The political map of Africa that shows its independent countries had not been made by United Nations, by African Union, or by African nations. It is the result of the European Colonial Occupation that invaded African Continent at the end of the 19th century and divided it up into territories with colonial borders for their own political sphere of influence. When leaving Africa mainly in 1960s, the Europeans based the independence and diplomatic recognition of all African emerging countries including Somaliland on their colonial borders inherited from colonial powers. Thus, the current African states is the creation of European Colonial Powers. Likewise, all the borders of the Arab World [and the rest of Asia], and South America also emerged from colonial borders drawn mainly by Britain, France, and Spain and were all recognized too on their colonial borders.
Somaliland is located in the Horn of Africa. It lies between the 08°00′ – 11°30′ parallel North of the Equator and between 42°30′ – 49°00′ Meridian East of Greenwich. It is bordered by the Red Sea to the North, Djibouti to the West, Ethiopia to the South, and Somalia to the East. Somaliland has a coastline with the majority lying along the Gulf of Aden (Red Sea). The country is slightly larger than England, with an area of 137, 600 km² (53,100 sq miles).
For groundless, unjustified reasons, Somaliland is not recognized yet. According to the unique history of the continent of Africa, an African country is recognized as an independent nation when it meets or fulfills the following three requirements:
- That it is colonized separately
- That it has its own colonial borders
- And that it has official proclamation of independence granted by the colonizing power on specified date.
Somaliland has perfectly fulfilled the three required conditions to be recognized as independent country by the United Nations and international community.
The Soviet Union that had 15 Socialist Republics created by the Bolshevik Revolution led by Lenin in 1917 broke up after social upheavals and political discontent ended its existence peacefully in 1989 with new countries emerging from it such as Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia etc. The federation of former Republic of Yugoslavia that had 8 countries broke up too after bloody civil wars [1991-1995] and new countries such as Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia etc. emerged from its ashes. All these new countries were recognized as sovereign nations by the United Nations and International community. South Sudan, which was historically part of Sudan during colonial occupation, Eritrea, and East Timor were too recognized as independent nations.
So, why do the UN, AU, and the international community holding up Somaliland recognition since 1991 [25 years] knowing that Somaliland has its colonial borders inherited from colonial powers as the rest of Africa, that it achieved independence before Somalia in 1960, and that Somaliland withdrew from the union with Somalia after Somalia committed atrocities and crimes against Humanity in Somaliland in 1980s?
African Union and African leaders claim that if Somaliland is recognized, it will shift or change the borders of current African independent states inherited from colonial powers leading to instability and political unrest in Africa. This is groundless claim and unjustified argument of African leaders to deny Somaliland of its inalienable right to independent state. Somaliland has same historical colonial borders with the African, independent, recognized countries, and achieved independence before Somalia on June 26, 1960. Somaliland recognition would solely be based on its own unique colonial borders of Somaliland British Protectorate as the independence and recognition of any African state was based on its own colonial borders.
If that claim were true, why didn’t the recognition of South Sudan and Eritrea change the borders of Africa and cause instability and political unrest in the continent? Unlike Somaliland, South Sudan did share history and colonial borders with Sudan but, at the same time, was recognized. So, if Somaliland is recognized on its colonial borders on which its independence is based today, how would that shift or change African current borders inherited from colonial powers? This baseless argument of Africa needs to end. Africa’s opposition to Somaliland recognition is unjustified. Why do African Union and African Leaders deny Somaliland of having recognition based on its own unique colonial borders while they enjoy such recognition based on their own colonial borders too? Isn’t that the height of hypocrisy?
If Nyanza Province of Kenya, or Arusha Region of Tanzania, or Puntland province of Somalia would break away from their own respective countries, that would change or shift the colonial borders inherited from colonial powers and that would create instability and political unrest in Africa because these provinces share history and colonial borders with their own countries. Such breakaways from their countries should not be recognized in order to keep the territorial and national integrity of each African country including Somaliland as well as to avoid unnecessary tribal or regional civil wars in the African Continent.
Somaliland Republic was not a province or region that broke away from Somalia as Somalia and international media blindly claim. Somaliland was independent nation when it shared the hasty, doomed union with Somalia in 1960. Before Somaliland independence of June 26, 1960, Somaliland was British Protectorate with its own unique colonial borders while Somalia was Italian colony that achieved independence on July 1st, 1960 on its own colonial borders. Somaliland was recognized by the United Nations and many countries on June 26, 1960 like the rest of African countries before sharing union with Somalia on July 1st 1960.
Knowing that Somaliland achieved independence before Somalia in 1960, why does the international community, particularly the Western World, believe in the unfounded, unjustified claim of African Union and African leaders that Somaliland is a breakaway province from Somalia? Why not recognizing Somaliland on its own colonial borders inherited from colonial powers as was done for the rest of African countries?
The recent committee designated by president Ahmed Mohammed Mohamoud [Sillanyo] for seeking Somaliland international diplomatic recognition is recommended, besides their own historical knowledge and facts, to fight the unjustified claim of African leaders that Somaliland is a breakaway province from Somalia and to use similar approach as the one detailed in this article for the speedy recognition of Somaliland. Somaliland has unchallenged legitimacy for international recognition. It does not need approval from Somalia as any other African country does not need the approval of its own independence and recognition from any other African country. Somaliland should not be confused with Puntland which is an integral part of Somalia sharing colonial borders and history with Somalia.
Somaliland government and Somaliland media must fight the phrase “breakaway region from Somalia” [domestically and internationally]. Somaliland did not break away from Somalia but withdrew from the hasty union after Somalia committed atrocities and human rights abuses against Somaliland.
Ibrahim Hassan Gagale
Date: February 28, 2016
Please read the following of British Queen’s Proclamation on Somaliland Independence published by The London Gazette on Friday, June 24, 1960: