Somaliland: UN’s Ignorance Makes UNSOM Mandate Unacceptable



Somalilandsun – The United Nations has been ignoring Somaliland concerns for 22 years; the UN has never taken the Somaliland freedom and the self determination of its people seriously; this fact is supported by the UN documentations, UN Web sites, and UN actions listed here.

Somaliland made numerous attempts to share its concerns with the UN before it finally reached the decision to deny the UNSOM a presence in Somaliland. The UN should recognize the reality on the ground in Somaliland; and UN should support the dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia which will eventually help to determine their future relationship; the current UN position protects the Unity of Somalia and this position can be described as UN fantasy in New York. It is time for UN to address the Somaliland concerns or Somaliland government will not allow UNSOM to operate in Somaliland:

1 – The United Nations has passed 64 UN Resolutions on Somalia since 1992. To see list of United Nations Resolutions click here. The last 40 UN resolution (out of the 64) have been passed between 2005 thru 2013, and 100% of those last 40 UN Resolutions contain a language that reaffirms the unity of Somalia. This UN declaration of support for Unity of Somalia will only embolden the Mogadisho government to aggressively challenge Somaliland and likely will encourage a future conflict in the Horn of Africa. Somaliland repeatedly asked the UN to support the dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia instead, and stop pledging support for Unity because that will lead to conflict. If the UN wants to be helpful it should give support to the dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia. The last 40 UN Resolutions contain this unity language in the preamble: (Reaffirming respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia). That means the United Nations has taken upon itself to be the sole protector of the unity of Somalia and enemy of Somaliland sovereignty. This is the best example that shows how the UN feels about Somaliland freedom and the self determination of its people. The UN position will eventually lead to another war in the Horn of Africa is not a UN concern. we wonder why!

2 – The United Nations Special Representative of Secretary General for Somalia Mr. Nickolas Kay (and his predecessors) consistently patronize Somaliland and share how good UN will help Somalia (except when in Hargeysa they say Somaliland). Mr. Mahiga came to Hargeysa many times and flattered Somaliland government and the people about their accomplishments; but he turned around and wrote his quarterly reports to the Security Council and describes his visit to Somaliland “as a visit to the northern region of Somalia”, and UN SRSG never acknowledged the sovereignty and the freedom of Somaliland. Somaliland government complained about this practice and its concerns was ignored. Somaliland believes the Security Council deserves a report based on the reality on the ground in Somaliland;

3 – The United Nations staff in Nairobi or from New York visit Somaliland on a regular basis using UN planes but they do not apply for Somaliland Visa to enter the country at the Airport or in advance from Somaliland representatives in Nairobi or other cities, because they do not believe they should – according to UN staff, Somaliland is a region of Somalia and they don’t need to get a Visa to enter Hargeysa. This is a UN practice that undermines

Somaliland sovereignty and ignores the laws of the country. Again, Somaliland requested this practice shall stop and its concerns were ignored.

4 – The United Nations Organizations that provide humanitarian and development programs do not differentiate between Puntland, South Central or Somaliland – according to UN it is one country (Somalia). A good example of this practice can be found in the UNDP Somalia Country Programme 2011-2015 document [click here] that says “Over five years, UNDP will expand its existing partnerships with federal and regional governments, UNDP adapts its approach based on different needs and accessibility in south and central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland”. Also, the UN Agencies such as UNDP that have offices in Hargeysa give their staff ID card which they are required to carry while in office (typically hanging from their neck), and this ID says UN location is [UNDP Hargeysa, Somalia], and the worst part is the ID cards contain the blue flag of Somalia. This is more than violating the Somaliland Constitution and it is a humiliation of the Somaliland people. Again, this concern has been ignored.

6 – Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press (USA Publication) said “The larger point is, there are long-standing and legitimate claims in Somaliland, but the UN or at least parts of it simply ignore them. Is it a matter of bureaucracy? Of the “love of states”? Is it a double standard when compared to the UN’s solicitude to other group’s claims? These are questions the UN, in the first instance Nicholas Kay, should answer”. click here to see it.

7 – According to the Somaliland government; it has been discussing these concerns with the United Nations in the last two years consistently, the Foreign Minister went to New York and met with members of the Security Council and shared these concerns, wrote many letters to the Security Council subsequently, the government also shared its concerns with the United Nation Executives who visited Hargeysa most recently in March of 2013, the UN simply ignored Somaliland concerns up to now.

