Somaliland Genocide 1988 Canadian TV CBS

 

Publicerades den 19 jul 2014

Waa barnaamij uu TV-ga CBS ee Canada sii daayey 7-dii October 1992, oo ka hadlaya uu dambiyadii Somalia ka gaystay taliyaha cusub ee booliiska Somalia General Maxamed Xasan ismaaciil Faarax. Source: CBS Canada

 

©Somaliland1991

Daawo Video Sahra Halgan Iyo Boqashadi Somaliland Lifemakers

 

©Somaliland1991

nterview With Robert Wiren, Author Of “Somaliland Quarantined Country”

 

Christophe Boisbouvier

Somaliland is there a ghost state? Since the civil war of 1991, this country of four million people separated from Somalia, said its total independence and managed to protect the Shabaab Islamists. But despite his success, he is not recognized by any other state. Why the stigma? French journalist Robert Wiren published by Karthala Somaliland quarantined country. He is the guest of RFI.

RFI: Your colleague Gérard Prunier called Somaliland “the country that does not exist.”, You prefer to call it “the country in quarantine.” What for?

Robert Wiren: It does not exist in the eyes of some international diplomats are apparently blinded, but it actually exists. And when I say it is “quarantined”, that is to say, it is away from the international community, it is not recognized, it does not have access to a number aid international banks. But despite this weakness, it was able by itself to resolve its internal problems and to build a relatively peaceful state.

Somaliland is some four million inhabitants on a territory of Eritrea, some 135,000 square kilometers. And thanks to the breeding and its port of Berbera on the Gulf of Aden is an economy that works without international help?

Yes I do. The export of live cattle to the Arabian Peninsula is the main market. Now, the other aspect is that it has an active diaspora in Dubai for example, in the United Kingdom.

Then the port of Berbera captures 20% of foreign trade of Ethiopia?

Yes, Ethiopians obviously have an interest in other ports as Djibouti has acquired a kind of monopoly in the wake of the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. So the port of Berbera is a deepwater port that interests the Bolloré Group, which negotiations for some time with the Somaliland authorities, the problem is probably the non-recognition of that country which poses problems for insurance boats, which pay more when they dock in Berbera if they went to Djibouti.

In 1960 after the departure of the British colonialists, Somaliland has been independent for five days before joining the former Italian Somalia in Somali Republic. And that means today Somaliland is back its independence. But the African Union opposes. What for?

Africans in general do not like what they call secession because it is true that many African countries are fragile, multiethnic. In the case of Somaliland, in fact the word secession is not just because you could say that there was a union between two independent entities. The union did not work and they take their marbles.

In Africa, Somaliland has many opponents to their independence project, starting with their Somali brethren in Mogadishu course who want to rebuild Somalia Siad Barre time, but also Egypt. What for?

Egypt has always feared that Ethiopia becomes too strong and may eventually block the Nile.And Egypt has always sought to create a power to weight against Ethiopia. So Egypt continues to try to promote a new unified Somali Republic. All this is a bit of geopolitics shortsighted apparently.

What is less known is that in addition to Ethiopia, Somaliland has few friends on the African continent as the Malian Konaré. In 2005 when he chaired the Commission of the African Union, he asked the Rwandan diplomats Patrick Mazimpaka conduct a mission in Hargeisa. A mission that has a favorable self report of Somaliland?

Yes indeed. The mission recognized that there was a problem that was unique to recognize Somaliland and was not equivalent to open doors for secession in Africa.

It does not open a Pandora’s box, says Patrick Mazimpaka?

That’s it. Note that in the Horn of Africa, that is to say in the same region, there were two secessions Eritrea and South Sudan, so we see that the argument is a bit biased . Regarding favorable people within the African Union, you Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa. So they favor without going through not to create divisions within the African Union.

There are eighteen months, for the first time in twenty years, a Somali government in Mogadishu has been recognized by the United States, is that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud. If one day the Shabaab are defeated in southern Somalia, is that both Somaliland could not reunite?

Yes, we could imagine. There is a debate that could have taken place and which had been initiated by some scholars of Somalia, the building block process [process of gradual building] was let regions begin to administer independently develop; gradually, they can come together and create such a federation. But here, we do the opposite, as in Mogadishu you have people who are for centralization, in fact there is no risk of having a unit on these bases.

Interview by Christophe Boisbouvier

This interview was originally written in French, we translated to English from Google’s translator and read original article here

Source: RFI

 

©Somaliland1991

Somaliland has earned widespread respect for its relative peace and functional government.

A Changing Map: How ‘Small Wars’ Are Redrawing Africa’s Borders

From jihadists in violent quest of a Pax-Islamica or armed rebels carving up enclaves, the new violence is steadily loosening the control of states.

While southern Africa is enjoying an impressive long run of peace, other parts of the continent are increasingly threatened by an upsurge in “small wars”, and old borders and the unitary nation-state are under tremendous pressure from the new breed of insurgents.

Since 2000, there has been a sustained reduction in the number of large-scale armed conflicts. Many of the major guerilla movements like UNITA in Angola and Renamo in Mozambique – iconic of the classic era of big civil wars – died out through military conquest or peace treaties.

