MEPs must address Somaliland's independence claim

16-Nov-2016 @ 18:00

Nirj Deva Nirj Deva

Nirj Deva Nirj Deva

Nirj Deva Nirj Deva

MEPs must address Somaliland's independence claim

The European Parliament should be ashamed of its failure to consider Somaliland's claim to be recognised as an independent state, a high level hearing heard today.

Chaired by Conservative Development spokesman Nirj Deva MEP and featuring H.E Saad Ali Shire, Foreign Minister of Somaliland, the conference examined the political and legal case for recognition of Somaliland independence.

While Somalia has found itself embroiled in a civil war that has raged on for more than two decades, the narrow stretch of Somali-inhabited territory on the southern shore of the Gulf of Aden has, since declaring independence in 1991, adhered to every standard of good governance and successful democratic process.

Mr Deva, MEP for the South East of England, said: “For too long we have been blind to the trials, tribulations and concerns of this small country; one that has at every turn strived and struggled to achieve all the hallmarks of a free and democratic society. We should be ashamed that as a body of like-minded states, supposedly dedicated to the ideals of free society, we have proven content to make this someone else’s issue; someone else’s fight.”

H.E Saad Ali Shire said: “Somaliland has established its own currency, founded an effective public sector, set-up both a police force and trained army and held a succession of free and fair elections, ushering in the peaceful and concurrent transition of power.”

In the more than two decades since declaring independence, Somaliland’s sovereignty has yet to be fully recognised by a single international partner, despite the growing global acclaim for what has become a model of stability and good governance.

The eminent international human rights advocate, the Rt Hon. Sir Desmond De Silva QC, told today's conference in the European Parliament in Brussels: “Piracy, extremism and rampant crime have seen Somalia facing international sanctions; sanctions which have been universally levied to include a Somaliland far removed in nature and governance from the crimes they have been punished for.

"So long as they remain even nominally attached to Somalia, 3.5 million people will continue to suffer the consequences of actions in which they took no part. Where is the justice in that? This is a country that has met every condition of good governance. Yet, if we do not act now, we risk allowing another country in Africa to slip into being a failed state.”

Mr Deva concluded: “How can we commend in one moment the worthiness of Somaliland, a nation that has, as a functioning reality, been independent for more than 25 years; an island of stability in one of the most troubled regions of the globe, and yet, when the time comes for sentiment to give way to action, the European Union is nowhere to be found?

“We must find ourselves committed to passing a resolution through the European Parliament, demanding the international community’s attention and recommending that this case be sent to the International Court of Justice.

“We cannot wait for the Commission to act. It must be our responsibility to end the perverse limbo state of independence without recognition. This must be solved, not through politics, but with the law.”

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