Responses to Information Requests

​Responses to Information Requests (RIRs) are research reports on country conditions. They are requested by IRB decision-​makers.

The database contains a seven-year archive of English and French RIRs. Earlier RIRs may be found on the European Country of Origin Information Network website.

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Responses to Information Requests (RIRs) cite publicly accessible information available at the time of publication and within time constraints. A list of references and additional sources consulted are included in each RIR. Sources cited are considered the most current information available as of the date of the RIR.       

RIRs are not, and do not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Rather, they are intended to support the refugee determination process. More information on the methodology used by the Research Directorate can be found here.     

The assessment and weight to be given to the information in the RIRs are the responsibility of independent IRB members (decision-makers) after considering the evidence and arguments presented by the parties.      

The information presented in RIRs solely reflects the views and perspectives of the sources cited and does not necessarily reflect the position of the IRB or the Government of Canada.     

24 August 2016


Somalia: Information on the Arab Salah ethnic group, including location, clan lineage and affiliation, including whether the clan is a minority (2014-July 2016)

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

Information on the Arab Salah ethnic group was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

According to a 2014 report by Saferworld [1] and the Puntland Non-State Actors' Association (PUNSAA) [2], the Arab Salah [also called Arab Salax, Arab Saleh, Meheri, Mehri] ethnic group is a sub-clan of the non-Harti Darod [Darood, Daroud, Daarood] (Saferworld and PUNSAA Apr. 2014, 2-3). The same source indicates that Puntland is "predominantly inhabited" by Harti-Darod sub-clans and non-Harti Darod sub-clans, such as the Arab Salah (ibid.). US-based Somali news website Somalia Report indicates that there is an Arab Salah population in Galmudug, a regional state in central Somalia [bordering Puntland] (19 Apr. 2012). Similarly, in correspondence with the Research Directorate, a Doctoral candidate at Oxford University who studies Somali history, state, and society, and has conducted fieldwork in Somalia, stated that the Arab Salah are associated with the Darod clan (31 July 2016). However, in correspondence with the Research Directorate, a researcher from Minority Rights Group International (MRG) who works on Somalia stated that Arab Salah is considered to be a "minority" group by the MRG (18 Aug. 2016). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

A 2010 report by MRG indicates that, politically, the Arab Salah are allocated two parliamentary seats for minorities under a "clan-based power-sharing system … [that] equalized representation of the four majority clans, and gave to the minorities overall roughly half the number of seats assigned to each of the majority clan-families" (MRG Oct. 2010, 14-15, 34-35).

According to the Doctoral candidate, the Arab Salah "mainly pursue trade" as an occupation and they "complain [of] marginalisation within the Majeerteen-dominated mini-state [of] Puntland" (ibid.). Further and corroborating information on the situation and treatment of Arab Salah clan members could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


[1] Saferworld is a "politically independent research organization" that conducts progammes and policy development on conflict prevention (n.d.).

[2] The PUNSAA is a non-political, non-profit network of "NGOs, community-based organizations, business associations, and different categories of professionals, such as teachers, lawyers, and doctors," that was established with the assistance of the EU and organized to "advocate for and coordinate the interests and the voice of Puntland civil society" (PUNSAA n.d.).


Doctoral Candidate, Oxford University. 31 July 2016. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Minority Rights Group International (MRG). 18 August 2016. Correspondence from a researcher to the Research Directorate.

Minority Rights Group International (MRG). October 2010. No Redress: Somalia's Forgotten Minorities. By Martin Hill. [Accessed 26 July 2016]

Puntland Non-State Actors' Association (PUNSAA). N.d. "Background." [Accessed 22 Aug. 2016]

Saferworld. N.d. "Our History." [Accessed 22 Aug. 2016]

Saferworld and Puntland Non-State Actors' Association (PUNSAA). April 2014. Puntland at the Polls. [Accessed 18 Aug. 2016]

Somalia Report. 19 April 2012. "Website Profiles Somalia's Galmudug Administration." (Factiva)

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Associate Professor of history, University of Pennsylvania; Center for Research and Dialogue Somalia; Human Rights Watch; IIDA (Women’s Development Organization); Independent Researcher on Somalia; Professor of anthropology, Colby College; Professor of history, Rutgers University; Professor of political science, Davidson College; Professor of political science, Northwestern University; Senior Lecturer in development studies, University of London; Saferworld.

Internet sites, including: Africa Confidential; Amnesty International; Anti-Tribalism Movement; BBC;; Factiva; Freedom House; Garowe Online; Hiiraan Online; Human Rights Watch; Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre; Institute for War and Peace Reporting; IRIN;; Puntland News24; Puntland Post; Radio Banadir; Radio France internationale; RaxanaReeb; Shabelle Media Network; Somaliland Press; Somaliland Times;; United Nations – Refworld, Reliefweb, UNDP; United States – Department of State.