The UN secretary general Mr. Antonio Gutteres forwarded a report about Somalia to the Security Council on 30th August 2019.
UN secretary-general report also revealed that organized assassinations have taken root in Sool region where it is suspected that Al-Shabaab has infiltrated.
Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia
- The present report submitted pursuant to paragraph 28 of Security Council resolution 2408 (2018) and paragraph 55 of resolution 2431 (2018), provides information on the implementation of both resolutions, including on the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS). The report covers major developments in Somalia during the period 25 April to 22 August 2018.
II. Political, security and economic overview
A. Political developments
- The inauguration on 10 May of the new Speaker of the House of the People, Mohamed Mursal Sheikh Abdirahman, following his election in April, marked the end of the political impasse of the previous months. At his inauguration, Mr. Mursal outlined his legislative priorities for the House, including the delivery of a legal framework for multiparty elections, an intergovernmental relations bill and the completion of the review of the Provisional Federal Constitution. Parliament began its recess on 9 July and will resume on 10 September.
- The National Security Council, comprising the leaders of the Federal Government and federal member states, met in Baidoa from 3 to 5 June. They reached a political agreement in principle on an electoral model based on a proportional representation and closed party list system, in addition to an agreement on ownership, administration, and sharing of revenues from petroleum and minerals. At the meeting, federal member states continued to express their concern at the lack of resources allocated to them by the Federal Government. Prior to the meeting of the National Security Council, the Presidents of the federal member states had held the second meeting of the Council of Interstate Cooperation from 13 to 16 May in Baidoa. While welcoming the transition plan and recognizing the progress made in discussions on elections and resource-sharing, they urged the Federal Government to provide support for regional forces and indicated their desire to retain the right to seek external support.
- On 16 June, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali, made a first official visit to Mogadishu, which resulted in a joint commitment by the two countries to strengthen cooperation, including through joint investments in four seaports in Somalia. The release on 28 June of the senior commander of the Ogaden National Liberation Front, who had been arrested in Somalia and transferred to Thousands upon thousands of cassette tapes and master reels were quickly removed from the soon-to-be targeted buildings. They were dispersed to neighboring countries like Djibouti and Ethiopia on 28 August 2017, was a further indication of improved bilateral relations. Prompted by improved relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo”, at the invitation of the President of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki, visited Asmara for the first time. On 30 July, the two leaders agreed to establish diplomatic ties and promote bilateral relations.
- In Galmudug, a division in the leadership, with State President Ahmed Duale Gelle “Haaf” and Chief State Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shakir on one side, and State Vice-President Mohamed Hashi Abdi “Arrabey” and state assembly speaker Ali Gaal Asir on the other side, deepened owing to a disagreement over the implementation of the power-sharing agreement signed in Mogadishu on 6 December 2017. The key concerns are that the new assembly violates the regional clan balance and that several contentious articles feature in the new State Constitution. The State Vice-President remained in Adado, maintaining a parallel governance structure, while President Haaf and the Chief Minister ran the state government from Dhusamareb, the official capital. On 13 July, the President of Somalia facilitated talks between the two parties in Mogadishu, where they reached a mutual understanding on the necessity to observe the power-sharing agreement. Further negotiations between the two sides, facilitated by the Federal Government, were ongoing. On 22 July, my Special Representative for Somalia and the Commissioner of the Somali Police Force visited Gaalkacyo, where the Somali-owned peace process, along with Gaalkacyo joint police patrols and the work of the peace committee formed by prominent clan elders and civil society representatives, have contributed to establishing peace and restoring security.
- Meanwhile, political tensions continued between the President of Jubaland, Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe”, and the Federal Government. On 13 July in Lower Juba, the newly appointed commander of the Somali National Army 43rd Division, General Ali Mohamed Mohamoud “Bogmadow”, was denied entry into Kismaayo by the Jubaland Administration, which contested his appointment by the Federal Government, claiming that the Jubaland Administration was not consulted. On 14 August, the newly appointed National Intelligence and Security Agency commander for Jubaland and his deputy were also denied entry into Kismaayo and deported for the same reason.
- The political rivalry intensified in the South-West state ahead of the 17 November 2018 state presidential election. Opposition blocs raised concerns that the President of South-West state, Sharif Hassan, had been planning to hold the election in Barawe, Lower Shabelle region, instead of Baidoa, Bay region, which is the current seat of the administration. They warned that shifting the venue could split the state assembly and lead to parallel elections. Responding to those concerns, the speaker of the state assembly affirmed that the election would take place in Baidoa and requested the assistance of the United Nations and AMISOM in providing training and temporary shelter for police units tasked with securing the process. The speaker further stated that he would appoint an electoral committee composed of state assembly members to draft the rules of procedure and oversee the election.
- Little progress was made on efforts to restart talks between the Federal Government and “Somaliland”. The distancing of the two was triggered by a full transfer on 30 June of airspace control from the International Civil Aviation Organization office in Nairobi to Mogadishu, and the Federal Government’s objection letter to donors regarding the “Somaliland” special arrangement — which had been put in place in 2013 alongside the New Deal Compact to ensure a certain share of international support was allocated to “Somaliland”. On 1 July, during the fifty-eighth Independence Day celebrations, President Farmajo reiterated his call for talks between Somalia and “Somaliland”.
- The Federal Government, Sweden, and the European Union hosted the Somalia Partnership Forum in Brussels on 16 and 17 July. The Forum brought together representatives from 58 countries and 6 international organizations. Key outcomes included the endorsement of the political roadmap for Somalia by international partners, support for the transition plan, approval of the updated mutual accountability framework and support for the efforts of Somalia to strengthen its resilience against humanitarian shocks, as manifested by the recovery and resilience framework. Participants underscored the need to finalize the electoral model and make progress towards finalizing the constitutional review, ensure greater political participation of women, young people and marginalized groups and build trust through reconciliation. Side events also took place on displacement and durable solutions; women, peace and security; and innovative financing mechanisms for development. The Forum agreed to reconvene in early 2019.
