traumatic events, and social, physical and psychological problems, including PTSD. The study found that torture prevalence ranged from 25%-69% depending on ethnicity and gender. Torture survivors had more health problems.   

Kokanovic, Renata , Christopher Doric, Ella Butler, Helen Herrman, and Jane Gunn. "Lay Accounts of Depression amongst Anglo-Australian residents and East African refugees." Social Science & Medicine 66.2 (2008): 454-466. Link to Article

Keyword: depression, mental health, Anglo-Australian residents, East African refugees, cross cultural 

This article compares distress from Anglo-Australian, Ethiopian ad Somali communities in Australia describing commonalities and divergences in understanding of depression. 62 Anglo-Australian and 30 Somali and Ethiopians participated in focus groups and individual interviews. The study finds that Anglo-Australian convey depression as an individual experience and is socially isolating, while accounts from Somali and Ethiopian refugees consider family and border socio political events viewing depression as a collective experience. 

Markos, Kibret. "The Treatment of Somali Refugees in Ethiopia under Ethiopian and International Law." International Journal of Refugee Law 9.3 (1997): 365. (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article

Keyword: Somali, refugees, Ethiopia, international, law 

This article demonstrates the gap between the standards set in international refugee law and those in a national level, and the legal and practical constrains this gap can be attributed to using the case of Ethiopia. The article provides an overview of the international refugee instruments ratified by Ethiopia, discusses the challenges in the treatment of the Somali refugees in Ethiopia, and shows that a special attention needs to be paid to the causes of refugee flight to address the issue. 

Pickering, Sharon. "Gender, Securitization and Transit: Refugees Women and the Journey to the EU." Journal of Refugee Studies 27.3 (2014)338-359. (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article

Keyword: gender, women, securitization , transit, refugees, Journey, EU, irregular migration 

This study offers an account of the implications of securitization policies of the EU on female migrants and argues that the EU policy is blind to the lived realities of those who seek protection in the EU, and thus, the EU urgently needs to address the structural contradictions exacerbating violence experienced by refugee women in transit. 

Ransford, Danso. "From 'There' to 'Here': An investigation of the initial settlement experiences of Ethiopian and Somali refugees in Toronto." GeoJournal 56.1 (2002): 3-14. Link to Article 

Keyword: resettlement, settlement, experiences, Ethiopian, Somali, refugees, Toronto, Canada

This paper examines the lives of resettled refugees in Canada, in particular those originating from Somalia and Ethiopia. The study finds that, upon arrival, most of these refugees encounter considerable difficulties during the initial stages of resettlement in Canada. They face social and economic exclusion that can lead to mental health and suicidal thoughts. 



Leeson, Peter. “Better off stateless: Somalia before and after government collapse.” Journal of Comparative Economics 35. 4 (2007) 689–710. Link to Article

Keyword: Anarchy, Somalia

“The government's collapse and subsequent emergence of statelessness opened the opportunity for Somali progress. This paper investigates the impact of anarchy on Somali development. The data suggest that while the state of this development remains low, on nearly all of 18 key indicators that allow pre- and post-stateless welfare comparisons, Somalis are better off under anarchy than they were under government."

UN High Commissioner for Refugees. "Global Action Plan to End Statelessness." UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2014). Link to Article

Keyword: born, gender, protection, documentation 

                        “To End Statelessness within 10 years, the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness: 2014-2024 establishes a guiding framework of 10 Actions to be undertaken by States with the support of UNHCR and other stakeholders to: resolve existing major situations of statelessness, prevent new cases of statelessness from emerging and better identity and protect stateless populations.”