By: Rashid Nur
Somalilandsun: Many times Somalilanders get this question [Why Somaliland wants recognition?] from those who do not support Somaliland or do not know much about it.
Often times the question is posed by Somalis from Somalia who live in the Diaspora and other times by Non-Somalis. I want to answer this question hoping that (a) it will give an answer to those who are asking (b) give Somalilanders how best to answer this question and (c) define clear and basic narrative to educate those who do not know about Somaliland (d) give the International Community a Somaliland prospective; those who have not seen it (e) and finally give those who wish that Somaliland will go away a doze of reality that it is here to stay.
This question feels the people are asking; why should Somaliland exist?. I consider these two questions are basically asking the same thing; both are fundamentally questioning the identity of the Somaliland people. Both lines of questioning imply that Somaliland people need permission to have this [Somaliland] identity. The short answer to both of these questions is:
[Somaliland represents the will of its people. It represents their; identity, nationality, self-determination, freedom, liberty for the people to live in a sovereign nation, & sacrifice, and most importantly love and devotion for their country]. The following note is a detailed answer to elaborate on the above statement and what it means for the people of Somaliland to be independent nation;
1 – Identity: Somaliland is their identity and it is their name, it is who they are and it is who they have always been, and it is who they’ll always be. They do not need permission for their identity – Somaliland is who they will always be. Irrespective of whether they get external recognition or not. They are here to stay.
2 – Self-determination: Somaliland stands for self-determination (God-given right) to make a choice defining who you are or what you want to be, and exercise that right. The Somaliland people spoke in a referendum and declared their will to be an independent nation.
3 – Freedom: Somaliland represents the ultimate freedom for the people; to live in a freedom and to determine their future freely, the freedom to live in their own country, and the protection of their God given rights as well as rights given by their constitution. This freedom is the fruits of their sacrifice.
4 – Liberty: Somaliland represents the liberty and the fundamental desire to live independently and freedom from external control. It represents the sacrifice of the people to have the freedom to determine their future without external control or influence.
Somaliland is the identity and the nationality of the people who live in it and it is their self determination and God given right to choose their identity and nationality. There is a reality in the ground which provides ample evidence to anyone who needs to understand Somaliland; it includes the Constitution that states the will of the people, peace and stability achieved over the years, the successful democratic process and elections conducted for all levels of government, the government institutions built, the establishment of open society that respects the rule of law, and most importantly the love and devotion the people have for their country, their identity and desire to determine their future, and willingness to sacrifice and protect their freedom and liberty at any price; that is the reality on the ground and it is the reason Somaliland will undoubtedly succeed.
Somaliland has met all the international requirements to gain recognition for a sovereign nation such as controlling its territory and maintaining the colonial borders as required by International law. Somaliland has clearly demonstrated it can positively make contributions to the region and to the International community by playing a role of peaceful and stable nation in the Horn of Africa, establishing strong security and economic relationships with its neighbors, and working with the International community both in fighting piracy and terrorism in the region, and by providing supply routes for the United Nations to transport food to Somalia. Somaliland provides the region a much needed peace and stability, vibrant economic sector, and access to the sea.
The region is clearly much better off with stable and peaceful Somaliland as recognized nation; denying recognition for Somaliland will simply guarantee there will be a potential future conflict in the region particularly between Somaliland and Somalia. The first SNM gorilla war against Mogadisho started the downfall of the Somalia government and the people of Somaliland made a tremendous sacrifice to regain their freedom. The International community (IC) must do everything in their power to prevent future conflict in the region which could last decades more. IC can play more meaningful role in the dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia; these talks have been slow to develop and next session in Turkey is at risk of being the final one because Somalia is not prepared to discuss the difficult question of amicable dissolution of the union. The IC can influence Somalia to have those discussions with Somaliland.
Somaliland has existed twenty plus years without a recognized Somalia government to have dialogue with about dissolving the Union. It has now entered into a period where Somaliland will co-exist side by side with the Internationally recognized government of Somalia for many more decades to come. The only remaining question is; will there be a peaceful co-existence and good neighborly relationship between them or will there be a new conflict that will bring decades more hardship and chaos into the Horn of Africa. This Writers’s assertion is that without the recognition of Somaliland; it is guaranteed given the reality on the ground (discussed above) that there will be a new conflict between Somaliland and Somalia. Now is the time for the International Community to accept the reality on the ground and take a leadership role to prevent future conflict in the Horn of Africa by influencing Somalia to accept the sovereignty of Somaliland.
You can find more detailed information about Somaliland in this Somaliland web site: www.recognition.somalilandgov.com including brief history, its achievements, global support for Somaliland, legal case for recognition, and much more.
The author Rashid Nur is the Somaliland diplomatic representative in Washington DC and he can be contact through firstname.lastname@example.org or Somaliland Mission in USA