B. Security Developments
- The overall security situation remained volatile and unpredictable. Al-Shabaab-related attacks continued across Somalia, and incidents carried out by alleged pro‑Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) elements were also reported. There were fewer security incidents during Ramadan compared with previous years. However, there were incidents ranging from targeted killings and “hit and run” attacks on Somali National Army bases by small teams in Mogadishu to larger-scale attacks against army bases in other regions.
- Heightened tensions between “Somaliland” and Puntland led to outbreaks of violence on 15 and 24 May, near Tukaraq, in the disputed Sool region. The military confrontation resulted in several casualties and the displacement of about 15,000 civilians. With large-scale deployments of security forces or militias, as well as provocative statements by both “Somaliland” and Puntland, the situation continued to be extremely volatile. Since 28 May, there had also been several demonstrations in Sool and Sanaag against the “Somaliland” government.
- On 1 July, five mortars landed near the Al-Jazeera gate of Mogadishu International Airport. At least 5 civilians were killed and 19 injured. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility, stating that they had been targeting the airport. The attacks, carried out on the national Independence Day of Somalia, during which extensive security measures had been implemented across Mogadishu, demonstrated Al‑Shabaab’s continued operational capability. On 26 July, the Cabinet approved the assignment of security responsibilities in Mogadishu to the 14 October Contingent, a unit formed in the aftermath of the 14 October 2017 attack in Mogadishu, working under the federal police command.
- On 7 July, two cars laden with explosives drove at intervals into the collocated premises of the Ministry of Internal Security and the Ministry of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation, in Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, in which 7 civilians were killed, including 3 senior staff of the Ministry of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation, and 27 were injured. The attack also destroyed the premises.
- On 14 July, Al-Shabaab attempted another complex attack close to the Hotel SYL and Mogadishu peace gardens, where the main checkpoint controlling the entry to Villa Somalia was located. Al-Shabaab claimed that the attack had targeted the Villa Somalia. Two vehicles carrying improvised explosive devices and three gunmen were involved, which left at least six people dead. The Hotel SYL, where the Ministry of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation was temporarily located, was also badly damaged.
- Pro-ISIL elements also claimed responsibility for three assassinations in Mogadishu in May and six incidents in June, including an attack using a remote-controlled improvised explosive device in which three soldiers were killed in Mogadishu and five in other areas of the country. In Puntland, attacks from Al‑Shabaab or alleged pro-ISIL elements against Somali security forces continued in the Bari region. On 29 May, pro-ISIL elements and state police clashed in the village of Anjeel, near the town of Qandala in the Bari region. They exchanged gunfire until pro-ISIL fighters retreated to the mountain north of Anjeel.
- On 2 May, two international staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were abducted from their office in Mogadishu by unknown armed men. The male staff member was released shortly after, while the female staff member was reportedly moved to an area near the coastal town of Hobyo, Mudug region. As a result, ICRC reduced its operations in Somalia starting on 30 July. Negotiations for the release of the female staff member are ongoing.
- In the Lower Shabelle, Lower Juba and Gedo regions, anti-Al-Shabaab operations continued. On 24 May, 10 Al-Shabaab militants were killed by an air strike outside Afgoye district. On 9 June, the Somali National Army, AMISOM and American forces, operating at an outpost near Sunguuni settlement, Lower Juba region, were attacked by Al-Shabaab. On 23 July, Al-Shabaab staged a complex attack against the Sanguni Base in Bar-Sunguuni, Lower Juba region, using vehicles containing improvised explosive devices. The exact number of casualties could not be determined, but some sources reported that four Somali soldiers and eight Al‑Shabaab militants were killed.
- Clan violence continued across Somalia. On 9 May, in El-Afweyn district, Sanaag region, at least 12 people were killed in clashes between the Habar-jelo subclan of Bi-ide and the Habar Yunis subclan of Saad at Garaad Dhidhin, prompting a public call from the “Somaliland” President to resolve the issue through dialogue. Clashes among intra-Somali security forces also continued and were reported mainly in Mogadishu and Hiraan region. Alleged Al-Shabaab attacks, particularly targeted assassinations, increased in the disputed Sool region, possibly due to Al-Shabaab’s exploitation of the Tukaraq conflict to expand its presence in “Somaliland” and Puntland.
- On 4 August, in Lasanod, Sool region, unknown individuals shot a staff member of the World Health Organization outside her home. The staff member was recovering in medical care.
C. Economic developments
- Following the drought impact needs assessment exercise, the Federal Government and international partners prepared the recovery and resilience framework, which was presented at the Somalia Partnership Forum. The Federal Government is spearheading efforts to stimulate resilience-building, diversify the economy, promote climate-smart investments and mitigate investment-related risks. The Forum acknowledged the need for innovative financial models and recognized the role that development finance institutions could have in supporting the reconstruction and recovery of Somalia.
- The Central Bank of Somalia completed the first phase of its roadmap for comprehensive national currency reform and is seeking financial support for minting the Somali shilling before April 2019. The Federal Government is establishing a centralized mechanism for all government licensing and payments of fees to improve business.
