“Peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal” Martin Luther King Junior
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – As part of commemorations of the International Day of Peace 2013, Challenges and threat factors to peace in Somaliland were the topics of discussions at a function organized jointly by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) at the University of Hargeisa and Human Concern International (HCI) held at the Imperial Hotel in Hargeisa on Saturday, 21 September, 2013
In accord that the country was enjoying peace and security while located in the most volatile region on earth Participants who were polled from the Government, Parliament, Non State actors, International organizations, Religious/Traditional and Political leaders, students and members of the public at large also urged for improved dialogue among communities which they attributed to achievements garnered so far.
On the risks facing the country from uncontrolled entry of foreigners and their subsequent unregulated employment in various sectors the director of IPCS Mr. Adan H. Ali Ahmed said that it is not only appropriate but urgently imperative for the government to effect an immediate registration of citizens and aliens alike in order to acquire a data bank of persons and their whereabouts in the country.
Speaking hypothetically the IPCS director said, “The Citizenry is currently placed in a various precarious situation through the uncontrolled infusion of foreigners who subsequently secured employment thus the possibility of either theft or even grievous bodily harm and escape only to secure employment elsewhere in the same town or different in the country and none the wiser, law enforcers or victims”
His boss and the Chancellor of Hargeisa university Dr. Abdi Hussein Gas who opinionated that the economic status of citizens especially university graduates urged the government and other stakeholders to urgently explore avenues of creating employment opportunities as a prelude to ensuring prevalent peace is sustained while curtailing the ongoing mass exodus of youth through Tahrib, Illegal immigration.
“The issue of job creation is not only imperative to sustain peace but to stem the massive brain drainage currently unfolding in the country as a result of youths embarking on Tahrib with attendant results of not only brain drain but frequent deaths in the Sahara under the hands of armed Libyans in the Sahara desert” said Dr Gaas.
Elucidating on the factors that contribute to peace the state minister for internal affairs in-charge of security Mr. Abdilahi Aden said that a stable political and economic environment must be in place plus the total securing of natural resources thence a secure community which in turn translates to peace and security.
“While the country enjoys a stable political environment, the administration is working tirelessly to establish a conducive economy as well as harnessing natural resources and at the same time in advanced stages of effecting the registration of both citizens and aliens” said the state minister Aden who also called for the establishment of the now absent technical colleges in the country thus promote employment of locally trained citizens.
Reflecting on several incidences that have occurred in various countries like Kenya and Rwanda due to media induced violence the deputy minister of information Mr. Abdiwahab Abdulqadir who commended the local media for its protection and promotion of national peace and security urged sustainability thence avoid seeing one in a situation like the one engulfing Kenyan broadcaster Arap Sang who is facing prosecution at the ICCV in the Hague after being indicted on charges relisted to violation of human rights.
Member of Guurti parliament’s upper chamber Elder Ahmed Muse Obsiye who detailed the many phases the country has passed from 1991 in pursuit of peace and security attained through dialogue from grass root levels said that similar mechanisms should be established and enforced thence end the recurring disputes in Sool region.
Other speakers among them the chair of the Somaliland Non State Actors Forum –SONSAF Mr. Mustafa Saad said peace though prevailing might be derailed especially through massive land grabbing taking place in the country which results in dispersal of former dwellers thence the massive rural to urban migration and internal displacement ongoing in the country.
Informing on the objectives of the World Peace day which is commemorated worldwide on the 21st of September Mr. Ahmed from UNDP said, In 1981, the United Nations General Assembly, by unanimous vote, adopted Resolution 36/67 establishing the International Day of Peace (IDP) which stated in part, “…to devote a specific time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States, as well as the whole of mankind, to promoting the ideals of peace and to giving positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways.” The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982 on the opening day of the General Assembly and in 2002 the UN General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent annual date for the International Day of Peace”
Other points elucidated upon include
I. Amplifying Gap Between Poor and Rich
The newly established classes of life has centered the widening gap between poor and rich, this gap has generated that the wealth families send their children to private schools for better education rather than public schools.
II. Land Ownership and lack of Energy law, Policy and Strategy
Lack of clear comprehensive land policy, energy and laws are the main challenge of plummeting social cohesion between Somaliland people.
III. Recurring Elections Which Country Cannot Afford
Somaliland elections become a real threat to our peace as the system of democracy is a novel to the people and their way of life. In every election, there is a real fear in every corner of the country because of the trend which our election has recently taken which can escalate a conflict in any moment and generate a direct violence.
IV. Economic Immigrants from Neighboring Countries:
The bulk of foreign immigrants moved from neighboring countries fueled the unemployment rate in the country. They are menace to peace as they can easily join gang and terrorist groups for economic benefit.
V. Unemployment: The Graduate Dilemma
The problem of youth unemployment is reached at the climax than ever before. Young people have limited opportunities when it comes to job markets.
VI. Social Habits: Family crises
Domestic violence, separation and destruction of families have spawned the increase of neglected young children in the streets in Hargeisa. Many end up to joining gangs; some get involved in huge criminals.
Peace cannot be achieved in a day, and this peace day recalls us the current issues that peril in our peace in order to put peace in practice through a collective, cooperative movement of unity. More importantly, successful solutions will create hope for a better future where the respect for basic human rights, social justice, peace, freedom and prosperity will sustain peaceful coexistence in our communities and in our Nation
Read the full IPCS Document