Victim Assistance

Last updated: 21 October 2018

Victim assistance action points

  • Integrate victim assistance within arising disability frameworks.
  • Support needs assessment surveys to target assistance that has limited resources.
  • Map existing resources and services, identify the gaps and propose solutions.

Victim assistance planning and coordination[1]

Government focal point

Somalia Explosive Management Authority (SEMA)

Coordination mechanisms


Coordination regularity/frequency and outcomes/effectiveness

No Victim assistance meetings were held


The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) held a multi-stakeholder meeting on persons with disabilities in December 2017[2]

Emergency sector integration

UNSOM Human Rights Cluster Disability Team Focal Point[3]


None: The Somali National Mine Action Strategy 2018–2020, the “Badbaado Plan” does not include victim assistance

Disability sector integration


No formal integration. In June 2018, the government of Somalia established the National Disability Agency and planned to enact a national disability bill to align with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which Somalia has signed but not yet deposited

Survivor inclusion and participation

None reported

Reporting (Article 7 and statements)

Somalia submitted victim assistance information in Form J of its Article 7 Report for calendar year 2017 and a representative of SEMA made a statement on victim assistance during the 16th Meeting of States Parties in December 2017


International commitments and obligations

Somalia has significant numbers of mine/ERW survivors and needs, and is responsible for cluster munition victims

The Total number of survivors is not known. The Monitor has recorded 1,606 people injured by mines/explosive remnants of war (ERW) in the period 1999–2017. In 2014, SOCBAL surveyed 850 mine/ERW survivors in Mogadishu alone. In 2001, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) reported 1,731 injured mine/ERW casualties were recorded in Bayand Bakool regions (2,626 people killed) between 1995 and 2000[4]

Mine Ban Treaty


Convention on Cluster Munitions


Convention on Convention Weapons (CCW) Protocol V

Not party

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Signed 2 October 2018


Laws and policies

In June 2018, the Council of Ministers approved a bill to establish the National Agency for Persons with Disabilities in Somalia. The bill was presented before the Cabinet by the Ministry of Women and Human Rights.[5] In January 2018, disabled people’s organization (DPO) Institute of Education and Professional Development (Instituto de Educação e Desenvolvimento Profissional, IEDP), which has also been engaged in victim assistance, sent out a press release expressing concern that the process of establishing a commission was biased.[6]

The draft federal constitution protects the rights of persons with disabilities but does not guarantee access to buildings, information, or communications.[7] At the July 2018 Global Disability Summit in London, Somalia committed to the development and passage of a “National Disability Bill” and a national disability policy to implement same and make buildings and education more inclusive.[8] A network of DPOs in Somalia held a Victim Assistance Day commemoration on 4 April 2016 to make a complaint against a lack of support and cooperation with service provider institutions operated in the country by UNMAS and Somali government.[9]

Overall, persons with disabilities are among the most vulnerable and are at risk of social exclusion in Somalia. Poverty and social exclusion are interlinked, with a lack of employment being the major cause of poverty. Efforts have been made in the Somali government to improve the employment participation rate but significant obstacles to gaining, and retaining, employment remained. Access to education and to vocational training, limited availability of housing, assistive technology, and accessible transport are still lacking.[10]

Major Developments in 2017–2018

The Somalia Explosive Management Authority took over management of the International Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database and the reporting of casualties from UNMAS.[11] The ongoing conflict with the non-state armed group Al Shabaab and persistent drought continued to make humanitarian access and needs important in Somalia, with many basic services unavailable in much of the country.[12]

In 2018, UNMAS created a victim assistance consultancy post in Mogadishu to conduct a victim assistance situational analysis within the disability assistance program at the policy and implementation levels. The role was intended to engage with the key disability/victim assistant stakeholders, map existing resources and services, identify the gaps, and propose solutions.

