19 May 2007 04:26


  • Posted by/on:[AAJ][26 Aug 2000]

Opinions expressed in this column are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of SW.




Friday August 25th, 2000       Ref. SF/EC-018-2000


During the next few weeks, the world will hear that the Republic of Djibouti has manufactured a government in exile for Somalia. The propaganda for this has already started and there is talk that this will solve the "problem of Somalia". But which Somalia is this aimed at? Obviously not for the Republic of Somaliland, nor for the people of Somaliland!

The so-called Somali Democratic Republic, which was based on the union of two free states, the former British Somaliland and the former Italian Somalia disintegrated in 1991 after a lengthy civil war.  Like other unions of states which have not worked, the state of the Republic of Somaliland has reclaimed its sovereignty in 1991 and, without any international support, re-built a peaceful and functioning democracy. "But Somaliland is not the first African country which reclaimed its sovereignty from an unworkable union, as countries such as Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissua have done it before," said Amina-Malko Jama, the chair of the Somaliland Forum. However, "this African success story of Somaliland has not been acknowledged", she continued to say, "whilst billions of dollars have been spent on reinventing a new government for 'Somalia' - a state that no longer exists."

Somaliland has lived with the benign neglect of the UN and the international community, since 1991.  But the Republic of Djibouti, the former French Somaliland, which on its independence from France in 1977, chose to remain as a sovereign state rather than joining the failing union of Somali states, is soon to announce that it has manufactured a new exile government for the two Somali states. Djibouti will be asking the international community to help legitimise this government in exile by repatriating it to a seat (Baidoa), that is nearly two hundred miles away from the former Somalia Capital of Mogadishu. And this only proves to show that the writ of this government will not even extend beyond this site, let alone the rest of Somalia (ex-Italian Somalia).

The Djibouti initiative has been sold to the world as being different from the other failed twelve preceding Somalia peace initiatives, in that it involves the Somali civil society. Djibouti is deliberately forgetting that the civil society in Somaliland has already spoken and exercised its absolute rights as guaranteed to us by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as proclaimed in the Charter of the UN. 

Somaliland will soon hold a national referendum for the public to approve the Constitution. Political parties are being formed and popular elections of local councils, parliament and the president will be held within the next two years. In contrast, the so-called transitional assembly for Somalia formed in Djibouti has been nominated by individuals selectively invited to Djibouti, including many former high-ranking officials and officers of the ruthless dictator, Siad Barre, like the notorious war criminals, Generals Gani and Morgan and many other despicable characters.

 As is the practice of many countries, states and not governments are extended recognition, for that reason, we do not expect any declarations in respect of this Djibouti exile government. Therefore:

  •  We impress on the international community that the Pre-1991 state of the Somali Democratic Republic no longer exists and cannot be re-formed because the union of its composite states has been dissolved.

  •  We urge all countries to refrain from doing anything that can be construed as supporting the claim of the Djibouti manufactured government to assume the role of the defunct state.

  •  We warn against every one in the international community not to fall for any fake imitations of the defunct Somali union, as the Republic of Somaliland regained its sovereignty and fulfils all the criteria of statehood as set out in article 1 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States.  Somaliland has a permanent population; a defined territory (the former British Somaliland) with clear international boundaries of which it has an effective control; a democratic government; and a capacity to enter into relations with other states.  Although they have not been applied outside Europe, Somaliland even meets all the guidelines for recognition of new states set out by the European Community in 1992.

  •  We emphasise that the case of Somaliland is not one of secession from another state, and neither is the OAU principle of the non-disturbance of colonial boundaries applicable as the boundaries of Somaliland are internationally delineated and are of colonial origins.

  •  We remind the world that the people of Somaliland have determined their destiny and are asking for an acceptance of their right to self-determination, which, in this particular case, does not in any way affect the territorial integrity of any other state.

  •  We stress, again, and in particular to our African brethren, that because of the above-mentioned reasons, the existence of the Republic of Somaliland will not set any precedent for the break-up of states. On the contrary, it will enhance peace in the Horn of Africa region as it marks the end of Somali irredentism.

The Chairperson of the Somaliland Forum, Amina-Malko Omer Jama adds: "Yet again, whilst the world will understandably, be pre-occupied with the war torn Somalia, the needs of the peaceful state and people of the Republic of Somaliland will be neglected. This cannot continue, and while the details of full recognition of the Somaliland State is still being worked out, immediate arrangements ought to be made which can allow Somaliland access to international banking, direct aid, postal links etc.

The international community must acknowledge the existence of this country and, once and for all, delineate the two Somali polities for the greater good of the international security and human rights. The Somaliland people have achieved much on their own with little fanfare and must not be overlooked again."



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