Press Release:Expatriate Community of Somaliland Statement

Press Release:Expatriate Community of Somaliland Statement

Press Release

Expatriate Community of Somaliland Statement

April 12, 2008

Over the years the Somaliland expatriate community has been instrumental in supporting initiatives on towards democratization, self-determination and recovery undertaken by the fledgling state for the past 17 years. In the past, this has manifested itself in a number of ways including;

  • Both high-level and root based support towards the cause of obtaining recognition for a Republic of Somaliland built on a foundation of rule of law, accountability (including government), protection of civilians and the freedom of expression.
  • Peaceful mediation and reconciliation: the wider expatriate community has been involved in a number of initiatives aimed at ensuring dialogue between all relevant stakeholders, including on the importance of ensuring compliance with constitutional mandates and responsibilities on the political front.

In this context, the Expatriate Community categorically rejects and deplores the unlawful unilateral decision taken by Somaliland’s House of Elders (The Guurti) to extend the Presidential term by one year on Thursday, 10 April.

The Expatriate Community views this extremely fractious decision taken by the Guurti as jeopardizing the peace, stability and security of the fledgling state. Moreover, given the full agreement between the National Electoral Commission and all three parties of the State – the decision had no basis. The very legitimacy of the Guurti remains in question given the unconstitutional and controversial extension of mandate given to them unilaterally by President upon the expiration of their term of office last year.

Following the recent reports of explosions in Hargeisa, the Expatriate Community also urges all vested parties to engage in a full and transparent dialogue, including at the appropriate level by the International Community. At the same time, unfounded and uncorroborated allegations being leveled at various actors, including the opposition parties of the state should stop immediately.

Specific Recommendations

1. Government Responsibility: President Dahir Riyaale Kahin and his administration must fully obey the will of the people of Somaliland, its constitution and laws, and peacefully relinquish power upon the expiration of their term on May 15, 2008.

A reckless disregard of both the will of the people and the rule of law will have very grave and serious consequences destabilizing the very existence of Somaliland and squandering any remaining hopes for international recognition.

2. Rule of Law: The Government must fully comply with the Rule of Law, including its obligations under international law to ensure appropriate access to justice and fair trial. Specifically, we urge the government to release all political detainees incarcerated over past several days on unfounded allegations, including for expressing opposition to the recent Guurti decision.

Any further escalation of tactics aimed at silencing democratic freedom of expression, including summarily detaining political opposition members (or other innocent civilians), members of the press and propagation of false accusations, will expedite the ongoing deterioration of the overall environment and will lead to the downfall of this increasingly oppressive regime.

3. Civil Disobedience: We urge the people of Somaliland to exercise their full rights and vigorously oppose this attempt at unlawful usurpation of power through any peaceful means at their disposal. This may include orderly and peaceful mass demonstrations, civil disobedience/sit-ins, refusal to pay taxes or other Government levies – until such a time as the will of the people is respected.

4. International/Donor Support: Building on the recent discussions between the political parties, the electoral commission and representatives of the donor community, the international/donor community must immediately mobilize high-level political support towards opening appropriate dialogue and mediation. Given the significant leverage wielded by the donor community, including through the provision of financial and diplomatic support, much can be achieved through timely and targeted interventions at the appropriate levels.