Somaliland: The Unofficial Republic’s Struggle for Acknowledgement


Somalilandsun- Somaliland is stuck in a unique bind—the international community has pledged not to recognize the area as a state until the African Union does. The AU fears that Somalia’s other breakaway states might follow suit and that this could influence other African regions to do the same. Therefore, it has refused to make the call. So Somaliland is stuck in legal limbo, but it has nevertheless found a way to persevere. Whether it can thrive depends on what happens next. 

 In fact, not a single government has recognized the state since it broke away from Somalia in 1991, and so legally, Somaliland is still part of Somalia. As Somalilanders will tell you, however, it isn’t.

So far, Mogadishu has won out and Somaliland has stayed within the country in the eyes of the world. Mogadishu’s bureaucrats and the international community fear that recognizing Somaliland’s independence would embolden other secessionist provinces, such as Hiranland, Jubaland, and Puntland, to break away as well, leading to the Balkanization of Somalia, as well as further instability in an already volatile region.

They also fear that the creation of a new state in the region might reignite regional tensions with Ethiopia and Kenya, countries that have considerable ethnic Somali regions. There’s also a risk that Somaliland’s secession could sharpen hostilities within Somalia’s northern and southern regions.

The problem is that no one listens writes James Jeffrey in a piece titled Somaliland’s Search for Place