Op-Ed:Somalia: Has UNSOM Violated the 2014 Agreement?

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres Appoints of Nicholas Haysom as his Special Representative for Somalia
UN Secretary-General António Guterres Appoints of Nicholas Haysom as his Special Representative for Somalia
Mr  Haysom will find it difficult to reconcile the 2014 UNSOM-Federal Government Agreement with the United Nations Human Rights Due Diligence Policy he had invoked in the letter to the Security Minister, writes Liban Ahmad
In 2014 the former Somali Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Abdirahman Beyle,  and Former SRSG  to Somalia Nicholas Kay signed  an agreement  on how UNSOM will operate in Somalia.  Judging the decision to render Nicholas Haysom, SRSG to Somalia,  persona non grata without referring to the 2014 agreement is an exercise in futility
On 30 December 2018 Haysom sent a letter to the Somali Security Minister, Mr Mohamed Abukar Islow, and asked for clarifications on the arrest of former Al-shabaab senior leader and people who were either killed  or maimed in Baidoa demonstrations following the arrest of Mukhtar Robow.
Article 4 of the agreement states: ” UNSOM and its members shall refrain from any action or activity   incompatible with the impartial and international nature of their duties or inconsistent with the spirit of the present Agreement. UNSOM and its members shall respect all local laws and regulations. The Special Representative shall  take all measures to ensure the observance of these obligations.”
How can Haysom reconcile the 2014 Agreement with the United Nations Human Rights Due Diligence Policy he had invoked in the letter to the Security Minister? The UN Human Rights Policy is invoked for political reasons in Somalia where Somali minorities face discrimination based on lack of genuine political representation. UNSOM has never issued statements on the alleged role of Somali security forces in Lower Shabelle clan-based hostilities. Do UN policies override agreements UN signs with countries if both parties interpret articles of the 2014 agreement in different ways?
Does Haysom have a political advisor who keeps him updated about government policies and edicts? Last year the Federal Government of Somalia Ministry of Internal Affairs issued a statement in which it had laid out reasons for the arrest of Robow.
The letter Haysom sent to the Security Minister is unprecedented in the  communications strategy of the UNSOM to operate in Somalia. It was a matter that could have been dealt with verbally. It is not clear if Haysom held a meeting with the Federal Government of Somalia before sending a letter that puts the government in a difficult position.
The Federal Government of Somalia could write a letter to clarify its policies and refer to the 2014 Agreement to show UNSOM actions create an atmosphere of poor collaboration between the government and the United Nations. UNSOM might recover from this diplomatic fiasco.
Liban Ahmad
libahm@gmail.com
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Horndiplomat editorial policy.
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