By: Mukhtar Bulaale
President Yoweri Museveni’s recent remarks on Somaliland show a lack of knowledge and respect for the history and legal status of Somaliland. Somaliland’s quest for recognition is not strategically wrong, but rather a legitimate and justified aspiration of its people, who have suffered decades of oppression, violence, and neglect under the Somali regime. Somaliland has proven itself to be a stable, democratic, and peaceful state that respects human rights and the rule of law. It has held periodic elections, controlled its borders and territory, and maintained good relations with its neighbors and the international community. It has also contributed to the fight against terrorism, piracy, and human trafficking in the region. Somaliland deserves international recognition as a sovereign and independent nation, as it meets all the criteria of statehood under international law.
Somaliland voluntarily entered into a union with Somalia on July 1, 1960 after gaining its independence from Britain on June 26, 1960, in the hope of creating a greater Somali state. That Somali republic that Somaliland joined in 1960 does not exist anymore as it collapsed in 1991. Somaliland has since withdrawn from that union and reclaimed its sovereignty, as it is entitled to do under the principle of uti possidetis juris, which states that newly independent states should retain the borders they had at the time of independence.
Somaliland is not a secessionist movement, which means it is not trying to separate from an existing state, but a restorationist one, which means it, is trying to restore its previous statehood that existed before 1960. Somaliland’s independence does not threaten the territorial integrity of Somalia, as it is not part of Somalia’s territory. Somaliland’s independence does not set a precedent for other separatist groups in Africa either, as it is a unique and exceptional case that has historical, legal, and political grounds.
Somaliland expects Somalia to respect its decision and reality, and to refrain from any interference or hostility. Somaliland also urges Somalia to focus on resolving its own internal problems, such as political instability, corruption, violence, and famine.
Somaliland believes that recognition will benefit Somaliland and Somalia, as well as the region and the world at large. Recognition will enhance peace and stability, foster development and prosperity, and promote cooperation and partnership. Recognition will also end the isolation and marginalization of Somaliland, which has been denied its rightful place in the international community for too long. Recognition will finally acknowledge the achievements and aspirations of Somaliland’s people, who have shown remarkable resilience and determination in building their own state from the ashes of war.
About the Author
Mukhtar Bulaale, a political scientist and a Somaliland activist.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the Horndiplomat editorial policy.
If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis, please email it to Opinion@horndiplomat.com
Horndiplomat reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations