Mar 28, 2006

Somaliland: The International Community Should Recognise and Support Right to Development

Somaliland's Foreign Minister, Mrs. Edna Adan Ismail, on importance of international recognition and co-operation in supporting efforts to promote development and stability, and further underpin unique achievements made by Somaliland thus far


Item 7 of the Agenda of the UN Commission on Human Rights
- The Right to Development -

The Right to Development is proclaimed in the Charter principles of the United Nations and in the Declaration on the Right to Development adopted by the General Assembly in 1986, which affirms that - “the right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, cultural and political developments in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms are realized”.

Somaliland was a war-devastated area following a ten-year (1981-1991) genocidal war perpetrated by the dictatorial regime of Siad Barre against the people of Somaliland. Since 1991 after the collapse of the former Somali Republic, Somaliland recovered its independence. Peace, stability and security which the country enjoys today were re-established and democratic and modern institutions of good governance, human rights and the rule of law were put in place. With little or no assistance from outside, Somalilanders started de-mining and re-building their homes and hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced persons came back to the country.

Within a decade Somaliland has succeeded to put in place all necessary paraphernalia of statehood realizing that no society can achieve social and economic progress without democratic institutions and good governance. Institutions created to support good governance include, among other things, government civil service, courts, banking system, representative legislature and civil society all adapted and involved in development of the country.

Somaliland has a great deal of potentialities in terms of natural and human resources. Its economic progress based on thriving private sector and the raising- up of the standard of living of the people are some of its remarkable achievements attested by international institutions including the World Bank, the European Union, NGOs and other institutions. Owing to its economic performance and enabling environment, foreign investment is increasing.

Regrettably, in spite of these achievements Somaliland continues to encounter difficulties, because of its status and is denied benefits of international cooperation; including international banking, insurance companies, civil aviation cooperation, technical transfer cooperation, World Bank loans and grants to it as a separate entity and development aid from donor community and denial of visas for government officials. These practices are all contrary to the spirit of international cooperation and principles of the right to development.

To achieve sustainable social and economic development and promote activities and programmes to reduce poverty, Somaliland needs more than ever before to benefit from international cooperation. The government’s policies are, inter alia, to promote health, education, training, infrastructure development, access to clean and safe water, employment, environment and rural development.

To conclude, I call upon the international community, the United Nations and other institutions to re-examine their policies with respect to Somaliland and apply without discrimination principles of international cooperation to support these rare achievements and above-mentioned policy programmes of Somaliland by way of facilitating its access to direct bilateral and multi-lateral financial cooperation.

By Mrs. Edna Adan Ismail, Somaliland Foreign Minister