However, the eruption of fierce localized insurgencies across many parts of the continent in the last few years is fuelling renewed fears that it could be entering another period of instability.

From transnational jihadists in violent quest of a Pax-Islamica in the Sahel-Sahara and the Horn, to armed insurrectionists carving up enclaves in Nigeria, the Sinai and Mali, the new violence is steadily loosening the territorial and administrative control of states in North, West, Central and the Horn of Africa, and pose the greatest challenge to the stability of the continent.

Somalia, Somaliland, federalism
No other African country has been as radically altered by “small wars” as Somalia. In three decades, it has been transformed from a united and centralized state into a deeply fragmented nation, a patchwork of large and tiny sub-national entities and enclaves, autonomously administered by clans and the militant group, Al-Shabaab.

Somaliland, a northwestern province that was called British Somaliland in colonial times and which briefly forged a union with the rest of Somalia, broke off in 1991 following a popular referendum.

Its independence is contested by Mogadishu and not recognized internationally. The region, however, has earned widespread respect for its relative peace and functional government. That has however not made its quest for African recognition any less daunting.

Talks in the last four years between the Somaliland administration and the government in Mogadishu, facilitated by the UK, have eased old tensions, but have not brought them any closer to reaching an accord on the thorny issues of independence and unity. 

For a variety of reasons, not least the recent experience in South Sudan, the African Union (AU) is wary of supporting a process that may risk plunging another African country into a new large-scale conflict. 

Enter Al-Shabaab
The militant Al-Shabaab’s territorial control has diminished in the last three years as a result of military action by the 22,000-strong AU peacekeeping force, AMISOM, but the group still controls significant areas in south-central Somalia, which it administers tightly.

Throughout much of 2007-2008, the group used a combination of tact and pragmatism to co-administer areas under its control with clans in a bid to legitimize its rule. The move was cast as part of its grand Islamization project – a novel example of the Islamic shura (consultative) principle in action, designed to foster greater inclusivity in governance. Many of these co-administered regions were often called “Islamic emirates”.

However, Al-Shabaab’s philosophy of government was always centralist and monopolist. It actively worked to foil the emergence of parallel local authorities not subservient to it, and railed against federalism, which it portrayed as a foreign plot to dismember and weaken Somalia.

Its vision, as articulated by its hardline leader Ahmed Abdi-aw Godane, is one of a strong, centralized Somali state that forms the nucleus of a future Caliphate. Consequently, and not unlike other transnational jihadi groups, it does not recognize existing international borders.

Sudan and DRC
Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are today two of Africa’s quintessential “small wars” states -plagued by endemic armed insurrections and periodic pogroms in their vast peripheries.

Most of the violence in Sudan is in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, but there are potential trouble spots in the east too, where a truce with local ethnic rebels remains tenuous and discontent is rife.

There also are growing suspicions that Sudan is getting sucked into the civil war in South Sudan and is supporting armed factions allied to the rebel leader Riek Machar.

Whatever its tactical or strategic calculations, it is hard to fathom how such support may change the game, and much less how a prolonged conflict in South Sudan could be in Khartoum’s objective long-term interest.

The regime’s renewed indiscriminate aerial bombardments in Kordufan, and in particular, the tactical use of lethal Syria-style “barrel bombs” suggest a serious escalation.

In DRC, the regime has been fighting a bewildering array of low-level insurgencies on multiple fronts in much of the east for many years, especially the Kivus.

Despite attempts by the Joseph Kabila government in Kinshasa to quell the rebellion through dialogue and military help from the UN peacekeeping mission, no breakthrough is in sight.

The actual functional territorial control of the regimes in power in Khartoum and Kinshasa has steadily diminished, with the proliferation of these localized insurgencies.

Geography and size partly compounds their inability to effectively counter local insurgencies, build state structures, improve local governance and provide basic services.

Source: The Mail & Guardian

 

©Somaliland1991

Port Challenges In East Africa Afford A Golden Opportunity For Berbera ( Mark T Jones (International Speaker & Leadership Specialist) http://www.marktjones.com

 

 

Somaliland’s government has signaled its eagerness to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects and views the upgrading and expansion of the port as integral to the development of the Berbera Corridor. In recent years a number of companies including France’s Bolloré Africa Logistics the Hong Kong based, Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), and Holland-based, APM Terminals have expressed an interest in playing a role in the Port of Berbera, with the French company committed to being a key investor.   Further interest looks set to follow and before too long Berbera will be in a position to offer effective competition to Djibouti.

