Past eventResearch Event

Protecting Somali Refugees: Finding Durable International Solutions

5 April 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Chatham House, London


Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Affey, Special Envoy on the Somali Refugee Situation, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Ilhan Omar, State Representative, Minnesota, US
Chair: Ahmed Soliman, Research Associate, Africa Programme, Chatham House



Somalia’s global refugee population is a visible reminder of the effects of decades of prolonged violence, political instability and economic challenges. One and a half million people are internally displaced in Somalia due to persistent drought and conflict, and 875,000 Somalis are registered as asylum-seekers and refugees in neighbouring East African countries and Yemen. 
Regional and international efforts have been important in protecting, accommodating and permanently resettling people fleeing Somalia. But in an era of shrinking asylum space with increased politicization and securitization of refugee policy, refugee protection and appropriate asylum mechanisms need to be upheld and expanded. Some refugee populations face a fourth decade of displacement, with dwindling international attention to resolving one of Africa’s longest running forced displacement challenges. 
At this event, the speakers will discuss efforts to ensure refugees are provided with adequate humanitarian support, protection and opportunities for asylum and resettlement. They will assess the implementation and financing of international mechanisms such as the Nairobi Plan of Action, as well as the role the Somali diaspora can play.