(1) A brief historical background:
Following nearly 75 years of colonial rule, the former British Somaliland Protectorate gained its independence; on 26 June 1960. Just five days later, on 1st July, it gave it up again and voluntarily joined with the former Italian Somalia to create the unitary state of the Republic of Somalia.
Despite early hopefulness associated with the independence and nationhood euphoria, processes of unification, fair power sharing and a rules-based integration between the two states proved to be a failure by any measure. The voluntarily union with Somalia has caused nothing else but destruction and lost opportunity for millions of Somalilanders. It was a missed opportunity that apparently never turns back.
Historically, legally and politically Somaliland has a unique case for seeking and tirelessly demanding for international recognition. The Republic of Somaliland was once an independent and sovereign country that voluntarily merged with Italian Somalia and the nuptials failed. The union of the two countries,1960-1991, was an indisputable failure in all aspects and the popular referendum held in Somaliland (in 2000) has shown immovable resistance to its restoration. Today, Somaliland could have enjoyed its independence and would have been a success story had they not voluntarily united with Somalia Italiana on 1st July 1960.
(2) Somaliland became a victim of its own success:
Over the past 32 years, the Republic of Somaliland has made incredible and miraculous progress on all fronts. In particularly in the field of peace building and conflict resolutions, Somaliland has realized a peaceful society where its citizens live side by side in peace and harmony. Also Somaliland’s painstakingly rebuilding the systematically destroyed country’s public infrastructure and revitalizing basic public services was a huge success without parallel. But also embracing a multi party system and successfully implemented democratic electoral mechanism was in fact a kept secret for the resilience and unyielding nature of Somalilanders. Remarkably enough, all these unique efforts and endeavour had happened solely in relying on Somaliland’s own abilities and without being dependent on any significant support or assistance from the international community. Hence, in order to make happen all these efforts, any external interventions into Somaliland’s internal affairs has been categorically avoided as the main purpose to encourage nurturing indigenous solutions for indigenous problems.
Looking back at the amazing progress that Somaliland had made on all fronts over the past three decades, knowing the fact that Somaliland is situated in a troubled and volatile region of Horn of Africa, given the indifferent way in which the World Community had ignored time and time again to lend a listening ear to Somaliland’s unique case; it can be said with certainty that the armed violence currently erupted in Las Anod is the direct result of the indecisive political stance of world community towards Somaliland’s quest for recognition.
(3) Final Thoughts:
In a volatile region that has prime strategic importance to international trade; Somaliland’s peace and stability, and its reliability in preventing piracy from its waters and terrorism from its soil should have been recognized as an asset for advancing regional and global security, stability and common good.
The people of Somaliland should have been rewarded for their democratic credentials, peace and sustained stability over more than three decades in a challenging and volatile region. The Republic of Somaliland is a brave and resourceful country that deserved to be recognized internationally.
There are some diplomatic representation from some brave countries who dared to open up their semi ambassadorial office in Somaliland. Somaliland has also succeeded to attract potential foreign direct investments that can significantly contribute to economic growth and employment opportunities in the country. However, that is not enough and Somaliland has rightfully deserved more than that. In historical, political, geographical and legal terms, the Republic of Somaliland has tremendously met all the criteria and requirements that were necessary to be qualified for international recognition as a separate country.
Paradoxically, perhaps Somaliland has become a victim of its own success!! I wonder how long the International Community will continue to ignore our people’s fundamental rights for self-determination and independence.
Unfortunately, the Republic of Somaliland and its people become the victims of an indecisive world that constantly applies a double standard approach!
GOD BLESS THE REPUBLIC OF SOMALILAND,
The author is the Former Minister of Trade and Investment of Somaliland, Former Presidential Spokesman and General Secretary of National COVID-19 Response Committee.
By Hussein Adan Igeh (Deyr)