- Somalia continued to build a track record of reforms under the Staff-Monitored Programme of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In the second review of the second Programme in May 2018, the authorities gave a satisfactory performance by demonstrating its continued commitment to implementing reform measures in a very difficult environment. IMF confirmed that Somalia had: (a) made progress in building institutions and improving economic performance; (b) improved fiscal management, including domestic revenue mobilization; (c) laid the foundation for sustainable financial sector development and strengthened compliance with anti-money-laundering, and for combating the financing of terrorism; and (d) made progress towards the launch of a new national currency. They agreed on a third Staff-Monitored Programme covering the period from May 2018 to April 2019, aimed at maintaining the reform momentum and macroeconomic stability.
III. Support for peacebuilding and State-building efforts
A. Establishment of a functional federal State
- Deepening federalism
- Some progress was made in advancing federalism, despite lingering friction between the Federal Government and the federal member states. On 5 June, during a meeting of the National Security Council in Baidoa, the leaders of the Federal Government, federal member states and Benaadir Regional Administration reached an agreement on sharing natural resources, including details on the ownership, administration and sharing of revenues from petroleum and minerals between the Federal Government, federal member states, districts and producers.
- Constitutional review
- From 13 to 15 May, the National Constitutional Convention was held in Mogadishu with the participation of the Federal Government leadership and representatives from the federal member states. The convention brought together more than 300 participants from across the country, diaspora and civil society, including women’s organizations, the United Nations and the international community. It provided an unprecedented opportunity to deepen and broaden ownership of the review process and build consensus around principles and timelines for an inclusive, Somali-owned review process. Addressing the Convention, the Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khaire, described the constitutional review as a critical opportunity to promote unity. UNSOM also facilitated the participation of the Somali women diaspora in the Convention.
- Building on the momentum generated by the Convention, a joint retreat was held on 4 and 5 July, co-chaired by the Minister for Constitutional Affairs and the Minister for the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation. It brought together key political stakeholders, including members of the Federalization Negotiation Technical Committee, to enhance coordination and alignment of tasks in the implementation of the road map on inclusive politics. The retreat was opened by the Prime Minister and included discussions on the legislative and constitutional implications of the political agreements reached so far, and on the priorities for the coming months. A retreat was subsequently convened by the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs in Nairobi from 13 to 20 August and discussed, among other topics, the allocation of powers and justice in a federal Somalia.
- Prevention and resolution of conflicts
- To help defuse tensions between “Somaliland” and Puntland in Tukaraq, my Special Representative undertook several visits to Garoowe and Hargeisa in May and July. In Garoowe, he engaged with Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali “Gaas” and Vice President Abdihakim Abdullahi Haji Omar. In Hargeisa, he discussed with “Somaliland” President Muse Bihi Abdi and his Ministers in a bid to facilitate an agreement to end violent hostilities.
- My Special Representative also coordinated messages of the international community to “Somaliland” and Puntland to develop a four-point ceasefire proposal that included an end to hostilities, the initiation of dialogue between military commanders on the ground, secure humanitarian access for displaced persons and the commencement of talks about separation of forces and the exchange of detained security personnel.
- President Bihi of “Somaliland” accepted the proposal in writing, while Puntland President Gaas, having verbally accepted the proposal to my Special Representative, was reluctant to commit further without assurances concerning the withdrawal of “Somaliland” forces from Tukaraq. From 28 to 30 July, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and UNSOM launched a joint initiative to take mediation efforts forward. In a follow-up visit from 7 to 9 August, a joint IGAD and UNSOM delegation shared with Puntland and “Somaliland” authorities a set of principles that could be the basis for negotiations between the two sides. Though both sides have accepted most of those principles, some issues remain that will require more discussion and clarification.
- Efforts continued to support the development and implementation of the Federal Government’s national reconciliation framework. On 16 May, UNSOM and the Ministry of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation co-hosted a special session on reconciliation in Mogadishu, during which the “group of friends of reconciliation” was launched. Based on the outcome of the colloquium on peace and reconciliation that had been held in February 2018, a key recommendation, on establishing the “communities of practice”, was discussed in June by representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation, the international community and civil society. The communities, expected to include practitioners of conflict resolution, academics, and experts on the relevant topics, will offer practical recommendations to Somalis affected by protracted conflict.
- Support for universal elections
- At its meeting in June, the National Security Council committed to adopting into law by December 2018 the draft electoral law, which would serve as the legal basis for universal multiparty elections in 2020 and 2021. Progress was made on the drafting of the law by the Ministry of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation, with support from UNSOM. The draft law incorporated the issue of women’s representation.
- During the reporting period, the United Nations continued to support the National Independent Electoral Commission’s electoral preparations. From 14 to 16 May, the United Nations held a voter registration workshop for representatives of the Commission and the Federal Government to support the Commission in making an informed decision on voter registration methodology.
- From June to August, representatives of the National Independent Electoral Commission visited all federal member states and Benaadir to prepare for the establishment of subnational offices, including the recruitment and deployment of staff. In terms of mapping voter data, the Commission is also preparing the nationwide verification of 1,763 voter catchment areas which could be used as voter registration sites through an intensive field exercise expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2018.
- In the context of the strengthened UNSOM electoral mandate, as defined in resolution 2408 (2018), a United Nations electoral needs assessment mission was deployed from 12 to 21 May to assess the progress made since the last mission, and the preparations required for elections. The mission determined that some progress had been made but more resources were needed for the United Nations to support the National Independent Electoral Commission at the subnational level.
B. Cross-cutting issues
- Gender equality and women’s empowerment
- With the adoption in May of the UNSOM and UNSOS joint gender parity strategy and in June of the United Nations-Somalia gender equality strategy for the period 2018–2020, UNSOM further enhanced its commitment to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in Somalia.