Berbera has very considerable potential, but whether that is fully realized will depend on whether those in a position to affect change have the vision and drive to carry things forward.  Economic activity across the region is undergoing a tremendous period of realignment, with major investors tending to view things in a regional rather than a national context. Whilst Somaliland’s current status and recent history may discourage some investors, for others they can see a real opportunity for Somaliland to emulate at Berbera the success of Iran’s Chabahar Free Trade & Industrial Zone and similarly that at Quesh and Kish Island, both of which are free trade zones. Rather than merely looking at Berbera as a trade entry and exit point, it needs to be viewed as a regional hub, one that is a magnet for investment and a key centre for employment and capacity development.  If a Berbera Free Trade & Industrial Zone were to be created it would be essential that it offered incentives comparable with similar zones across the region. Reasonable elements would include:

  • 15 years tax exemption
  • No entry visa requirement
  • 100% foreign ownership possible
  • Flexible monetary and banking services
  • Extended legal guarantees and protection

Berbera Port would need to try to avoid the mistakes that continue to dog both Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. The twin foci should be efficiency and security. Planners would be required to give thought to ensuring provision for the handling of dry cargo, bulk liquid cargo, general cargo and containerized cargo. Aerated and temperature controlled grain terminals add considerable value, as does the ability to offer fumigation services. The emphasis needs to be on modern handling and warehousing equipment, with computerized warehouse management systems and state of the art inventory controls. Use of blended energy solutions, especially solar and wind would be integral to the success of such a port, especially one that will be required to offer refrigeration and storage facilities as well all the attendant anti-theft measures. The provision of bonded warehouses and engineering and maintenance facilities will be essential. Building sustainability into the port will help efficiency, but also enable a keener appreciation of waste as potential assets, as well as ensuring staff are vigilant in regards to the handling and security concerning the handling of hazardous materials or potential pollutants. Planners and management will also be required to give thought to:

  • Integrating ports, inland terminals and logistics network to improve supply chain performance
  • Expectations from exporters and shipping lines
  • Transport capacity and efficiency planning
  • Time and motion studies
  • Robust vetting and due diligence mechanisms
  • Appointment on merit Mark T Joneshttp://www.marktjones.com
  • (International Speaker & Leadership Specialist)
  • Somaliland’s remarkable resilience, especially over the last 23 years speaks volumes of its inner spirit, but the development of a highly efficient and effective port, with adjacent free trade and industrial area will require a truly Olympian effort. A lack of international recognition coupled with confirmation bias means that attracting the appropriate funding levels required will be tough and potential investors are anxious to see a genuine commitment to business friendly policies.  Potential investors are decidedly wary, especially as they have seen or heard how factionalism, patronage and nepotism have undermined efforts elsewhere. Regional security issues continue to loom large, as do anxieties is certain quarters concerning China’s potential involvement in view of its so-called ‘String of Pearls’ policy. Berbera Port Authority (www.berberaseaport.net) has begun to articulate its message with greater clarity, but if Berbera’s true potential is to be realized it is vital that the port is seen as part of a far more ambitious project, one that will not just benefit Somaliland, but the region as a whole. As for Berbera itself, the city will require measured and sensitive development that draws inspiration from vernacular architectural traditions, whilst incorporating the features expected of a forward thinking commercial centre. Special attention will be required to provide safeguards and measures designed to protect its delicate coastal habitat, and a concerted effort made to green the city to reduce dust and help provide filter for pollutants as the city grows and expands. As things stand it looks as though activity in Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports will continue much as before, thus Berbera has a golden opportunity to position itself as a lean and efficient player.  Such enlightened development if it takes place will not only provide much needed employment, but may help to change some of the preconceptions and misconceptions that have proved so harmful to the region and to the continent of Africa as a whole.

Mark T Jones

(International Speaker & Leadership Specialist)

http://www.marktjones.com

Mark T Jones

(International Speaker & Leadership Specialist)

http://www.marktjones.com

©Somaliland1991

 

 

 

 

A number of influential powers in Africa and beyond are known to be privately sympathetic to Somaliland’s pleas for recognition

Africa

Africa as we know her might soon be history thanks to rebels, minerals, and drugs

07 Jul 2014 12:45 M&G Africa Special Correspondent

The discovery of new riches in the soil might lead to secession, or encourage regions to cooperate. It’s not yet clear which trend will prevail.

UN peacekeepers in DR Congo. The country is seen as victim of 'distance decay' - the diminishing of state power as one moves away from the centre. State control of its territory is increasingly challenged in Africa. (AFP)

The increase in “small wars” in Africa has lately been dominating the news out of the continent, but at this point they are happening mostly in ill-governed peripheries and contested borderlands.

The bigger story about them, though, is that they are challenging the concept of the unitary nation-state in Africa with its defined colonial borders.

Since 1990, there has been sustained reduction in the number of large-scale armed conflicts. Many of the old-school major guerilla movements like the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA), UNITA in Angola and RENAMO in Mozambique, SWAPO in Namibia, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front – iconic of the classic era of big civil wars – died out through military conquest or peace treaties.

A complex welter of diverse regional, religious and ethnic/clan identity politics and grievances drive most of the new insurgencies.

The primary objective seems to be to weaken, undermine or reconfigure the centralised nation-state through a protracted war of attrition that gradually bleeds its resolve and forces it to cede territorial control.

In some instances, military and political stalemate has created a state of de facto balkanisation that could prove difficult to reverse.

Under assault, therefore, is the very nature of the nation-state—its political legitimacy and credibility; its utility, future evolution and the integrity and inviolability of its borders.

It is therefore important to understand the wider context, especially the troubled career of the modern nation-state, and how the traditional concept of what it is and what it is for has evolved.

Retreat of Westphalia
Our notion of the nation-state and ideas about national sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference – the so-called Westphalian principles that have underpinned the conventional view since the 19 century – have been steadily eroding for a variety of reasons, not least, the rise in military interventionism.

