The government of the new state of Somaliland decided today to exclude South Africa from Commonwealth countries which will enjoy a 15 percent preferential trade tariff with Somaliland.

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An official spokesman said the decision had been taken because of South Africa’s racial policy.


Source: Coventry Evening Telegraph, Wednesday, June 29, 1960

Somaliland/South Africa

Somaliland Ban On South Africa - ArchivesSomaliland Ban On South Africa - Archives

Coventry Evening Telegraph, Wednesday, June 29, 1960

About The Republic of Somaliland (former known as the British Protectorate of Somaliland)

Over half a century ago, on 26th June 1960, the hard-fought struggle for the self-determination of the Somaliland people was finally realized as the country won its independence from the British Empire, making Somaliland, one of the oldest sovereign nations on the African continent, and the 12th country to receive their independence.  The achievement was recognized by 36 other countries, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The Republic of Somaliland is a sovereign, democratic State in the Horn of Africa, sharing its borders with Djibouti to the West, Ethiopia to the South, Somalia to the East, and the Gulf of Aden to the North. Somaliland has a coastline of 850,800 km. It encompasses the territory of the former British Protectorate of Somaliland whose borders were established by international treaties between 1888 and 1897.

Somaliland achieved its full independence from the United Kingdom on 26 June 1960, becoming the 12th African Country to do so. It voluntarily entered a union with Somalia in July 1960. However, following a civil war and the collapse of Somalia, it withdrew from the union and reclaimed its independence on 18 May 1991.

Since 1991, Somaliland has lobbied the international community to accept the de facto independence, it has enjoyed for the last 30 years.

The governments of Somaliland and Somalia initiated a dialogue in 2012 with a view to clarifying their future relationship, but the talks collapsed in 2015 because Somalia failed to implement what had been agreed and showed an absence of good faith. Attempts to resurrect the talks, in the last one being in 2016, have so far proved fruitless, although Somaliland being ready to reengage should Somalia show by its gestures and behavior that it is prepared to take the process seriously.

Somaliland continues to assert its sovereignty and independence to the international community. Somaliland argues that it is not looking for recognition, but rather ‘re-recognition’ since it was granted independence as a British protectorate in 1960, five days before it agreed to merge with Somalia.

Somaliland wants the international community to re-recognize its decision to end the voluntary union with Somalia, in line with other African precedents and accordingly with the African Union (AU)’s principle of “respect[ing] the borders existing on (…) achievement of independence” (Charter of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Resolution AHG/Res.16(I), July 1964).

The AU Commission sent a fact-finding mission to Hargeisa in 2005 to investigate the case for Somaliland becoming a member, and therefore being recognized as a State. The delegation then recommended that Somaliland be treated as a special case. But in 2007, the AU accepted the argument put forward by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia that the time was not ripe. The AU has not looked at the matter since.

Whilst Somaliland remains a ‘State-in-waiting’, it nevertheless continues to satisfy all the criteria for statehood in customary international law. It possesses a permanent population, a defined territory, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other States. In 2016, over a million Somalilanders signed a petition supporting the country’s recognition.

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