- In “Somaliland”, UNSOM has initiated engagement on women’s political advancement in preparation for parliamentary and local elections in March 2019. That engagement included outreach to political parties, relevant ministries and parliamentary committees, and the promotion of civil society engagement. On 7 June, the “Somaliland” Cabinet agreed to ensure that a minimum of 20 percent of seats would be allocated to women candidates.
- On 25 and 26 July, with the support of the United Nations, the first state-level consultations on enhancing Somali women’s role in peace, reconciliation and the prevention of violent extremism were held in the state capitals of Puntland, Galmudug, South-West state, Jubaland and HirShabelle, mobilizing more than 360 women leaders, peace practitioners, advocates and activists. Senior political figures attended the consultations and emphasized the importance of women’s participation in all peace and political processes. My Special Representative joined the meeting in Garoowe and reassured women leaders of the commitment and continued support of the United Nations.
- Youth empowerment
- Activities for National Youth Day, commemorated on 15 May, included a youth march in Mogadishu led by the Prime Minister and a debate at the Somali National University with 300 youth activists, co-organized by the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. In addition, from 22 to 24 May, AMISOM, with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and with support from UNSOM and IGAD, organized the International Youth Conference on the Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism and Terrorism, held in Cairo, where 30 young Somalis participated.
- The United Nations supported the “Somaliland” Ministry of Youth and Sports in hosting a workshop on the national youth policy, held on 25 June in Hargeisa.
C. Development coordination
- In addition to the Somalia Partnership Forum in July, the Federal Government held a workshop to discuss how to further strengthen the aid architecture of Somalia, the Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility, for it to assume a greater strategic role in coordinating international development assistance and in implementing the national development plan, and to ensure that development partners use established multilateral systems to channel support. The consensus was reached on the importance of using the existing aid architecture of the Facility, continuing implementation of the mutual accountability framework agreed to in December 2017 and the “use of country systems” roadmap, which encourages international development partners to channel funding through the financial systems of Somalia.
IV. A comprehensive approach to security
A. International coordination and transition planning
- The Federal Government and federal member states presented the transition plan to international partners at the high-level security meeting on Somalia, held in Brussels on 2 May, and received strong support for its strategic direction. Subsequent attention has focused on the development of detailed planning across the entire comprehensive approach to security strands to implement the transition in initial priority locations, including the Mogadishu stadium and the main supply route between Mogadishu and Baidoa. Priorities for institutional capacity-building identified in the national security architecture are also being implemented in the priority locations as the first step to a national roll-out. With regard to the Mogadishu stadium, the Ministry of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation and the Benaadir Regional Administration have developed a plan for the implementation of the transition. In recognition of the key role of sports and cultural activities in enhancing social cohesion, the European Union, through the Nordic International Support Foundation, will install solar lights, renovate the venue and provide sports equipment. Regarding the Mogadishu-Baidoa main supply route, the European Union will assist with the implementation of the transition plan, through the International Organization for Migration, through early stabilization to longer-term economic development activities.
- In a communiqué issued at its June meeting, the National Security Council emphasized the comprehensive nature of the transition plan and requested that regional security offices be strengthened, to support a decentralized planning approach in the implementation of the transition plan. On 3 July, the Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility endorsed a joint United Nations security sector governance reform programme as a pipeline project, aimed at building the capacity of various security institutions, including regional security offices.
- At the Somalia Partnership Forum in July, the Federal Government requested international partners to align their support to the transition plan. They committed to maintaining the momentum of progress while recognizing that some institutional reforms would require a longer time frame to be implemented. International partners urged the Federal Government to continue implementation and complete detailed planning for the first phase of the transition plan by December 2018, through the regional security councils.
B. A comprehensive approach to security strands
- Strand 1: enabling AMISOM operations and enhancing AMISOM effectiveness
- During the reporting period, the Head of UNSOS visited the capitals of the AMISOM troop-contributing countries, except Djibouti, as part of an outreach strategy with those countries’ foreign affairs and defense ministries regarding UNSOS logistical support to AMISOM. Expressing strong support for the transition plan, the countries reiterated that the transition plan should be based on the capacity-building of the Somali National Army to ensure that security gains made so far are not reversed.
- In line with the transition plan, preparations are ongoing for the relocation of 545 AMISOM personnel from Mogadishu stadium to Al-Jazeera II and the subsequent handover of the stadium to Somali security forces. UNSOS will reconstruct facilities at the new location and provide the assistance necessary to shift equipment to Al‑Jazeera II.
- On 30 May, the African Union convened a meeting in Addis Ababa with UNSOS representatives and Kenya to discuss the latter’s offer of three military utility helicopters. There was agreement on the need for the African Union and United Nations to undertake a joint assessment of aviation requirements in Somalia, followed by the development of a statement of unit requirements for aviation.
- Major challenges persist for UNSOS owing to the limited use of the main supply routes by AMISOM. UNSOS has largely been delivering essential life support to AMISOM forward locations using its helicopters and barge services.
- UNSOS remains focused on the operationalization of the mission-enabling units. Its target is to have a total of 280 armored personnel carriers to, inter alia, help AMISOM open main supply routes in all sectors. Over half of those carriers have been issued by UNSOS, with the support of partners, while the rest are still under procurement.
- The tripartite memorandum of understanding for the reimbursement of equipment lost in hostile action has been signed by all the troop- and police-contributing countries, except Djibouti and Sierra Leone, and remain under development by the latter two and United Nations Headquarters. Pursuant to their tripartite memorandum, the claims submitted by Ethiopia, Westgate Mall siege in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013. In recent weeks, they have carried out a spate of attacks in Kenya, and Uganda for equipment lost in hostile action are currently being processed at United Nations Headquarters.
