By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun – For a period of 24 years and despite fulfillment of all prerequisites of an independent Country the Somaliland quest for international recognition remains elusive.
This quest started in 1991 when Somaliland a former British protectorate withdrew from its 1960 voluntary later turned fateful union with present day Somalia a former Italian protectorate.
Its people’s desire for self-rule contrary to the clamor for union with Somali speakers in the south came about after officially sanctioned cleansing of its majority Isaac clan by the government of dictator Siyad Bare through summarily executions (Kill All But the Crows)of thousands whose aftermath continues to be unearthed by international forensic experts.
Being fully chronicled thence of no substance here, an extermination Fearful citizenry of the former British protectorate waged an independence from tyranny struggle fronted by a Ragtag band dubbed SNM that culminated in the 1991 defeat of the Somali national Army then one of the mightiest in Africa.
Courtesy of this victory and after an all encompassing consultative conference of 1991,, involving all clans in Burao town a unanimous decision to reclaim the sovereignty of Somaliland in line with its British demarcated boundaries.
The evolution of Somaliland from a once independent country recognized by the United Nations turned a region in the now defunct republic of Somalia and to a fully fledged nation was a tedious and internationally unsupported journey that culminated in the 2001 referendum that saw 97% vote for permanent withdrawal from the union of 1960 with Italian Somalia.
While all the relevant apparatus of a functioning country are in place in addition to the irrevocability of their sovereignty oft reiterated by Somalilanders the international community remains obstinate in calling a spade a spade thence recognize Somaliland as a sovereignty country. Though the IC is never at a loss of words in praising Somaliland and somalilanders for one achievement or another even to the extent of creating dual track policies for engaging separately with Somalia and Somaliland its defiance in availing recognition is an apparent bid to ensure its determination to resurrect the defunct and never again to be Greater Republic of Somalia.
While myriads of paradigms pertaining to the Deaf Ear and Blind Eye accorded the Somaliland quest for recognition by the International community abound a Corporate report titled Somalia – in-year update July 2015 released by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office is suffice proof of the double starts the country has to endure.
The report which is specific to human rights issues in Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland clearly reveals the bias maintained by the so called masters in the International community towards Somalilanders.
On the portion related to Human rights issues in Somaliland the report reads
Quote- On 24 January, the Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) condemned the re-suspension of HUBAAL Media Group. Local media contends that nearly 20 journalists have been arbitrarily detained by Somaliland authorities over the last two years. The UK is considering how we can promote better relations between Somaliland authorities and local media.
Somaliland executed six convicted murderers by firing squad on 13 April, ending a de facto moratorium on the death penalty, thought to have held since 1991. The EU condemned the move, and the UK raised concerns directly with the Somaliland administration. There have been no further executions. Somaliland authorities, on April 18, detained Gullied Ahmed Jama, chair of the Human Rights Centre, seemingly for criticizing the executions. He was released on 6 May, though the charges against him were not dropped. The UK, and the international community, continues to monitor his case closely.-Unquote
Hereby the report castigates Somaliland for
1. Execution of convicted murderers that seems to have stopped, seemingly as a result of IC condemnations.
2. Suspension of Hubaal Newspaper and
3. Arrest of Rights activist Gullied Ahmed of whom the UK, and the international community, continue to monitor his case closely
What the report fails to reveal is that the execution of the six convicted murderers was undertaken as per the laws of Somaliland thus not illegal while the suspension of Hubaal Newspaper was lifted on the 10th May 2015 which is more than a month before the report in question.
As for the Arrest of Rights activist Gullied Ahmed Jama whose case the international community, purports to continue monitoring closely, what the UK report failed or belatedly omitted from revealing is that he was released unconditional on the 6th May 2015 after investigations were competed and remains free to date thence the dubiously alleged “monitoring closely”
The irony of the above three cases given prominence by the report is that they were all undertaken pursuant to Somaliland’s Constitutional and legal stipulations while not foregting that Guurti the Somaliland upper chamber of parliament not only stated that “The government of Somaliland has the mandate to fulfill court imposed death sentences but also castigated some international bodies that condemned the recent executions in the country.
Guurti Elders were in their turn condemning the condemnation of the six executions issued by the EU on 15th April 2015 stating that “The Heads of Mission of the European Union and Member States condemn in the strongest terms the carrying-out of six death sentences by the Somaliland authorities at the Mandera maximum-security complex after a long de facto moratorium”.
