WHY SOMALILAND NEEDS RECOGNITION
By Shamirah Abdallah
Almost 26 years now since a peaceful country self-declared its independence but still not internationally recognized. Somaliland now led by President Ahmed Mohammed Mahamoud earned its independence on 18 May, 1991 which natives celebrate yearly though the world still recognizes it as just an autonomous region of Somalia.
Somaliland lies in the northwestern part of Somalia, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden. It is bordered by the Puntland state of Somalia to the east, Djibouti to the northwest and Ethiopia to the south and west.
Sources show that, after 26 June, 1960 when Somaliland liberated itself from the British, they decided to join Somalia which was then led by a Somali military officer called SiadBarre who had taken office on 21 October, 1969 with an interest of pursuing the dream of the greater Somali state encompassing all the five territories inhabited by the people of Somali ethnic origin.
But due to Barre’s dictatorship and harsh styles of governance, being uneducated and not a patriot as some Somalis say, forced the Somalilanders to change their minds and want to stand independent as they had acquired independence from the British already. The separation took place on 18 May, 1991 and Somaliland declared itself independent from Somalia which led to the outbreak of the civil war.
About 50,000 people were brutally murdered during the cause. Barre’s soldiers were ordered to move from house to house picking the men and boys and took them up on the mountains where they were shot dead causing a lot of suffering and misery. Women were raped and houses were broken down leaving the women and children homeless.
According to the Commission chair,Khadar Ahmed,the remains of the deceased are up to date being found and the recent ones were dug from the mass graves in Berbera (Somaliland) when Somaliland’s war crimes investigation Commission teamed up with the international team of forensic investigators to exhume the remains as a matter of dignity and respect for the dead who were dumped in pits without ceremonies.
There are some outstanding reasons why Somaliland should be granted recognition that it has long sought for internationally including the following:
Somaliland had got its independence from the British and just desired to be one with Somalia which did not work out therefore, there is no reason as to why it is denied recognition and just regarded as an autonomous part of Somalia.
Somaliland has a currency of its own. The country uses shillings known as (Soomaaliland shiling) and dollars that is used during trade transactions within the country.
The country also has trained and equipped army and police force responsible for keeping peace and security in the country. These skilled personnel have been able to keep the country a safe place for everyone without any external support for nearly 26 years now.
More so, Somaliland has a governing body located in the capital city (Hargeisa) with absolute sovereignty. The body has managed to run Somaliland in such a way that there has been no conflicts neither political nor tribal that could cause destruction.
The country engages in the diplomatic operations with the United Nations, the Arab League and the European Union and also does legal contracts with foreign corporations. The country is by far peaceful in contrast to Somalia, and has been able to stand on its own for the past 25 years.
In addition, Somaliland has a lot of beautiful sightseeing places that have attracted people from all over the world to come for adventure. Such places like; LaasGeel meaning ‘a source of water for camels’ which is the number one tourist attraction in Somaliland. LaasGeel, are cave formations on the rural outskirts of Hargeisa, Somaliland containing some of the earliest paintings in the Horn of Africa. Other places are; Berbera Coastline, Daallo Forests and Mountains, The Old City of Zeila and many others.
Despite all the happenings, because of the injustices committed to the country by Somalia, all that which Somaliland needs is to be recognized as a country internationally.