- UNSOS continues to provide logistical support to the Somali National Army. However, as at 22 August, the Army’s trust fund had a balance of $1.2 million, which can only sustain logistical support up to September 2018. Discussions are ongoing with the Member States to fill the immediate funding gaps. Similarly, the Trust Fund in support of AMISOM had an uncommitted balance of just $4.9 million.
- The United Nations Mine Action Service has trained 4,585 AMISOM troops in improvised explosive device search capacity and threat mitigation and explosive ordnance disposal. It has supported AMISOM by providing canine teams to search vehicles, luggage and key infrastructure to detect explosives. In total, 14 improvised explosive devices have been safely identified along the main supply routes, of which 12 were destroyed by AMISOM teams trained by the Mine Action Service.
- From 10 to 19 May, the African Union and United Nations conducted a joint review of AMISOM to examine how the Mission should be reconfigured in support of the transition plan. The Peace and Security Council of the African Union considered the findings and recommendations of the review in its 782nd meeting, held on 27 June. On 30 July, the Security Council adopted its resolution 2431 (2018), in which it extended the Mission’s mandate until 31 May 2019 and requested the African Union and United Nations to conduct a joint operational readiness assessment of AMISOM, which commenced on 17 August 2018 and is expected to be completed by mid-September. A review of the AMISOM concept of operations is planned to be conducted soon after.
- Strand 2: strengthening Somali security institutions
- Some progress was made in reforming the Somali National Army, as the Federal Government advanced the implementation of recommendations for operational readiness assessments. That assessment for regional forces has concluded in Galmudug, is ongoing in Jubaland and South-West state and will start in Puntland in mid-September. The Integrated Security Sector Reform Team of UNSOM and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supported Parliament’s defense committee to review a draft bill on pensions and gratuities for members of the Somali Armed Forces and other security services, in line with the national security architecture and the transition plan.
- UNSOM and UNDP continued to support the conference of ministers of internal security, the council of police commissioners and the joint technical committee to implement the new policing model. To develop a federal police plan, a drafting team was established, alongside the Somali Police Force and the Federal Ministry of Internal Security. On 11 June, the joint police programme was launched to implement the new policing model. With a budget of $42 million over four years, the programme will bring together all major donors in the police sector and be instrumental in strengthening the coordination of international support.
- UNSOM and UNDP developed a joint rule-of-law programme to support the overall framework of the “Somaliland” national development plan for the period 2017–2021. During the first phase, the programme will support community policing, training on human rights and sexual and gender-based violence, the development of a parole system and awareness-raising for police officers on the new “Somaliland” Police Act.
- The Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility approved the joint justice and corrections services and the security sector governance programmes for the period 2018–2020, on 23 May and 3 July, respectively. Technical elements of the justice and corrections model, including on jurisdiction, are due to be approved at the next meeting of the National Security Council. Nevertheless, the Federal Government and federal member states continued consultations to support the development of implementation plans for the justice and corrections model at the federal and state levels.
- On 27 May, the President dismissed the Chief Justice, while the Presidents of the Benaadir Regional and Appeal Courts were replaced on 19 July.
- A UNSOM-UNDP integrated security sector reform team hosted a strategic planning workshop for staff of the Office of National Security, to frame the institutional development and capacity-building support in the context of the United Nations security sector governance programme.
- The Mine Action Service further deployed community liaison officers to 67 villages in recovered districts across the southern and central regions to deliver risk education sessions about explosive hazards. The officers delivered 368 sessions to a total of 6,069 beneficiaries. Meanwhile, civilian clearance teams trained by the Mine Action Service safely destroyed 141 items of unexploded ordnance and 568 free-from-explosives devices.
- Strand 3: community recovery and the extension of state authority and accountability
- At a high-level security meeting on Somalia held in Brussels on 2 May, the Ministry of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation proposed the development of a local model for transition in priority areas of South-West state and the Benaadir region. The Ministry underscored that realistic, analysis-driven, strategically sequenced stabilization responses throughout military operations would be important to enable the Federal Government to earn the support of the local population and deliver public services. Under the leadership of the Ministry, with the support of the United Nations, it was agreed to start preparatory activities in districts under the control of the South-West state administration prior to military operations. Those activities included enabling access and freedom of movement, extending effective government presence and activities that enhance social cohesion and reconciliation, and enhancing research, analysis, and strategic communications.
- In May, the Ministries of the Interior of HirShabelle, Galmudug, Jubaland and South-West state finalized an outline of state stabilization plans for their respective priority areas.
- Strand 4: preventing and countering violent extremism
- Following the establishment of a national coordination office for preventing and countering violent extremism within the Office of the Prime Minister, the national coordinator for preventing and countering violent extremism identified the main priorities for further progress, with the support of UNSOM and the international community. Those priorities include an implementation plan for international legal frameworks, including the global counter-terrorism strategy and the international counter-terrorism instruments; the development of a methodology for consultation with civil society, the private sector and the Somali diaspora; and the development of a communications plan to prevent radicalization and recruitment.
- The United Nations has developed a comprehensive support package, approved by the Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility on 3 July, to strengthen the capacity of Somalia to implement the national strategy for preventing and countering violent extremism and relevant resolutions of United Nations bodies. On 28 and 29 June, UNSOM, as the first Mission with a specific mandate on preventing and countering violent extremism, participated in the United Nations High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States, held in New York, and emphasized the importance of a comprehensive, sustainable approach to human security in Somalia.
