The African Republic of Somaliland exists 30 years!
Thirty years have gone by since the dissolution of its union with Somalia and reclamation of its sovereignty and independence.
The independence declaration of 18 May 1991 occurred after years of well documented human rights violations by the Somali state against the civilian population of Somaliland. The abuse included Illegal detentions, torture, disappearances, extrajudicial executions and ultimately ethnic cleansing and genocide.
More than 200 mass graves have been discovered and new sites are being routinely found and excavated. The decision to withdraw from the union therefore conformed with international law with respect to the right to self-determination on remedial grounds.
The reclamation of its sovereignty and independence was representative of public sentiment and enjoyed almost unanimous support from all of Somaliland’s constituencies. In fact the 2001 referendum in which 66% of eligible voters participated demonstrated the depth of feeling among the population when a resounding 97% of voters supported the revocation of the union.
Moreover the 1960 union between the two Somali states was never ratified and did not meet the required standards of the Vienna Convention on bilateral treaties.
Since 2001 Somaliland has created its own Currency and Central Bank as well as an independent judiciary and Electoral Commission.
In 2001 Somaliland established a new constitution and had the smooth and seamless transition of power of three presidents.
The last two presidential elections have been internationally observed. International and local observers have deemed and declared all of Somaliland’s elections as free and fair.
Somaliland has achieved peace, democracy and stability in a very unstable region. It has been a committed partner in the international community’s efforts to combat piracy and militant Islam.
Security in the Horn of Africa is inextricably linked to global Security. The international community has a vested self-interest in countering and containing international terrorism. Leaving Somaliland unrecognised and in a state of limbo will make the region and the world less secure.
At a turbulent and a chaotic time of extremist ideology and war with the likes of Al Shabab, ISIS and Al Qaida full international support, which entails recognition, is the only practical and viable way forward. Inaction in this regard will concede ground to the radical elements which terrorise the region.
We urge the United Kingdom and the international community to adapt and respond to the new challenges and changing dynamics in the Horn of Africa. Simply maintaining the status quo could come to haunt international community for years if not decades to come.
The current strategy which defers British foreign policy to the African Union and subjugates Somaliland under an arguably non-existent failed Somali state is counterproductive and a recipe for disaster.
We request the United Kingdom Government, the Commonwealth and members of the international community instigate a policy review on the issue Somaliland’s independence and sovereignty. We are certain such a review will grasp the will and depth of feeling of the Somaliland people and conclude there is no realistic prospect of them ever being part of the rest of Somalia.
Prevention is better than cure. We believe accepting the people of Somaliland’s right to self determination and acknowledging the irrevocable dissolution of the union will stabilise the region, avert future conflict and enhance the prospect of long term peace and stability.
We urge the international community to respect the rights of Somaliland to seek re-recognition and self-determination.