Africa with its artificial and arbitrary borders, and for decades bedeviled by misrule and secessionist insurgencies, has been particularly more vulnerable to its corrosive impact.

The resurgent and widespread modern sub-national discontent and peripheral antipathy towards the centre is partly a product of the systematic assault on the ideas and values that have shaped the nation-state.

External borders are no longer sacrosanct or inviolable and, internally, the nation-state’s monopoly of territorial control is subject to contestation. The new insurgency feeds on this zeitgeist.

The common denominator that unites and animates the anti-centre politics of most of the new separatists, insurgencies and sub-national groups is an instinctive disdain for the inherent right of a central authority to exercise full functional and administrative control over its own territories.

Somalia’s case
No other African country has been as radically altered by “small wars” as Somalia. In three decades, it has been transformed from a united and centralised state into a deeply fragmented nation, a patchwork of large and tiny sub-national entities and enclaves, autonomously administered by clans and the militant group, Al-Shabaab.

Somaliland, a northwestern province that was called British Somaliland in colonial times and which briefly forged a union with the rest of Somalia, broke off in 1991 following a popular referendum. Its independence is contested by Mogadishu and not recognised internationally. 

A number of influential powers in Africa and beyond are known to be privately sympathetic to Somaliland’s pleas for recognition. They include South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and the UK. They are however unlikely to break ranks with the rest of the international community and would instead prefer to see the AU take the lead in determining the issue. 

Since 1998, a number of regional administrations have emerged, such as Puntland in the northeast, Galmudug and Ximan and Xeeb in central Somalia, Jubba in the far south and the newly-created Three Regions State in south-central. The number of these administrations is likely to grow.

This proliferation has posed a major dilemma for the government in Mogadishu. Constitutionally, it is obliged to support decentralisation, but the clan identity politics driving the chaotic “federalisation” process has forced it to move to reverse the trend in the last one year.

The attempt by President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud to seek a greater role for the state to influence and manage federalisation was initially resisted in the periphery and largely viewed as a stratagem to re-centralise the country.

Those concerns have somewhat eased following the negotiated deal—brokered by the EU and the regional grouping Intergovernmental Authority on  Development (IGAD)— to engineer a “soft-landing” for the Kenyan-backed Jubba administration in Kismayo and the Three Regions State in south-central, but they have not disappeared.

 

A key player that has emerged in Somalia politics in the last few years is the militant group Al-Shabaab. Its territorial control has diminished since 2011 as a result of military action by the  African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM, but the group still controls significant areas in south-central Somalia, which it administers tightly.

Unlike other groups in Somalia, Al-Shabaab’s philosophy of government was always centralist and monopolist.

Its vision is one of a strong, centralised Somali state that forms the nucleus of a future Caliphate. Consequently, and not unlike other transnational jihadi groups, it does not recognise existing international borders.

Sudan and DRC
Outside Somalia and, lately, Libya and Central African Republic (CAR), Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are today two of Africa’s most graphic illustrations of  “small wars” states plagued by endemic armed insurrections and periodic pogroms in their vast peripheries.

Most of the violence in Sudan is in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, but there are potential trouble spots in the east too, where a truce with local ethnic rebels remains tenuous and discontent is rife.

In DRC, Kinshasa has been fighting a dizzying motley collection of low-level insurgencies on multiple fronts in much of the east for many years, especially the Kivus.

Despite attempts by the Kabila government to quell the rebellion through dialogue and military help from the UN peacekeeping mission, no breakthrough is in sight.

The actual functional territorial control of the regimes in power in Khartoum and Kinshasa has steadily diminished, with the proliferation of these localised insurgencies.

Sudan and DRC are classic examples of how mass discontent, conflict and violence are fuelled by “distance decay”,  the term used by social scientists to describe how state “presence” and the quality of its institutions, structures and services progressively diminish the further one ventures away from the centre and the closer one gets to the periphery.

Borders and criminality
The new insurgencies are not just intent on redrawing borders, they are also proving adept at exploiting poorly policed borders to create safe havens and grow their strength.

A number of them are becoming transnational criminal syndicates and key players in the grey economy, raising millions of dollars in revenue from smuggling of contraband goods and narcotic drugs, people trafficking and kidnapping.

A recent report has highlighted how Nigeria’s Boko Haram has tapped into the lucrative kidnap-for-ransom racket by fellow jihadists in the Sahel-Sahara belt to augment its income from traditional sources.

Al-Shabaab was described in a recent UN study as a business conglomerate that has benefitted from the charcoal trade and the smuggling of cut-price contraband sugar into East African markets. There are also reports from conservation groups it may be involved in poaching and the illicit ivory trade in the region.

In DRC, the conflict is in large part fuelled by competition over control of areas with vast mineral resources. Many of the warring factions and their leaders are key players in the so-called conflict minerals, especially the highly lucrative rare-earth metals, used in high-tech industries.

The Sinai Desert is now said to be the favoured route of illegal African migrants seeking to enter Israel. The Bedouin rebels in the Sinai have been fighting government security forces in the last three years and have been implicated in many terror attacks across the country. These groups are said to be making huge sums of money from extortion and from acting as middlemen for people-trafficking syndicates.

