On Wednesday 2 April, Sheffield City Council voted to pass a motion recognising Somaliland’s right to self-determination, and calling on “the British government to recognise Somaliland as an independent state and to encourage other governments around the world to do the same.”
The historic debate was tabled by Councillor Mohammad Maroof who yesterday received over 2,000 signatures from the Somaliland community in Sheffield, petitioning the council to support recognition.

The Foreign Minister of Somaliland, the country’s most senior statesman aside from the President, Mohamed Bihi Yonis spoke in the Council Chamber, “Somaliland is a peaceful, democratic nation, which has been striving to be recognised by the international community since declaring independence in 1991. Sheffield’s decision will help strengthen our campaign for recognition.”

Councillor Neale Gibson (Lab) noted that “Somaliland fulfils all the criteria for statehood required by international law. A permanent population. A defined territory. A government. And the capacity to enter into relations with other states.”

Councillor Ben Curran (Lab) said “We hope that Sheffield’s support is just the first step to helping Somaliland fulfil its right to self-determination.”

Councillor Julie Dore (Lab) said “We fundamentally believe in Somaliland’s right to self-determination.”

The Energy Minister of Somaliland Hussein Abdi Dualeh thanked local Labour MPs Paul Blomfield and Clive Betts as well as City Councillors for their support of Somaliland’s independence.

Somaliland sees this as an important, breakthrough moment for their campaign to be recognised as an independent nation by the international community. Their Independence Day will be celebrated around the world on 18 May.

On Friday, 4 April, Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield will be speaking at ISRAAC, the Somali Community and Cultural Association, in support of Somaliland’s case for recognition.

Somaliland has a strong legal case for recognition as an independent nation state, underpinned by historical precedent and the overwhelming support of the people of Somaliland who voted for independence in 2001. Somaliland was once part of the British Empire, joining with Italian ruled Somalia after gaining its independence in 1960. As Somalia disintegrated into chaos in the late 1980s Somaliland decided to re-establish its independence in 1991.

Over the past two decades Somaliland has worked hard to create an island of peace in an otherwise difficult region. Functioning state institutions have been put in place; since 2000 five national elections have been held; free primary education has been introduced for boys and girls; progress is being made to reduce child mortality and female genital mutilation.

Somalilanders have been settling in the UK for over a century, residing mainly in city ports such as London, Cardiff and Bristol. As part of the empire, Somaliland contributed to both the WW1 and WW2 efforts. Following WW2 many Somalilanders came to Sheffield to work, often in the steel industry, which was facing labour shortages.

Further history on Somaliland’s case for international recognition can be found here: http://recognition.somalilandgov.com/history

Source: yorkshiretimes