- UNSOM continues to support the Federal Government in implementing the national programme for the treatment and handling of disengaged combatants, including through establishment and facilitation of coordination mechanisms in Baidoa and Kismaayo between the Federal Government and federal member states. During the reporting period, the three rehabilitation centers for low-risk Al-Shabaab defectors supported 69 defectors in Mogadishu, 110 in Baidoa and 122 in Kismaayo.
V. Human rights and protection
A. Human rights
- During the reporting period, 373 civilian casualties were recorded, of whom 196, or 52 percent, were attributed to Al-Shabaab. Three casualties were attributed to non-AMISOM international forces, 90 to state security forces and 54 to clan militia.
- Three airstrikes by unidentified aircraft in Jubaland resulted in the death of one civilian and wounding of four civilians. Four executions following death sentences were carried out in Jubaland, and 20 death sentences were handed down (10 in Puntland, 4 in Jubaland, 4 in Benaadir and 2 in South-West state), a significant increase compared with the previous reporting period.
- In total, 66 individuals were arrested for issues related to the rights to freedom of expression and of assembly, including three journalists, one civil society activist in Puntland and one clan elder in “Somaliland”. Three television stations and one newspaper outlet were banned, while one of the television stations remains under suspension in “Somaliland”. On a positive note, the licenses of two media outlets that had been previously revoked were reinstated in “Somaliland” and a female poet who had been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in Hargeisa was released following a presidential pardon.
B. Compliance with the Human Rights due to diligence policy
- UNOPS and UNSOM supported international human rights law and international humanitarian law briefings by 20 Somali National Army instructors, trained by UNSOM, for 2,697 Somali National Army soldiers eligible for stipend payments in sector 3, South-West state. UNOPS updated the soldiers’ biometric profiles as part of the human rights due to diligence policy mitigatory measures. UNSOM organized two round tables with those United Nations entities that support non-United Nations security forces working on mainstreaming the human rights due to diligence policy within the comprehensive approach to security strands. Participants agreed to advocate for the inclusion of the policy within the comprehensive approach to the security agenda. The AMISOM-United Nations joint working group on the policy convened and discussed progress on the implementation of mitigatory measures related to AMISOM and Somali security forces. Transition planning meetings were organized in coordination with AMISOM discussing, inter alia, how to mainstream measures promoting compliance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law in joint Somali National Army-AMISOM operations. In compliance with its own obligations under the human rights due to diligence policy, the Mine Action Service organized a briefing on the policy for its personnel and discussed how to implement it within the framework of its support to AMISOM and Somali security forces.
C. Children in armed conflict
- The country task force on monitoring and reporting verified 1,426 grave violations affecting 1,239 children, including 168 girls. The violations included the recruitment or use of 723 children, 207 child casualties, the abduction of 400 children and rape or other sexual violence committed against 79 children. In addition, it verified eight attacks against schools and one against a hospital as well as seven incidents of denial of humanitarian access.
- A total of 31,532 people, including 16,610 children, of whom 8,033 were girls, benefited from protection services supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund, including psychosocial support services. In total, 817 children formerly associated with armed forces and groups, including 96 girls, were enrolled into reintegration programmes.
D. Prevention of sexual violence
- Gender-based violence remains a key protection concern, as over 80 percent of recorded incidents have affected internally displaced persons, and 96 percent of the survivors of such violence are women and girls. As at 15 August, 40 cases of conflict-related sexual violence had been reported during the reporting period, involving elements of the Somali National Army, regional security forces, clan militias, and Al‑Shabaab. Significantly, the Federal Government Cabinet approved the sexual offenses bill on 30 May. UNSOM worked closely with government counterparts and civil society to develop the bill.
VI. Humanitarian situation
- Contrary to earlier forecasts of a below-average Gu rainy season, consistent and heavy levels of rainfall that exceeded a 50-year return period for flood magnitude, have seen Somalia start to emerge from its prolonged drought. The significant rainfall resulted in a flash and riverine flooding throughout central and southern Somalia, affecting some 830,000 people and resulting in the temporary displacement of 300,000 people.
- On 21 May, a further 228,000 people were affected by Cyclone Sagar in the north, where the armed standoff between “Somaliland” and Puntland in the Sool region had displaced thousands prior to the storm. Cyclone Sagar hit western “Somaliland”, resulting in more than 70 deaths, the displacement of approximately 170,000 people, the loss of thousands of livestock and extensive damage to agriculture and infrastructure. The emergency response system of “Somaliland” provided immediate relief to those areas affected, supported by United Nations agencies, non-governmental organization, and the international community.
- The latest projection indicates an improving food security situation in areas that were affected by the 2016–2017 drought. The improvement is largely due to the above-average Gu rainy season, from April to June, supported by large-scale humanitarian assistance. However, humanitarian needs remain critical. Some 5.4 million people, including 2.8 million children, require assistance. Some 2.5 million of them require urgent assistance. Partners are reaching more than two million people per month with food assistance. More than 1.2 million children under the age of five are projected to be malnourished in 2018. Nutrition partners have managed more than 140,000 cases of severe acute malnutrition so far in 2018, about 41 percent of their annual target.
- As at 15 August, more than 6,000 cases of acute watery diarrhea and cholera, 8,260 cases of malaria and nearly 6,330 cases of measles were reported. However, the number of cholera and measles cases is significantly lower than the previous year, due to immunization campaigns conducted in 2017 and 2018. More than 1.8 million consultations were conducted by health cluster partners between January and July. Routine vaccinations for tuberculosis, tetanus, and measles are underway.
- Approximately 2.6 million people are estimated to be displaced internally. Internally displaced persons constitute nearly half of the people in need and are largely dependent on aid. Durable solutions to displacement remain a priority. Forced evictions of internally displaced persons have continued to surge in 2018, affecting an estimated 205,000 individuals by mid-August, which is above the 200,000 reported during all of 2017.
