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Somaliland Representative’s Statement To The Conference On Opening The World Order To De Facto States
Statement to the Conference on Opening the World Order to de facto States, Limits and Potentialities of the de facto States in the International Context, 15 May 2008, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium.
First of all, I would like to congratulate members of the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), Nonviolent Radical Party, the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and the Secretariat of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) for their great efforts to organize this important conference. As representative of Somaliland, I have the privilege to convey to the distinguished delegates greetings from H.E. Mr. Riyale Kahin, President of the Republic of Somaliland. Though unable to come due to exigency of service, the Foreign Minister, Mr. Abdillahi Duale wishes also successful deliberations for the conference.
Secondly, my statement will in summary deal with two parts; the situation in Somaliland and her search for diplomatic recognition and observations on how the conference will contribute to de facto states by way of developing their potentialities and enhancing their rights and obligations under international law.
Somaliland ’s foreign policy priorities are the preservation of her independence, security and pursuit of sustainable development. She seeks diplomatic recognition from the international community to strengthen her security and stability. Similar to other countries, security needs are basic needs of Somaliland. As Somaliland, an oasis of tranquility, is situated in one of the most harassed regions in the world, destabilization and terrorism are serious challenges for her. Her recognition will therefore strengthen her rights and obligations and can bring about benefits of membership of the international community including her access to bilateral and multilateral cooperation to combat poverty and underdevelopment.
Somaliland and her hardworking people have established a reputation for remarkable achievements within a space of a decade and half. She has gained a reputation for reconciliation, peace, stability, moderation and democracy. She recovered from utter devastation of the civil war (1981-1991) with Somalia, little known by the outside world. Following the disintegration of the former Somali Republic, Somaliland community elders and political leaders revoked the 1960 Act of Union with Somalia in 1991.
Subsequently, over the years her government and people have put in place democratic structures, based on the rule of law, good governance institutions and all other necessary paraphernalia for statehood to accelerate her social and economic development. She has home grown market economy in which the private sector plays an important role for employment. Since that time, the standard of living of the population improved. Education and health facilities are expanded as well as supply of clean and safe water to all urban and most rural areas in the country. Thousands of displaced persons and refugees returned also voluntarily to Somaliland.
At present, Somaliland fulfils all the objective criteria for Statehood including the capacity to enter into relations with other states. International law affirms that the ability of a state to enter into relations with other states is a function of its independent policy. Somaliland has this capacity as an effective entity and has agreements of cooperation with a number of countries and organizations in Africa, Europe and North America.
Over and above these, in her existence as de facto independent country, Somaliland has a legitimate claim to recognition de jure under the principle of the right to self-determination and international law. The principle of the right to self-determination codified in the Charter of the United Nations and in other international instruments all confirm that peoples have inalienable right to self-determination.
In Africa, the principle of the right to self-determination has been carried out in two ways: through the application of the UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) of 1960 on Decolonization and in Failed Unions. In this case the principle of uti possidetis has been applied in the abrogation and dissolution of a number of voluntary post-independence unions. This principle upholds respect for borders inherited from colonial administrations. Cases of dissolved unions include, among others:
United Arab Republic ( Egypt-Syria, 1958-1961 )
Mali Federation (Mali-Senegal, 1960)
Senegambia (Senegal- Gambia, 1982- 1989)
Somaliland, a former British territory, voluntarily merged with Somalia, a former Italian territory in 1960 following their independence from Great Britain and Italy and formed the now defunct Somali Republic. Somaliland’s present declaration of independence is based on her earlier existence as a recognized separate state prior to her merger with Somalia. Her borders are demarcated. She accepts the sanctity of colonially inherited boundaries in conformity with African Union Charter which upholds respect of borders existing at the time of independence by African countries. The people of Somaliland and many others in the international community strongly believe that diplomatic recognition of Somaliland must be based on these precedents in international law.
International support for Somaliland’s recognition as an independent state is increasing.. In 2005, the African Union sent a Fact-Finding Mission to Somaliland which submitted favorable recommendations in its report, drawing the attention of African governments and the international community to the unique situation of this country and its self-justified claim to independence and freedom. The Congress of the European Liberal Democrat Reform Party, the third largest political party in the EU Parliament unanimously adopted recently a resolution calling on the EU and other states to give recognition to Somaliland. Many other international non-governmental organizations including the Crisis Group, UNPO, the Independent Diplomat Organization, Ex-Presidents, academics, celebrities and other prominent personalities the world over continue to express concern and call for the diplomatic recognition of Somaliland and for which we are most grateful.
With regard to purposes of the conference which is “to create and sustain permanent mechanisms of involvement and consultation of unrecognized state entities in the international community”, it is relevant to say that this is a positive development and positive interpretation of international law as it would enhance international cooperation and integrate de fact states into main stream of the international community. But such envisioned arrangement should not compromise those who aspire to political independence.
The conference must do away with isolation and treatment of de facto states as pariah states and support instead the success of those states who become capable of re-inventing and modernizing their societies to develop the potentialities of their citizens.
Under what framework would these consultations be implemented?
Such consultation and involvement as mentioned above could enhance international cooperation and the right to development as enshrined in the UN Charter principles and in the Declaration on the Right to Development adopted by the General Assembly in 1966 by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in the development of their society.
Due to their status, de fact states’ capabilities are limited. Although Somaliland has great potentialities in terms of natural and human resources, she continues to encounter many difficulties; in international banking, international insurance companies, civil aviation cooperation, technical transfer cooperation, lack of development aid from the international community, denial of visas for government officials. All these practices are contrary to the spirit of international cooperation which we hope will soon be lifted.
In conclusion, how to enable participation of these states in activities of international organizations in the United Nations, European Union institutions and regional bodies is important. Their role as observers and participants in various technical committees in these organizations could contribute to the social and economic development of populations of de facto states.
Mohamoud Abdi Daar