Somalia – COI

Dr Samuel A Bekalo

Email: or

Dr Samuel A Bekalo has conducted research and published widely on Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan. He has lived and worked in the region and regularly visits the area since the 1960s. He has written over 100 expert and documentation authentication reports on these countries. His scholarly reports are based on first-hand experience and benefit from his knowledge of Amharic, Oromo, Arabic, Tigrinya, and Kiswahili. In recent years, Dr Bekalo has worked as a Research Fellow at the International School of Education of the University of Leeds (UK), where he was involved in the capacity building project North-South Higher Education Institutions Link programme for Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan.

Mr Mark Bradbury

Tel: (+44) (0)1544230178 / (0)7762108044

Somalia and Somaliland

Mr Mark Bradbury is a social analyst who has worked extensively in Somalia and Somaliland since the late 1980s with a range of Somali and international humanitarian and development organizations. He has authored a book, Becoming Somaliland (2008), and a number of other publications on Somalia and Somaliland including Accord 21, a journal focused on current events and issues in Somalia.

Dr Laura Hammond

Senior Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, UK
Forced migration, diasporas, food security and conflict

Laura Hammond has conducted extensive research in areas of forced migration, diasporas, food security, and conflict. She has worked in the Horn of Africa – particularly Ethiopia and Somalia/Somaliland – for the past eighteen years, and has done consultancy for a wide range of development and humanitarian organizations, including UNDP, USAID, DfID, Oxfam, Medécins Sans Frontières, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the British Red Cross and the World Food Programme.  She is a member of the Independent Advisory Group on Country Information (IAGCI). She is also the author of This Place Will Become Home: Refugee Repatriation to Ethiopia (Cornell University Press: 2004) and several other book and journal articles.

Ms Mary Harper

Africa Editor, BBC World Service News

Ms Mary Harper is a journalist and author who has reported on Somalia and Somaliland since the early 1990s. She is the author of the books Everything You Have Told Me is True: The Many Faces of Al Shabaab (2019) and Getting Somalia Wrong? Faith, Hope and War in a Shattered State (2012). She has done consultancy on Somali issues for a wide range of organisations, and speaks regularly about Somalia at public events.

Dr Maimuna Mohamud

Tel: +974 33 464 294

Dr Maimuna Mohamud is an independent researcher with interests in refugees and migrants rights, gender and sexual-based violence, peacebuilding and access to justice. She has experience providing Country of Origin analysis, testimony and reports for asylum seekers in the UK, US and the Netherlands. Somalia and Yemen are Dr. Mohamud’s regional expertise. She recently finished her PhD at Cambridge University and has an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from Oxford University.

Mr Ben Rawlence


Mr Rawlence is a Country of Origin expert on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritea, and Somalia. He has written numerous articles on issues occuring in the region and also written two BOOKS including City of Thorns: Fear and Longing in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp (forthcoming, 2015) and Radio Congo: Signals of Hope from Africa’s Deadliest War. Mr Rawlence can speak Swahili. He supervised work on Somalia for Human Rights Watch from 2011-2013, visiting the country several times and researching abuses of the laws of war and the treatment of internally displaced persons. Since 2013 he has been working on a book about Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and have a good current understanding of the dynamics of conflict in Somalia and of rights violations there.

Dr Zaheera Jinnah (FGM/C)


Dr Zaheera Jinnah is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of Victoria, Canada, and a  research associate at the African Centre for Migration and Society, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She has a decade of experience as a  researcher in migration and refugee studies in Africa, and has published extensively in this area. Her research interests focus on Somalia, gender and FGM.

Laura Young, JD, MPH

Laura is a US-trained human rights lawyer based in Nairobi, Kenya who works across sub-Saharan Africa as a consultant on governance and human rights for USAID, the UN, governments, and international NGOs. Laura has published numerous articles and reports focused on conflict dynamics, gender, minority rights, transitional justice, migration, health, and other human rights issues in the African context. Laura has provided expert input for immigration and asylum cases in both the US and UK, focused on LGBT, FGM/C, domestic violence, trafficking, access to health services (including mental health and HIV), ex-combatants, ethnic minorities, disability access, police protection, and other key issues.

Prof Marianne Sarkis (FGM/C)


Professor Marianne Sarkis founded and continues to direct the FGM Education and Networking Project, an outreach project and information clearinghouse on FGM/C which has been in existence since 1995. Professor Sarkis’ research in Massachusetts focuses on the intersection of culture and biomedicine in women’s reproductive experiences, especially those who have resettled or emigrated from FGM/C-producing countries. Her community-based participatory research has allowed her to engage in respectful yet transformative community dialogues about the implications of abandoning FGM/C on cultural continuity and identity. She has served as a consultant for physicians, nurses, public health practitioners and ethics committees at hospitals in Florida and in Massachusetts to identify best practices in providing care to women who have undergone FGM/C. In 2010, Dr Sarkis was invited to participate at a Briefing at the NGO Relations Cluster of the Department of Public Information at the United Nations in New York City.
Dr Sarkis has provided expert testimonies on behalf of women who were either at risk of experiencing FGM/C once they returned home or persecution because they belonged to minority clans. She has extensive experience in the history and current status of clan relations in Somalia, gender roles and expectations in kinship, majority-minority clan relations, and the pressure to conform that women face at home and after resettlement. Dr Sarkis has provided testimonies on behalf of women from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Djibouti. However, her primary expertise is in Somalia, especially among the dominant and minority clans (Somali and Somali Bantus). Dr Sarkis is assistant professor of international development and social change at Clark University in Worcester, MA.

Reports, Commentaries and relevant Documents