8 – Somaliland government advised the United Nations in the process of establishing UNSOM mandate. UN again ignored the Somaliland concerns: the Secretary General’s letter dated April 19th to the Security Council included Somaliland those who were mentioned and received expression of gratitude and appreciation for providing advice and guidance to the UN; nevertheless the UN decided to ignore the Somaliland concerns. Instead the Security Council passed Resolution 2102, established UNSOM, which (Reaffirms respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia); UNSOM undermines Somaliland sovereignty and is inconsistent with the Somaliland constitution. UNSOM’s mandates will, if allowed, continue the UN practices in Somaliland including humiliation of our people (wearing Somalia flag) and violation of Constitution etc.

9 – The UNSOM mandate states the following; the UNSOM will be located in Mogadisho, its objective is to support the Federal government of Somalia to develop a federal system for Somalia; establish Somalia constitutional review process and subsequent referendum on the constitution. That means the UNSOM staff in Hargeysa will follow the direction of the Mogadisho office, which will hire Hargeysa staff, provide Budget, and approve their work in Mogadisho. Hargeysa staff must go to Mogadisho for training, to meet with executives such as SRGS Kay, to seek more funds, and must send reports to Magadisho. This seems the government of Somalia is getting control over Somaliland people via UNSOM mandate. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

10 – Somaliland sacrificed so much for its freedom and self-determination; more than 100,000 people have lost their lives, ten years of guerilla war with Barre government, millions of people living in refugee camps in Ethiopia for many years, lost of total property in major cities, and Somaliland has been working very hard over the last 22 years to rebuild the institutions of their country and their lives; helping people stand up with their own two feet, building schools, hospitals, successful businesses, government institutions (Executive, Parliament, Judicial), security forces, military forces, currency, flag, changed leaders from Militia leaders to civilian government, elected leaders through the ballot box 5 times; two Municipal government, one parliament, and elected the last two Presidents through the ballot box, which the International observers reported has been free and fair and met the international standards. That is how much sacrifice the people have made to get the Somaliland freedom; and the people are willing to risk everything again to protect it. Those who believe otherwise will find out soon or later.

11 – Somaliland Position: President of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo told SRSG Nickolas Kay; [Somaliland government decided that UNSOM’S presences in Hargeisa will not be in the best interest of our country. Therefore, we cannot allow UNSOM’S political office to function in Somaliland. However, we wish to continue engaging with all UN humanitarian and development agencies, whose support to Somaliland’s development is much appreciated. But we ask that in order to address Somaliland’s specific needs adequately, the UN development programs should be managed from Hargeisa not from Mogadishu]. This means UNDP cannot ask Hargeysa staff to wear blue flag of Somalia – that must stop immediately. This means Somaliland concerns shared with UN for 22 years must be responded to, and this means Somaliland can exist without the UN in Hargeysa, if necessary. Somaliland people have existed 22 years with very little assistance from the International community, and the UN should know that Somaliland can exist without any UN help. Somaliland patience ran out and it is time to respect our laws.

12 – We applaud the Somaliland people for supporting their President and Foreign Minister to stand up to the United Nations and UNSOM. The Somaliland Civil society, Parliament, Students, lawyers association, Somaliland Political parties have all pledged their support for the Somaliland government’s position. This shows the frustration of the Somaliland people with the United Nations both at the government level and the people level.

13 – No one is expecting the UN to close its offices in Hargeysa next week, but the UN has lost multiple opportunities in the past to address the Somaliland concerns without any consequences, however, the UN is in a bind this time because Somaliland government gave the UN and SRSG Mr. Nickolas Kay its final decision that UNSOM will not have presence in Somaliland; the only thing left to negotiate is to find an acceptable arrangement that will allow UNDP and others like it who provide humanitarian support (not UNSOM’s political wing) to operate in Somaliland while respecting the Somaliland freedom. President Silanyo will not accept anything less, and his people are 100% behind him. If and when we hear an update from UN; we’ll report and share with you.


1 – United Nations web site: List of 64 UN Resolutions.

2 – UNDP Web site providing 5 years program 2011-2015 for Somalia.

3 – Matthew Russell Lee article in [Inner City Press] publication

4 – Secretary General Letter to the Security Council dated April 19th, 2013


5 – UN Resolution 2102 that established and gave mandate to UNSOM office in Somalia

6 – Interviews with local United Nations staff in Hargeysa

7 – Interviews with government officials