An in-depth study written by Hibak Jama explores the obstacles behind the non-recognition of Somaliland. This study that was originally titled – Self-determination in Africa: A Case Study of Somaliland – investigates the obstacles that prevent the international community to grant Somaliland official recognition. The study assumes that most of these obstacles are political more than legal.

Self-Determination In Africa: A Case Study Of Somaliland

By Hibak Jama Institute Of Diplomacy and International Studies University Of Nairobi





Chapter One

Background of the Study

1.1 Introduction

1.2 The Statement of the Research Problem

1.3 Research Questions

1.4 Theoretical Framework

1.5 Literature Review

1.6 Justification of the Study

1.7 Scope of the Study

1.8 Hypothesis

1.9 Methodology

1.10 Chapter Outline

Chapter Two

A Conceptual Analysis of Self Determination

2.1 Introduction

2.2 The Context of the Right to Self-Determination

2.3 Socio-Economic and Political Right to Self Determination

2.4 Self-determination in Africa

2.5 Self Determination in Eastern Europe

Chapter Three

Territorial Integrity and the Management of Self Determination

3.1 Introduction

3.3 The Practice of the OAU

3.3.1 Western Sahara

3.3.2 Eritrea

3.3.3 South Sudan

3.4 Territorial Integrity in Failed States

3.5 The State Failure of Somalia

3.6 Conclusion

Chapter Four

An Analysis of the Principle of Recognition of Somaliland

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Justification for the Recognition of Somaliland

4.3 Historical Difference of Somaliland from Somalia

4.4 Somaliland and the Right to Self-determination

4.5 Self-determination from Colonialism

4.6 Self-determination Based on Gross Violation of Human Rights

4.7 Dissolution of the Act of Union

4.8 Justifications for the Non-recognition of Somaliland

4.9 The Legal Question on Non-recognition of Somaliland

4.10 Fulfilling the Statehood Criteria

4.11 Dissolution of the Act of the Union as opposed to Secession

4.12 The Geo-Political Position of Somaliland

4.13 The AU Position on the Recognition of Somaliland

4.14 The League of Arab States Position on the Recognition of Somaliland

4.15 Major Players and their Role in Somaliland Recognition

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

5.2 Recommendations


AMISOM African Mission to Somalia
AU African Union
EC European Community
EPLF Eritrean People’s Liberation Forces
EU European Union
ICCPR International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1CESCR International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1CJ International Court of Justice
NFD Northern Frontier District
OAU Organization of the African Unity
SNM Somali National Movement
SPLA Sudanese People Liberation Army
TFO Transitional National Government
UN United Nations
UNESCO United Nations’ Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNGA United Nations General Assembly
WWI World War I
WWII World War II



This study explores the reasons behind the non-recognition of Somaliland. It investigates the obstacles that prevent the international community to grant Somaliland an official recognition. The study assumes that most of these obstacles are political more than legal. However, political factors are mixed with legal arguments. The study will be conducted with a specific reference to the principles of self-determination and territorial integrity within the African continent. The study investigates the rationale for the non-recognition/recognition of Somaliland. It also questions whether territorial integrity is relevant in the context of failed states.

It also analyses the critical question of whether territorial integrity can be relevant in the case of failed states such as Somalia. It also critically analyses the policy of the African Union and the international community in the management of self-determination in specific countries. This is contrasted with their policy in Somaliland.

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