Borders and resource competition
There is another dimension to the trend of commercialisation of armed conflicts that may have a direct impact on the tussle to reconfigure borders.

In a number of the conflict hotspots in Africa, usually in historically marginalised peripheries and contested borderlands, the discovery of huge reserves of hydrocarbons and minerals, raises the prospect of two plausible scenarios.

One, it could fuel “resource nationalism” and regionalism and embolden organised secessionist groups.

Two, it may incentivise dialogue to resolve conflict. Both trends seem to be emerging and it is not yet clear which will prevail.

In Somalia, the Nugaal Dharoor Valley believed to contain oil deposits and eyed by multinational oil companies, is situated on a region contested by Somaliland and Puntland and the scene of periodic armed skirmishes.

A new armed rebellion has been underway in the region since 2011 and a self-proclaimed state called Khatumo has been created to challenge both administrations.

In the Ogaden region of south-eastern Ethiopia, the recent discovery of huge oil and gas deposits triggered the first tentative moves by the state to engage the ethnic Somali ONLF (the Ogaden National Liberation Front) rebel group – a secessionist movement that has waged a lengthy guerilla war against the central government.

The talks – brokered by Kenya – have made very little progress. A recent incident in which an ONLF negotiator was abducted by Ethiopian intelligence operatives in Kenya may have damaged trust. But it is not yet clear whether the affair is a temporary setback or whether it has fatally damaged the chances for peace.

•ALSO READA changing map: How ‘small wars’ are redrawing Africa’s borders

 

©Somaliland1991

Halkan ka dhegayso The Guardian Somaliland Why can’t we have human rights and economic growth? – podcast transcript Hugh Muir talks to former World Bank economist William Easterly about how he changed his mind on the political ramifications of aid. Plus, how Somaliland defied the critics to become a democracy

Why can’t we have human rights and economic growth? – podcast transcript

Hugh Muir talks to former World Bank economist William Easterly about how he changed his mind on the political ramifications of aid. Plus, how Somaliland defied the critics to become a democracy

 

http://audio.theguardian.tv/audio/kip/global-development/series/global-development-podcast/1403798794563/8775/gdn.glo.140626.mh.human-rights-economy.mp3

Why can’t we have human rights and economic growth? – podcast transcript

Hugh Muir talks to former World Bank economist William Easterly about how he changed his mind on the political ramifications of aid. Plus, how Somaliland defied the critics to become a democracy

• Listen to the podcast

MDG : Somaliland capital Hargeisa

Cars clog a main road in Hargeisa, capital of Somaliland, which has established a stable democracy. Photograph: Shashank Bengali/Getty Images

M: Hugh Muir

WE: Professor William Easterly

LF: Liz Ford

FS: Female speaker/s

MA: Mark Anderson

HME: Hibo Mohamed Esay

JG: Jayati Ghosh

JE: Jessica Evans

HM Prof William Easterly was for 16 years an economist at the World Bank.

WE I was in the research department, which by World Bank standards actually. I had a lot of intellectual freedom, but not quite enough.

HM And the World Bank has for many years had a problem with human rights; it didn’t discuss them. Was there a point at which the World Bank you thought: ‘I’m on the wrong side here, I’ve got to leave and maybe have the freedom to speak differently and to do this differently?’

WE Well, one thing I remember is some time in the mid ’90s going to an Africa region meeting and everyone around the table were going hey, for Africa, it’s really not working, and then the conclusion of the meeting is, we should keep doing it. And it’s like what is going on here, we know it’s not working and yet we keep doing it. Why?

HM But since leaving the organisation Professor Easterly has had a change of heart.

WE I’m sort of a recovering expert, trying to spread the news to the other experts.

HM This is The Guardian’s Liz Ford.

LF So we’re at the Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit that’s being held at the ExCeL Centre in London.

HM You may remember that this was the event attended by Angelina Jolie. We sent Liz down earlier in the month to record this and some of the people attending that summit.

LF But I think there’s probably a lot of people that are thinking, are a little bit concerned that there’s a strong focus on ending impunity, a strong focus on getting the prosecutions, and not enough on the wider issues, as in women’s economic empowerment.

FS1 When we think of them, the human rights things, you know, the first things is how they can survive, how they can have access of the food in the evening, you know. That comes first. So basically it comes first for the widows.

FS2 Women need economic empowerment to have the whole world [in] peace and stability.

LF Yes, they want justice, but getting somebody to court is not their priority, their priority is getting a job, getting money, getting away from the actual abuse, supporting their children, getting them an education, getting decent healthcare, all those other things.

FS3 They talk about political participation, they don’t talk about economic empowerment. So it’s all interlinked and unless we address the issue holistically then separate interventions will be ineffective.

HM So it begs the question, what comes first, economic empowerment to better your life or basic human rights, and why can’t we talk about the two together? We’ll find out on today’s Global development podcast. I’m Hugh Muir, stay with us. But first, back to Prof Easterly. He says vital development is blighted by technocrats. I caught up with him on the phone line from New York and asked him what was going wrong.

