2. Facts to Be Known about Somaliland

The northern part of Somalia was known as the Protectorate under British rule from 1884 until June 26th, 1960 when Somaliland got its independence from Britain. Before signing a friendship treaty with Britain, the northern part of Somalia was an independent state. There were different reasons that triggered the clans who were living in the northern part of Somalia to sign a treaty with Britain. The main reason that triggered the northern part of Somalia to sign a treaty with Britain was mainly related with their fear against the expansionist movement of the Ethiopian Empire in the region. Instigated by this reason, Ise, Gadabursi, Habar Garhajis, Habar Awal, and Habal Tol Jalo clans signed formal treaties with Great Britain by the end of 1884 (Anthony & Carroll, 1993). This treaty had no clauses related to cession and it only gave to Britain the right to pre-emption (Anthony & Carroll, 1993). This friendship treaty was properly designed to maintain the independence of different clans who were living in northern Somalia and a large measure of sovereignty was enjoyed by the clans (Anthony & Carroll, 1993).

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After sixty-six years of control by the British Empire, Somaliland got its independence on June 26, 1960, and the new state received recognition from thirty-five countries including all five permanent members of the Security Council. But, the independence of Somaliland stayed only for five days. Five days later, the newly established Somaliland and the Italian Somali agreed to form a union through a bilateral treaty, though the treaty ended up with irregularities and finally Somaliland left the treaty. Both states drafted separate treaties and Somaliland sent its treaty to the authorities in Mogadishu. Yet authorities in Mogadishu did not send their own treaty to the authorities in Barbara. The draft treaty sent by the Somaliland authorities was never approved by the Southern Somali authorities and rather they drafted their own, the Act of Union, and approved by the national legislature (Paolo, 1969). In the process, the authorities in Somaliland were never consulted and did not give their consent for the newly approved Act of Union.

Declaration of Statehood by Somaliland and the Effects of Non-Recognition under International Law
1948 Somaliland Protectorate Map

In July 1st, 1960 the Somali Republic was formed by uniting British Somaliland and Italian Somali. Though they formed the Republic by joining the British and the Italian Somali territories, the union did not last for a longer period of time peacefully. The failure to fulfill the aspirations of the people of northern Somalia led the Republic to a civil war from the 1980s onwards and eventually to the collapse of the Somali Republic (Peter, 2011). Immediately after the collapse of the Somali Republic, the people of Somaliland held a congress in which it was decided to withdraw from the “Union” with Somalia and to reinstate Somaliland’s sovereignty and declared their independence. Though Somaliland declared its independence twenty-five years ago, its statehood is not recognized by the international community. Moreover, since the declaration of the independent statehood of Somaliland, the country is not yet recognized by any international and regional institutions like the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU).

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