Tower Hamlets council is the third council to recognize The Republic of Somaliland after Sheffield City council, April 2014, and Cardiff City council, March 2015.
Tower Hamlets council has officially pledged its support for Somaliland as an independent state.
But some were not happy at it being discussed, arguing a local council meeting was not the place to debate international affairs.
A motion to support the state came from Cllr Amina Ali (Lab, Bow East), who spoke about the importance of the issue to the borough’s Somali community.
She said: “This council believes that Somalilanders have made a significant contribution to Tower Hamlets and are one of the oldest communities in the borough.
“This council should be strongly urged to support the growing pressure to recognize Somaliland as an independent state, allowing it a seat at the United Nations.
“The council resolves to support the campaign to recognize Somaliland as an independent state. Support for this motion will show the council has listened to the Somaliland community in Tower Hamlets.”
Somaliland declared independence from the Republic of Somalia in 1991, but has not yet been recognized by either the UN or the African Union.
Mayor John Biggs added his support to Cllr Ali’s motion, while deputy mayor Cllr Sirajul Islam said: “The Somaliland community has made a good contribution to Britain, so recognizing it today is immensely important.”
The motion also had support of the independents.
Referring to the problem of pirates off the coast of Somalia, Cllr Rabina Khan (Ind, Shadwell) said recognizing Somaliland as a state would be an important step.
She said: “The MEP Godfrey Bloom said one way of addressing the problem of pirates is to recognize the country of Somaliland.
“Is it not in our interests to support that part of the world that wants peace and prosperity?”
But Conservative councilors were unhappy that the motion was even brought to council.
Cllr Chris Chapman (Con, Blackwall, and Cubitt Town) said it was the party’s view that it was not within the council’s remit to discuss international affairs.
Moments later, Cllr Andrew Wood (Con, Canary Wharf) took to Twitter and sarcastically trashed the motion.
He tweeted: “This is why I got elected as a local ward councilor for Canary Wharf – to discuss whether or not to recognize a foreign state.
“We have a large Spanish community, should we discuss Catalan independence? What about Nigerians and Biafra or Chinese and Taiwan?
“Time spent on Somaliland is time not spent on truly local issues that affect all residents.”
The motion then went to a vote, which was passed by all Labor and Independent councilors, with Conservatives abstaining.
Such was the flurry of people leaving the public gallery after the motion was passed, the meeting was adjourned for 10 minutes.
- The UNIQUE Case For The International Recognition Of Somaliland
- The World Can Learn From How Somaliland Overcame Militias
- Somaliland: The Little Country That Could By David Shinn
- Somaliland Declaration On The Origin Of African Borders
- Masuuliyiinta Xidh-Xidhan Iyo Dareemada Dhagarta Xambaarsan Ee Laga Soo Werinayo Dhinaca Madaxtooyada
- Somaliland Is A Beacon Of Democracy In An Unstable Region