Needs assessment

SEMA proposed to conduct national surveys of landmine victims to determine the numbers of victims and their needs and requested, but not received, international support for the survey.[13] The Southwest Mine Action Consortium (SOWMAC) led needs assessments in its catchment area and identified multiple areas for intervention, including basic needs of shelter and healthcare, as well as economic-integration activities, provision of assistive devices, and educational opportunities for children of survivors.[14]

Medical care and rehabilitation

Medical care in Somalia is supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which supports emergency surgical services at two hospitals in Mogadishu and hospitals in Baidoa and Kismayo. The Somali Red Crescent Society remains the primary provider of rehabilitation services and assistive devices, but the range is limited with no such services available in the southwest of the country.[15] Psychological support remains a lacking in Somalia.[16]

Socio-economic and psychosocial inclusion

No improvement is reported in the provision of socio-economic support or in the social inclusion of survivors in Somalia.[17] The government of Somalia committed to establishing vocational training centers for persons with disabilities to provide entrepreneurial skills and workforce development. Those efforts would be aligned with policies and programs to expand access to credit for micro-enterprises and targeted support for small business creation.[18]


Women with disabilities continue to be vulnerable to sexual violence and forced marriage. The government of Somalia proposed to focus on women and girls in their efforts to support persons with disabilities to address the double stigma of gender and disability in Somalia.[19] The Somalia Disability Empowerment Network (SODEN) supported a survey of educational accessibility in Mogadishu.[20]

Victim assistance providers and activities

Name of organization

Type of activity


Somalia Explosive Management Authority (SEMA)

Casualty data; victim assistance focal point

Southwest Mine Action Consortium

Local NGO, activities unknown

National Disability Agency

Coordination, policy development


Somali Red Crescent Society

Rehabilitation services, assistive devices


Vocational training, promoting formal education for children with disabilities, income-generation for women with disabilities

Somali Disability Empowerment Network (SODEN)

Awareness raising, advocacy



Emergency medical care


[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form J; statement of SEMA, Mine Ban Treaty 16 Meeting of States Parties, Vienna, December 2017; and Somalia Ministry of Women and Human Rights, Form for Submitting Commitments, Global Disability Summit 2018.

[3] Ibid.

[4] UNDP/UNOPS, “Somalia Mine Action Progress Report, January–June 2001,” p. 6; Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 261–262.

[6] IEDP, Press release, “Complain for Corruption Against the National Human Right Commission Election,” 1 January 2018.

[7] United States Department,of State, “Human Rights Report 2017, Somalia,” undated.

[8] Somalia Ministry of Women and Human Rights, Form for Submitting Commitments, Global Disability Summit 2018.

[9]International Victim Assistance Day 2016 Somalia,” Somali Online Media, 6 April 2016.

[10] Mohamed Farah, “Disability and Social Exclusion in Somalia,” SODEN, undated.

[11] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form J.

[12] ICRC, “Annual Report 2017, Somalia,” undated.

[13] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form J; and statement of Somalia, Session on Mine Victim Assistance, Mine Ban Treaty 16th Meeting of States Parties, December 2017.

[14] Response to Landmine Monitor Questionnaire by Mohamed Mohamud, Executive Director, SOWMAC, 21 May 2018.

[15] ICRC, “Somalia: Encouraged by colleagues, a woman heads Mogadishu rehab centre.” 7 March 2017; and Response to Landmine Monitor Questionnaire by Hussein Diad Mohamed, Project Manager, SOWMAC, 14 May 2018.

[16] US State Department, “Human Rights Report 2017, Somalia,” undated.

[17] Response to Landmine Monitor Questionnaire by Mohamed Mohamud, SOWMAC, 21 May 2018.

[18] Somalia Ministry of Women and Human Rights, Form for Submitting Commitments, Global Disability Summit 2018.

[19] US State Department, “Human Rights Report 2017, Somalia,” undated; Somalia Ministry of Women and Human Rights, Form for Submitting Commitments, Global Disability Summit 2018.