- Access remains a challenge in several areas owing to insecurity, bureaucratic and administrative impediments, as well as limited logistical infrastructure. In addition, Gu rains further impeded access, particularly in riverine areas of HirShabelle and Jubaland. A dedicated helicopter has been mobilized to reach flood-affected areas.
- Humanitarian response resources are limited. To mitigate the impact, a flood response plan was launched in May to raise $80 million. The aim of the plan is to capitalize on prevailing moisture conditions and address the food insecurity situation, which has been exacerbated by protracted drought. The Central Emergency Response Fund and the Somalia Humanitarian Fund have provided resources to kick-start the response to the drought in the north and the flood in southern and central areas of Somalia.
VII. United Nations presence in Somalia
- United Nations entities continue to be present in Baidoa, Beledweyne, Boosaaso, Dhobley, Doolow, Gaalkacyo, Garoowe, Hargeisa, Kismayo, and Mogadishu. UNSOM and UNSOS negotiated a land lease agreement with the Galmudug Administration to establish an integrated United Nations office in Dhusamareb. Meanwhile, it was agreed to open an interim office within the governmental compound in Dhusamareb for the prompt deployment of UNSOM personnel. In July, UNSOM initiated the phased relocation of its Beledweyne office to Jowhar, to reflect its mandate to be present in all federal member state capitals. As at 29 August, 152 international and 75 national personnel had been deployed throughout Somalia.
- The integration of the UNSOM “Somaliland” office and the regional coordination office in Hargeisa occurred on 1 June, with the new office located in the United Nations common compound, thereby further promoting a “One United Nations” approach in “Somaliland”.
- The Federal Government continues to promote a positive agenda, which merits the investment and support of the international community. However, numerous serious risks remain, including violent extremism, armed conflicts, political turbulence, spillover effects from the disputes in the wider Red Sea region and the possibility of further humanitarian crises. Improving people’s lives must be the guiding principle when addressing those challenges, and in that regard, the unity of Somali stakeholders is imperative to attract the continued support of the international community. I count on United Nations entities on the ground to work with all partners to help build trust among all stakeholders.
- In my previous report, I expressed my concern at the implications that the crisis surrounding the Speaker of the House of the People in the Federal Parliament would have on the overall political progress in Somalia. I welcome the resolution of that crisis in May and the peaceful election and inauguration of a new Speaker. I urge the Federal Parliament to develop expeditiously a work plan for the adoption of priority legislation that is essential in order to make progress on deepening federalism, completing the review of the constitution and preparing for elections in 2020 and 2021. I welcome the progress made towards reaching several important milestones, including initial agreements on the electoral model and the sharing of natural resource, made at the meeting of the National Security Council from 3 to 5 June. In that regard, I pay tribute to the leadership of the Federal Government, federal member states and Benaadir Regional Administration and urge them to uphold their commitment to overcoming their differences and to define collectively the federal system. I also commend the work of the Federalization Negotiation Technical Committee for facilitating informed discussions in that regard.
- I welcome the outcome of the high-level security meeting on Somalia held on 2 May and the Somalia Partnership Forum on 16 and 17 July, at which international partners expressed their strong commitment to supporting peace and prosperity, in a spirit of mutual accountability. That spirit should guide us until the next Forum in December 2018, around a set of clear and concrete deliverables, particularly those in the IMF Staff Monitored Programme, the implementation of the Federal Government’s political roadmap, the national security architecture and the transition plan. The finalization and adoption of the draft electoral law are key to set the path toward multiparty elections in 2020. Making tangible progress against those deliverables will also require: (a) formalizing the status of federal member states; (b) defining the allocation of powers, intergovernmental relations, resource-sharing, and fiscal federalism through the constitutional review process; (c) accelerating the implementation of the national security architecture; and (d) finalizing the justice and corrections federal model. A priority is for Parliament to resume and organize the legislative agenda around a clear set of priorities.
- I remain concerned at the destabilizing effects of tensions affecting the wider Red Sea region on Somalia. I call upon all stakeholders, including the international partners of Somalia, to work in a constructive spirit to support the development of a federal system and institutions within the mutual commitments agreed at the Somalia Partnership Forum.
- At the same time, the positive regional dynamics emerging in the Horn of Africa in recent months and the expected positive peace and security implications are encouraging. The commitment made by the President of Somalia and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in improving bilateral relations is a significant development. I also welcome President Farmajo’s visit to Eritrea. The announcement by the two countries to establish diplomatic relations and promote bilateral trade and investment will hopefully nurture partnerships in a region long devastated by mistrust and war. I call on Somalia and its neighboring countries to further improve relationships, including through the platform of IGAD, in the areas of economy, development, investment and security for mutual benefit.
- I am deeply concerned at the military standoff between Puntland and “Somaliland” forces and militias near Tukaraq that has escalated into armed conflict. Heavy armed clashes play into the hands of violent extremists, deplete scarce resources needed to meet the basic needs of the people and induce mass displacement of civilians who are already severely affected by a dire humanitarian situation. Political leaders should set an example by resolving their differences through dialogue. I fully support my Special Representative’s efforts and the joint IGAD-UNSOM mediation initiative and encourage all actors to provide space for the mediation efforts towards a negotiated resolution and to continue to refrain from fighting. I also strongly encourage Somalia and “Somaliland” to resume talks on outstanding issues, such as airspace control, development assistance, boundaries, and long-term reconciliation.