WE I think it’s because there’s this fascination in development with development as an exclusively technical problem that is just about technical fixes like bednets for malaria or medications for malaria or antibiotics for other health problems, and the reason these technical solutions have been neglected is because our people are pressed by autocrats who have no interest in their wellbeing, they only have an interest in staying in power. There is a World Bank project in Uganda that had the idea that this one district of Uganda called Mubende could be very profitably developed as a forestry project and that forestry was the best use of the land there. The World Bank in this case was sort of like a counterpart of the British colonial authorities deciding what is best. The farmers on the land who were growing their own food crops were not on board with this and, unfortunately, what happened was this was settled with violence. A private company that the World Bank was working with to develop this project hired security forces who came in and marched the farmers off at gunpoint, burned down their homes, burned down their crops, an eight-year-old child died in the fire that happened with this, the farmers were kept at gunpoint from rescuing the child or their own homes and 20,000 farmers were marched off at gunpoint and told this land is no longer yours. This is this kind of tragedy that happens when we neglect the rights of the people. You do something that you think is making them better off and it’s actually making people worse off because you did not give them the right to consent, you did not respect their right to consent.

HM It’s difficult though, isn’t it, because big organisations who hope to help with big budgets that are obviously wary of just handing that money over want to know that it’s being done properly. Isn’t there a limit to the extent to which you can work from bottom up, isn’t it almost inevitable there’ll be some element of top down?

WE Well, if you’re saying that you need to sort of work with the governments that are there, even if they’re authoritarian, I think that is the perennial dilemma in the aid business. And I don’t want to say there is any easy answer to that, there is not an easy answer, I mean I think certainly to being to come to an answer you certainly do want to cut off governments that are simply using their own aid money for their own repression and I think the more important thing that has happened as a result of that discussion is the official aid community has just decided that we’re sort of not allowed to talk about autocracy and oppressive governments because this issue is so unsolvable and so there’s a sort of unintentional censorship of the big debate that we should be having in development, you know, is autocracy itself one of the main causes of poverty?HM The likes of Bill Gates and Jeffrey Sachs have looked at the things that you’re saying and have made the point that you might be ignoring some of the big success stories in modern aid, things like the polio immunisation programme, things I suppose that can only be done by big organisations that go into a country and things that in a way are best done from the top down.

WA You know, I’ve never said aid always fails, there are successes in aid, even in very top-down aids and because there are some problems that are more amenable to top-down aid intervention. And I think the one you mention is exactly the most common one, polio and other vaccination programmes is the one that’s cited over and over again by Gates and Sachs and other aid defenders. Why are they stuck with only this one example that they cite over and over again, or only a few other examples? It’s because there was this one problem that was more amenable to top-down aid and it got solved, that’s great, I’m glad it happened, but it’s not the way the whole world of development works.

HM Obviously, it’s shaken things up, what if we were to ignore your detractors and made you king for the day, how would things be different? There’s a calibration to be done here, how would you calibrate things differently?

WE We need say like a Copernican Revolution in development. What’s really been happening is we place ourselves, the aid and development experts at kind of the whole centre of development and we obsess with this sort of what should we do question and what the western efforts should be, which is very understandable and I want the west to continue to do good things but we’re not at the centre of development and the Copernican Revolution would recognise that it’s poor people themselves who are at the centre of development and they are already successfully developing themselves.

There’s already been tremendous successes in development that are homegrown that are due to poor people and poor societies asserting their own rights themselves. And we should not have the arrogance that everything in development revolves around us, the experts, that’s what most fundamentally at the end of the day I protest against most. There’s arrogance and there’s egocentricity and self-centredness that we place ourselves, the experts, at the whole centre of global development and we don’t deserve that, we’re not at the centre, we’re very marginal, it’s poor people themselves who are developing themselves.

HM Professor William Easterly, author of The Tyranny of Experts, and that’s available now. Professor Easterly talked about countries being helped to help themselves. Let’s consider the case of Somaliland. Mark Anderson reports.

MA Somaliland is the world’s fourth poorest country, if it was a country, but it’s not, because no one in the international community recognises Somaliland as a sovereign state and it receives no direct aid. You might think Somaliland would be held back by this lack of aid but it’s actually done very well. There’s been two presidential elections which passed without incident and the international observers of those elections were so enamoured with Somaliland’s case for recognition that they founded an NGO specifically to champion Somaliland’s cause. In Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa, Hibo Mohamed Esayhas been running a small catering business. It’s been going two years.

HME We are cooking refreshments for meetings for places like the government. Also, we are receiving orders from homes and weddings. So me, I like Somaliland and living here. Everybody’s coming back to Somaliland. If you look back 10 years, for example, in the shops and the hotels there’s no more than 10 hotels in Hargeisa but now you cannot count the number of hotels in Hargeisa. As well as the printing press, shops, everywhere you go there’s a small business. So there’s a lot of people in Hargeisa now so as much as the people are there and they are buying with no war, with no anything that they are afraid of. So I can say it’s growing.

HM But not everyone is as positive as Hibo, Somaliland has come under fire from rights groups for attacks on journalists and poor treatment of Ethiopian and Somali migrants who pass through Somaliland on their way to Yemen. But few can argue with Somaliland’s stable democracy and thriving businesses like Hibo’s. It’s doing far better than its neighbours to the south.

