The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) dismisses as highly flawed, a research report on Somali perspectives on AMISOM published by the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) titled ‘They Say They Are Not Here To Protect Us’, published on 31 May 2017.
AMISOM remains accountable in the execution of its mandate in Somalia and at all times strives to comply with its obligations under International Humanitarian Law, International Human Rights Law and all other applicable international Conventions and Instruments. Whilst the Mission welcomes constructive criticism, it takes exception to propaganda disguised as research, whose main aim is to perpetuate misinformation and entrench the misbelief that AMISOM has done more harm than good to the people of Somalia.
It is disturbing that without empirical evidence, the IRRI went ahead and published a highly flawed study, without considering the implications of such a poorly researched report. It is equally worrying that the writers of the report have a clear anti-AMISOM agenda in the way they conceived the report without the requisite ethical requirement of seeking the AMISOM side of the story. IRRI states that on the 8 May 2016 and on the 25 and 26 July 2016, it respectively requested meetings and wrote to AMISOM leadership to present “a summary of findings and requesting a response”. Yet in the body of the report itself, it states that “the report draws on 62 interviews with Somali civilians. IRRI interviewed 34 individuals in Mogadishu (including with persons displaced from other areas) in July, September, October and November 2016 and 11 people in Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya in August 2016”. It begs the question: if the interviews, which form the basis of the report, were conducted in July, August, September, October and November 2016, what findings did IRRI claim it sought to bring to AMISOM leadership attention in May 2016? It is clear that the IRRI neither made any efforts to contact AMISOM leadership by phone or in writing nor visit the Mission headquarter in Mogadishu.
IRRI then proceeded to use non-scientific sample size of only 64 people out of a population of 11 million, to determine the outcome of its report. For instance, in Mogadishu, with an estimated population of over 1 million people, only thirty-four (34) people were allegedly interviewed, while in Belet Weyne and Kismayo; the administrative capitals of Hiiraan and Jubbaland regions, only three (3) civilians were interviewed.
The researchers, who relied mostly on secondary data to compile their report, admit that they did not independently verify most of the information used in the study, yet they proceeded to draw conclusions from such flawed information, including regurgitating the 2014 allegations published by the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the vast majority of which were found to be baseless. Quality research comes with fidelity to objectivity, intellectual hard work and commitment. The IRRI report clearly failed these tests.
It is important to note that reviews of the AU Mission in Somalia are conducted regularly by relevant bodies mandated by the African Union and the United Nations Security Council and whose outcome is in the public domain. These reviews are candid about the challenges and successes in AMISOM.
We therefore urge the public to ignore the flawed research by IRRI and advise them to consult more professionally conducted research.