To UNPO General Assembly meeting, November, 29-30,2012, Geneva
Statement made by Mohamoud Abdi Daar, Somaliland Representative in Brussels
To UNPO General Assembly meeting, November, 29-30,2012, Geneva.
First of all I would like to take this opportunity to convey my best wishes to you, members of this august General Assembly, the General Secretary,Mr.Marino Busdachin, experts and the hardworking staff of the UNPO Secretariat for all the efforts they made in organizing and convening this meeting.
Speaking about Somaliland, because of time constraints, I shall confine my statement to few points which would highlight recent developments in the country. In the first place, I want to say that more than two decades ago and especially from 1991 when the government and people of Somaliland decided to reclaim their political independence and sovereignty, a process of reconstruction of the country was started. During its union with Somalia, Somaliland had bitter experiences of abuse of power, exploitation and massive violations of human rights. It became a waste- land of mines and weapons. Its infrastructure, cities and rural villages were all in ruins and desolate after the civil war that raged between the two countries from 1981 to 1991, little known by outside world.
Within these two decades, the government and the hardworking people of Somaliland have succeded to achieve extraordinary developments in many fields on the basis of self-reliance and local initiative and with little assistance from outside. In the course of these years, it has expanded educational opportunities to young people who enjoy today free primary education. People also benefit from healthcare and water-supply system available in towns and rural villages. In order to improve the living conditions, the policy of this Government , headed by HE Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo , is to devote more resources , as indicated in Somaliland’s Five- Year Plan, towards agriculture, infrastructure and more rapid social and economic development. Unlike many other African countries, Somaliland’s economy does not depend on foreign aid. The present status puts pressure and constraints on the country’s development propects as it cannot benefit from resources of international financial institutions.
Another significant and continuing process is the consolidation of democracy in Somaliland of which some of you might have heard over the media. In a press-release made by the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is pointed out that:
“ On 28 November, the people of Somaliland will go to the polls for the Fifth time in thecountry’s 21 years as an independent state to vote in local council elections taking place across the country. The previous round of local council elections held ten years ago confirmed Somaliland’s emergence as a peaceful democratic country in a region often associated with famine, war ,terror and anarchy. Since then the country has held parliamentary elections and two presidential elections, all of which were deemed free and fair by international observers- and which included peaceful handing over of power from one president to another in2010.
Tomorrow’s local elections are significant because they demonstrate how it is possible to build a democracy in Africa despite the legacy of war. With voting taking place from the westernmost region of Somaliland’s borders with Ethiopia and Djibouti to the eastern regions of Sool and Sanaag, they also demonstrate the unity of a people committed to engaging in peaceful, democratic politics.
The Government and people of the Republic of Somaliland are grateful to the many foreign governments, including several from Europe that have supported election preparations such as the provision of advice and guidance to electoral officials, the training of election observers and the updating of relevant legal frameworks. This support and investment speaks to the value the international community places on Somaliland as a guarantor of peace, Stability and democracy in the region.
The Government of Somaliland would also like to thank all of the international election observers present in our country during these elections for their efforts to ensure that the elections are conducted in a manner fully consistent with international standards.”
Over and above, Somaliland meets all the criteria for statehood as stipulated in the 1933 Montevideo Convention. It has an estimated population of nearly 4 million people, many of whom reside in its capital, Hargeisa. It has territorially demarcated colonial borders of British Somaliland established at the end of the nineteenth century, with an area of almost 138,000 square kilometres as well as a coastline of 850 kilometres across the Aden Gulf and also strategically located in the fight against piracy. It has democratically elected president, two houses of parliament, central and local governments and independent judiciary. Somaliland has an independent foreign policy and has formal and informal relations with many states and organizations. These are the rules of international law which defines the conditions under which a government should be recognized de jure. By the standards of international law
Somaliland is therefore entitled to diplomatic recognition.
At present, more than ever before, the people of Somaliland are united for the independence and sovereignty of their country as they earlier reaffirmed in a Referendum at the end of May, 2001.
The legitimacy of Somaliland’s claim to independence is based on the country’s earlier existence as a colonial state on which the present state system of Africa is established. Its claim is based also on the country’s existence as a recognized state after it became independent on June 26, 1960 from Britain. Somaliland’s existence is in conformity with Article 4.b. of the Constitutive Act of the African Union which affirm African Union’s “ respect of borders existing on the achievement of independence.”
In conclusion, it is important to point out, as its communique’ adopted at the London Conference in February,2012 on their future relations stated; the international community should actively support the proposed negotiations between Somaliland and Somalia.