 

HME If you look at the freedom and the democracy that has taken place in Somaliland, I can say that it’s better than so many countries in Africa, and whenever the problems happen there’s a fight which has never stopped, but Somalians have reached a level that we have the ability to stop war and to establish a peace.

HM Hibo Mohamed Esay in Hargeisa. So we’ve got plenty of examples of where aid is going wrong, and going right, and with me now to pick through some of these ideas we have something of an international line-up. From Washington, Jessica Evans of Human Rights Watch, she’s a senior researcher in their Business and Human Rights Division, and in Geneva we have Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics at Nehru University, New Delhi, and the executive secretary of International Development Economics Associates. Welcome to both of you. Jayati, let me start with you. This is basically what Professor Easterly talks about in his book, The Tyranny of Experts. It refers to Somaliland which is an economy that’s benefited from improved human rights and democracy, and here’s the important thing, without the technocrats getting involved. Is that a phenomenon that you recognise?

JG Oh, absolutely, I don’t think that technocrats have been particularly successful, certainly in the international development industry, but I wouldn’t say that’s because they are technocrats per se, I would argue that, number one, they’re divorced from the particular domestic positions, but more than that they are all influenced by a rather stale and mechanical paradigm of how economies should be run, which I really think is counterproductive. This so-called Washington consensus which should have died several decades ago is back and alive and kicking, and unfortunately is still being imposed all over the world regardless of context, regardless of usefulness and regardless of notions of economic democracy.

 

HM Jessica, to what extent do you think we can hold Somaliland up as a model of good practice?

JE I can’t speak directly to Somaliland, but one thing that we constantly see is that development is not understood in the same way that it should be. So sustainable development, we believe, is freedom from fear and want for all without discrimination. Sustainable development should be about the creation of conditions in which people everywhere can realise their civil and political rights as well as their economic, social and cultural ones. I think what Professor Easterly is pushing for here is for increased recognition of civil and political and some economic rights, and that being the basis for development. I think Human Rights Watch and many human rights advocates would go that step further to say that development needs to be grounded in all of the human rights that we’ve been fighting for.

HM Jayati, talk to me about the balance, the ratio if you like of human rights to economic development, economic empowerment. Is the balance right?

JG No not at all, in fact one of the big problems I see, both in the international shall we say the multilateral community as well as in many developing countries today is that in a sense there’s a kind of trade-off, we are told by many of our governments, my own at the moment, but a number of others across the world, that look, we’re going to give you growth and development, we’ll try and give you electricity and roads and water and so on, and in return for that just shut up and do as we tell you. In other words, don’t ask for higher wages, don’t complain if you’re displaced by a project, don’t worry about environmental standards, don’t worry about Workers’ rights and living wages, because these are all costs you have to pay for this grand process of development.

HM Jessica, does that ring a bell with you and if so, give us some examples of where that’s been the case, that’s been how things have unfolded?

JE One example that comes to mind is the World Bank’s engagement with Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is anything but a democratic country and human rights violations are really widespread. One particularly problematic industry within Uzbekistan is the cotton industry, which is grounded in a system of forced labour. Every year the government mobilises over a million of its citizens, including children, to pick cotton. What the World Bank has just earlier this month approved is an irrigation project which is going to directly benefit the cotton industry. It’s going to provide water to cotton farms, and while the World Bank as a positive development taken some moves to mitigate these risks of forced labour it’s not doing anything to actually dismantle that system which continues and will continue with this project. So the World Bank has for instance put in place third party monitors to look at whether there is forced labour on the areas within which the project is being carried out, but on the other side the World Bank has done nothing to ensure that independent journalists and civil society organisations which often monitor the cotton harvest can do so, even with respect to the land on which the World Bank is financing an irrigation project. So this shows I think how in some respects the World Bank is willing to recognise what we would consider human rights risks, but not willing to go that extra step to work toward an environment in which Uzbek citizens can themselves work to realise their own human rights.

HM Jayati, what’s your sense of the role or the balance that’s being struck by the World Bank?

JG Well, you know the World Bank I don’t believe is really the most important player anymore in many developing countries, certainly it is promoting projects that are, shall we say, inconsistent with some of these goals that Jessica mentioned but really when you’re looking at patterns of investment or even patterns of control over social dissent and all of that, it’s really not the World Bank that is the most important player any more, and I think we have to be much more concerned about how the international rules, treaties, whether it comes from the bilateral investment treaties, whether it comes from the GATT rules or WTO and so on, whether these actually impact on the policy space that governments have to promote the rights of citizens. And also the governments themselves, how concerned are they in terms of ensuring this balance. I’d like to give one example from India if I may. You know, we’ve had very recently, after the new government came to power in India, we’ve had a report published by the Intelligence Bureau which is really supposed to be something that’s out there spying for the country supposedly, anyway the Intelligence Bureau has come out with a report saying that social movements and NGOs that have been fighting about the concerns of people who are displaced by projects and those who are worried about the impact of nuclear projects, the environmental impacts and so on, they are essentially antinational, against national security interests, and amazingly they’ve come up with a figure saying they’re losing the country 3% of GDP per year. Now, the fact that an intelligence bureau can come out with a report like this is mindboggling and it’s also deeply worrying because it suggests that the government can now use this as a way of getting after these NGOs and social movements and preventing the kind of popular dissent that would force the government to respect human rights.