- I urge the leaders of Somalia to implement swiftly the national security architecture, in particular the integration of regional forces into the police and the Somali National Army, the delineation of roles and responsibilities between the various federal and regional security services, and the establishment in further detail of the principles on the command and control, size, distribution and financing of the security sector. The creation of a financial tracking system for the Somalia security sector, as decided at the Somalia Partnership Forum, is a welcome development. It constitutes the essential basis for Somalis to take over successfully security responsibilities and to strengthen protection for the population.
- I urge also the Federal Government and federal member states to accelerate implementation of the transition plan in an inclusive manner, involving all its partners. I call upon the Member States to align their support to implement the plan and call upon all parties to respect the protection of civilians and uphold international human rights and humanitarian law. The coming few months will be essential for the implementation of the first phase of the plan, which requires concerted efforts from all involved.
- I welcome the adoption of Security Council resolution 2431 (2018), which extends the mandate of AMISOM until 31 May 2019 and in which the Council decided to authorize AMISOM to reconfigure the Mission, to effectively support the implementation of the transition plan and to support the emerging capacity of Somali security institutions and forces. Their efforts, along with strengthened accountability, must be accompanied by more predictable funding by the international community and the provision of force enablers and multipliers.
- I remain concerned at the level of corruption and the role of untraceable money in Somali economic and political affairs. Progress on public financial management and financial governance is encouraging, as is the intent of the Prime Minister to advance the entire corruption agenda. I urge the Federal Government to broaden those gains by identifying objectives, practical steps, and measurable benchmarks to improve transparency and accountability in key sectors, for example relating to property rights and procurement, including in the security sector, as well as the conduct of political business and expectations of Members of Parliament.
- I am deeply concerned at the recent attacks by Al-Shabaab and ISIL. The attacks on key ministries in Mogadishu represent clear attempts to undermine the path towards peace and stability for Somalia. Somalis and government authorities remain undeterred by those acts, and the United Nations will remain by their side, continuing support to immediately restore the functionality of the ministries and to enhance security. To reduce the threat and capability of Al-Shabaab, it will be vital to implement the national security architecture in Mogadishu and throughout the country, with clear command and control mechanisms and payment of security forces. It is equally important to forge general trust and accountability between government authorities, security forces, and the civilian population.
- I welcome the visit to Mogadishu on 8 May by the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea, during which it, inter alia, considered the issue of weapons and ammunition management. I encourage the Federal Government to endorse the draft weapons and ammunition legislation under review.
- The high number of children being forcibly recruited by Al-Shabaab remains alarming. There is an urgent need to strengthen the legal framework on counter-terrorism and preventing and countering violent extremism and to support the reintegration of young disengaged combatants and young people at risk at the community level, to prevent them from joining the group. Women can also play a vital role in motivating voluntary disengagement of Al-Shabaab members.
- An independent, comprehensive review of UNSOS is currently underway to examine the conditions for success and inform strategic dialogue with the Member States on UNSOS effectiveness. The review will focus on mission management and support issues while reconciling competing demands from different clients, reviewing lines of accountability, determining a viable exit strategy and identifying better performance models. It will examine the support UNSOS will provide in realizing my Special Representative’s strategic, integrated vision in Somalia. Meanwhile, I am concerned at the low levels of funding of the trust funds of AMISOM and the Somali National Army, and I appeal to the Member States to consider making contributions to them.
- The over-reliance on air deliveries continues to deplete UNOS resources and is unsustainable. I, therefore, encourage contingents to prioritize opening and using main supply routes, particularly those essential to improving the humanitarian situation, that may include commercial goods essential to meeting the basic needs of civilians and those critical for logistical support to AMISOM.
- I am concerned that the conflict continues to exact a heavy toll on civilians. I also remain extremely concerned at the scale of sexual abuse and assaults on girls and women and the ongoing practice of female genital mutilation. I welcome the endorsement of the sexual offenses bill by the cabinet of the Federal Government — a milestone for the protection of women in the country — and encourage Parliament to bring the bill swiftly into law. In addition, I remain concerned at the conflict-related sexual violence that continues to affect women and girls, in particular, those living in settlements for internally displaced persons, and call on the Federal Government and its partners to augment and expedite preventative measures to ensure Somali women and girls can live their lives in safety and dignity. I also urge the Somali national security forces to unite their efforts and play a leading role in protecting civilians from suffering.
- Somalia continues to bear the brunt of climatic shocks. The unprecedented drought spanning more than four consecutive poor rainy seasons has displaced nearly 1.6 million people since the start of 2017, mainly from rural areas to urban centers. From 2005 to date, internal displacement has more than tripled. There are currently 2.6 million internally displaced persons in Somalia, pointing to a very low rate of return to areas of origin. Record levels of rainfall in 2018 have seen Somalia emerge from drought, only to have flooding expose other vulnerabilities. The acute crisis of 2017 and sudden onset emergencies of 2018 call for long-term interventions to address the drivers of chronic vulnerability in Somalia. The new recovery and resilience framework for Somalia aims to build support for resilience-building and durable solutions to climate-induced shocks. It estimates that over three to five years, $810 million will be needed to deliver on the highest priority interventions and set Somalia on the path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Meanwhile, the Somalia humanitarian response plan remains significantly underfunded at only 36.5 percent. Resources for the remainder of the year are urgently required.
- I thank the African Union, AMISOM, IGAD, the European Union, Member States, non-governmental organizations and other development partners for their support for the peacebuilding and State-building agenda in Somalia. We must continue to strengthen our partnership. I pay tribute to AMISOM and the Somali security forces for their bravery and for the sacrifices they continue to make in Somalia.
- I pay tribute to my Special Representative, Michael Keating, my two Deputy Special Representatives and the staff of UNSOM, the head and staff of UNSOS and the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes in Somalia for their continued hard work in very challenging conditions.
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