As for Somalia a take on few sections of the report on the Human rights status in that country read
Quote- the UK has engaged with the new Minister of Women & Human Rights Development to urge progress on key human rights instruments, such as the human rights road map and the Human Rights Commission. Somalia’s nascent human rights institutions were dealt a major blow on 27 March when their Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council was killed by Al-Shabaab. The humanitarian situation in Somalia remains of concern, with reports of deaths due to famine in the south-west. This is exacerbated by Al-Shabaab blockades and ambushes on food convoys. DFID will provide £40 million of humanitarian support in 2015.
On Fourth Estate status
Quote – The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) released their report on the state of press freedom in Somalia on 13 January. It reports the murder of five media workers in 2014, with seven journalists injured, 47 journalists arrested and five media houses attacked. Media outlets, such as Radio Risaala and Radio Goobjoog, continue to face official sanction. Staff of the Shabelle Media Network has also been subject to delays in trials, raids, and equipment seizures by the security services. On 30 April, Al-Shabaab killed Daud Ali Omar, a Radio Baidoa reporter, along with his wife and a neighbour. In January, Reine Alapini-Gansou, of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), participated in a Mogadishu conference involving human rights defenders from across Somalia, as well as ministers, officials and the international community.
On Executions in Somalia
Quote- Amnesty International’s annual report on the Death Penalty identifies at least 14 executions carried out in Somalia in 2014, with many other death sentences handed down. On 2 March, two soldiers were sentenced to death, by court martial, for the murder of civilians. On 6 April, a Mogadishu military court handed down death sentences to Shu’ayb Ibrahim Mahdi, 27, and Farah Ali Abdi, 30. Both were given a month to lodge appeals against the verdict, but it was further reported, on 13 May, that they had been executed. It was reported that Siraj Abdullahi Umar, a member of Al-Shabaab, was executed by firing squad on 19 May. Two Somali National Army soldiers were sentenced to death on 16 June; Muhammad Abdullahi Muhammad had been convicted of killing a government soldier, and Aydiid Farah Sheikh Ahmad Kadare of killing two civilians. The UK continues to work to improve the operations of Somalia’s courts, while maintaining our firm opposition to the death penalty. Al-Shabaab continues to execute civilians throughout Somalia-Unquote
Proof from the report that the IC is biased towards Somaliland and its people’s aspiration for independence while overtly revealing its inclinations for the war torn and dysfunctional Somalia is evident for all as per comparisons of issues made herein
For example the IC which showed its alleged abhorrence to the Executions of the six convicted murderers in Somaliland which it condemned vehemently while those in Somalia numbering over 20 “The UK continues to work to improve the operations of Somalia’s courts, while maintaining our firm opposition to the death penalty”
As for the media in Somaliland “The UK is CONSIDERING how we can promote better relations between Somaliland authorities and local media” but for the 2014
• murder of five media workers
• seven journalists injured,
• 47 arrested and
• Five media houses attacked.
The report proudly informs that “In January, Reine Alapini-Gansou, of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), participated in a Mogadishu CONFERENCE involving human rights defenders from across Somalia, as well as ministers, officials and the international community.
Though the tale is taller than here revealed the other gimmick utilized by the IC to covertly muzzle the Somaliland quest for recognition as an independent country is the disputed territory with Puntland in which the administrative region of Somalia lays claim to areas within Somaliland binderies not to mention that the boundaries were demarcated a century ago by Britain which ironically prefers to keep silent rather than intervene with factual information in order to dissipate the alleged dispute.
In line with Puntland and in pursuit of maintaining its status quos as the ACHILE Tendon to Somaliland’s image globally thus constrain and dent advances towards recognition the UK report in disregard of the very many human rights abuses perpetrated by authorities in Garowe had nothing but a one paragraphed praises
Quote- On 12 March, an independent Human Rights Defenders’ office was established in Puntland; it aims to defend basic rights, and monitor and investigate human rights practices. Reports, on 15 February, that a military court in Puntland handed down death sentences to our alleged Al-Shabaab members, are concerning-Unquote
Shine or Rain the fact is, there are two Somalias, like two brothers in an allegory, contradictory temperaments and while Everyone is aware of war-torn Somalia, where gangs of young men ride round in 4x4s eagerly machine-gunning one another. Few are aware of its good twin, Somaliland, peaceful, law-abiding, a country with taxes, traffic lights and even tourists.
And though the international community hasn’t or refuses to recognize “this would-be nation-state” since it claimed independence from Somalia to its south in 1991 its boisterous and welcoming Citizens don’t let global politics get them down, because their sun-blasted country is reinventing itself with or without international recognition
With the International Community maneuvering covertly thus deny Somaliland its rightful place as a bonafide member of the United Nations Organization while propping up an Al-Shabaab infested administration in war torn Somali the main question is WHO IS FOOLING WHO for with or WITHOUT international recognition Somaliland has, is and shall be.