HM Jessica, the World Bank, this is kind of your starter for 10 isn’t it, because I know that Human Rights Watch published a report last year about what the World Bank should be doing about human rights. Just give me some specifics about where they’re falling down now.

JE Sure. So the World Bank has typically seen human rights as beyond its purview which is incredibly troubling considering it is a leading development agency. I agree with Jayati that the World Bank finance as compared to other finance is decreasing in proportion and that governments, whether they be governments that are receiving donor aid or governments that are giving them, are also incredibly important actors when it comes to realising human rights. But the World Bank itself is not held accountable to international human rights standards, instead it creates its own policies that are internal and holds itself accountable to those policies. Therefore it’s operating outside of the international human rights framework which is incredibly problematic.

To give you one very recent example, just today Human Rights Watch has published a report in Tajikistan on resettlements linked to the Rogun Dam which is set to be the highest dam in the world. The World Bank has provided financing, looking at both the environmental and the social impacts of this dam, but unfortunately, although the World Bank looks at the degree to which international environmental and water laws are being complied with it doesn’t even touch on international human rights law, including the obligations of the Tajik government that the government itself has signed up to.

HM What about people who say, well you have to strike a balance, what’s the greater good, is it to have these considerations about human rights or is it to get money to places where people desperately need that money, and that maybe too much concentration on human rights is a bit of a luxury?

JE I think that’s creating a false dichotomy here. The international financial institutions and donors can work with governments to create development projects which do respect human rights. They can ensure that communities have the opportunity to meaningfully participate in crafting their own development agendas and then they can work with those communities and with the governments to finance them. It’s not a question of whether we go in or not, it’s a question of how the international institutions can use their own leverage to support the human rights of people within developing countries.

HM Now of course, Jayati Ghosh, the World Bank may not be the only player in town for long because, of course, China has announced plans to launch a global development institution to rival the World Bank. How, if at all, do you think that will change the dynamic?

JG I think it will change the dynamic in an important way in that in fact the World Bank has been less significant in all development investment and infrastructure investment now for several decades. But we haven’t really had significant expansion of the regional banks and the Asian Development Bank really hasn’t stepped up to the plate as required. So if the Chinese are actually willing to put their money where their mouth is and dramatically increase this kind of funding it will definitely have an impact. But I would like to highlight another player who I think is being ignored in this, most development investment, so-called, today is in private hands, it’s by multinational companies, and this is part of a broader policy stance that has been actively encouraged by the multilateral institutions themselves and by the WTO and others, and we are ignoring the impact that this kind of investment has on human rights. We now have increasing numbers of cases where you have multinational companies that have actually trampled on the rights of local communities and are able to get away with it because of either bilateral investment treaties or regional trade agreements that include investment chapters that effectively protect them through the investor protection clauses, or simply by the operation of US courts which has actually dramatically altered the power balance and limited the ability even when governments want to ensure the realisation of human rights.

HM So Jessica, corporations play a big role here. Do you think we should be doing more to regulate what they do?

JE Absolutely. And actually we have an opportunity at the moment to do just that. The post-2015 agenda on development is currently being negotiated and this provides an opportunity to finally bring into the round corporate accountability. There is a draft goal eight which is currently out there of the sustainable development goals and one way that we can massively improve this goal which is directed at promoting strong inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all, is by including in it a commitment to introduce mandatory requirements on corporations to undertake human rights due diligence around their work and publicly record on their human rights, social and environment impacts, as well as payments that they make to domestic or foreign governments which is essential to counter corruption.

HM Okay, we’ve talked a lot in the past few minutes about the World Bank, I should say that we did ask the World Bank for a contribution but they weren’t able to give us one for this podcast, but Jayati, let me ask you, do you think, they do a lot in this area obviously and face a lot of criticism, is that fair?

JG No, I think it’s certainly fair but I think they shouldn’t be the only targets of criticism, I think there’s a lot that the World Bank does which is really quite wrong and that they should be much more accountable and responsive to the criticism, but really as I mentioned earlier they are not the big players any more; the big players are the rules that are set up by the international treaties and the multinational corporations, who as Jessica mentioned are really currently not legally accountable at all. So I think we need to take much more cognizance of the fact that we have a bit of a free for all globally in terms of the lack of power of the human rights agenda relative to the investor protection agenda, and we need to rectify that imbalance.

HM Okay, well thank you both, that’s all that we have time for on that bit of our debate. But thanks to Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics at Nehru University, Delhi, and to Jessica Evans of Human Rights Watch, a senior researcher in their Business and Human Rights division, for their contributions. This edition of the Global development podcast was produced by Matt Hill, assisted by Mark Anderson. Don’t forget, you can have your say at theguardian.com/global-development. Just click on the link and voilà, you’ll get your podcast. Thank you for listening, I hope it was illuminating, my name’s Hugh Muir. Until next time, goodbye.

 

Source: The Guardian,, The Gobal develoment podcast

 

©Somaliland1991

Read the rest of this entry »