Africa UN Security Council extends UNSOM Mandate until 31 May 2022
The Security Council today extended until 31 May 2022 the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), requesting it to strengthen its presence across the country “as the security situation allows”.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2592 (2021), the Council further decided that UNSOM should continue to coordinate United Nations efforts, maximizing joint approaches and programming, in full cooperation with the Federal Government of Somalia and the federal member states, focused in particular on supporting acceleration of Government-led inclusive politics.
Against that backdrop, it called on the Federal Government and federal member states to organize free, fair, credible and inclusive elections, in line with the 17 September 2020 and 27 May 2021 agreements without further delay and finalize preparations to this end. It similarly called on them to enhance — “as a matter of urgency” – broad-based consultations and consensus building on national priorities through consultative mechanisms at all levels, and with the two Houses of Parliament.
In particular, the Council urged the Federal Government and federal member states to create a conducive political and security climate for inclusive elections across Somalia, fostering political pluralism, ensuring political space for the rights of legally constituted political parties and upholding the rights to free expression, association, peaceful assembly and movement.
On the security front, the Council strongly condemned continued attacks by Al-Shabaab and urged Somalia’s authorities, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the United Nations to work closely on strengthening safety for United Nations and African Union facilities and staff.
By other terms, it demanded that all parties work to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, identify those responsible, consider primarily as victims those children who have been released or otherwise separated from armed forces and armed groups — per the Paris Principles endorsed by the Federal Government — and to cease detention of all children on national security charges where it is in violation of international law.
Further, the Council strongly condemned any misuse or obstruction of humanitarian assistance, calling on the Federal Government and federal member states to support and implement durable solutions for internal displacement, including local integration or resettlement, and to create the conditions conducive for the voluntary, safe and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons.
The representative of China said the international community is facing a major adjustment of its security arrangement in Somalia, noting that UNSOM’s mandate renewal is conducive to helping the country achieve its security and political transition. As such, China voted in favour of the resolution. However, the text calls on UNSOM to work with international financial institutions and to battle climate change through financing for development, which is inconsistent with the consensus outlined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an instrument that calls on developed countries to provide financial and technical support to developing countries. He wondered whether this was an attempt by developed countries to shirk their climate financing responsibilities. He called for duly upholding obligations and implementing climate financing pledges. Moreover, while some Council members had concerns about the text and were working to reach consensus, the penholders hastened to put the draft to a vote. “This is unconstructive”, he said, expressing hope that they would respect the views of Council members and avoid misusing their powers, with a view to maintaining unity in the Council.
The representative of the Russian Federation expressed regret over efforts by the United Kingdom to introduce additional language “on the climate issue” into the text. While drought, floods, locusts and other natural disasters compound the situation in Somalia, her delegation sees no reason to use this resolution as a way to enshrine in the Council mandate climate change activities. It also would be incorrect to make the Mission work on this issue, as its most topical efforts involve extending support to the Federal Government, assisting in the conduct of elections and transferring security responsibility to Somalia’s security forces. She called the Council’s involvement in climate issues “counter-productive”, and similarly expressed concern over the inclusion of language on human rights issues. “Colleagues from Somalia do not need to be mentored by the Security Council on how to defend human rights,” she said, stressing: “They are perfectly capable of preparing and implementing bills on this issue themselves.” Artificial recipes from outside will hardly be successful in Somalia, she asserted.
The representative of the United States commended the cooperative spirit in which they led the process. His delegation supported the text because “we remain committed to Somalia” and because tailored, appropriate support and assistance from UNSOM to the Somali people remains critical at this time of political transition. “This is a moment of tremendous opportunity for Somalia,” he said, urging the Federal Government to promote cooperation with the federal member states and to coordinate with all partners in ensuring that UNSOM remains fit-for purpose.
The meeting began at 10:14 a.m. and ended at 10:21 a.m