November 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 October 2010
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AFRICA

Somalia

Expected Council Action

The Council is expected to renew the antipiracy provisions of resolution 1897 , which expire on 30 November. A Secretary-General’s report on Somali piracy is due by 30 October. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe is likely to brief the Council. (A meeting of the International Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia is scheduled for 10 November in New York under the chairmanship of the Republic of Korea.)

Council experts are also expected to be continuing discussions on a formal Council response to AU requests for support from the UN to AMISOM presented at the 21 October Council meeting.

Also in November, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia will report on the humanitarian access situation in the country and the Council is expected to review the effects of the decision in resolution 1916 that the assets-freeze provision of the Somalia sanctions regime does not apply to the payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources “necessary to ensure the timely delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Somalia.” A briefing on the report is expected in the Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee.

Finally, the chair of the Sanctions Committee, Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller, is due to report to the Council on the work of the Committee. (Resolution 1844 of November 2008 on targeted sanctions calls for the Committee to report to the Council every 120 days.)

Key Recent Developments
On 21 October, the Council heard a briefing by the Secretary-General and Somali Foreign Minister Yusuf Hasan Ibrahim. AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra presented the AU requests to the Council adopted at the AU Peace and Security Council meeting of 15 October. He urged the Council to endorse an increase in the authorised troop strength of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) from 8,000 to 20,000, as well as an expansion of its funding from UN-assessed contributions. He also urged the Council to impose a naval blockade and no-fly zone over Somalia and to consider requesting the naval operations off the coast of Somalia to provide “more direct and tangible operational support to AMISOM”. Finally, he reiterated the need to approach the piracy issue “in a holistic manner, with a view to effectively addressing the underlying causes.” Following a private meeting with Lamamra and others, the Council, in a press statement, took note of the AU’s requests regarding AMISOM. (For more background please refer to our 15 October Update Report on Somalia.)

The Council last considered Somali piracy on 25 August. It held an open debate featuring briefings by the Secretary-General and by Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Patricia O’Brien. At the end of the meeting, the Council adopted a presidential statement which:

  • encouraged the International Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia to continue discussions on possible further steps to ensure that those responsible for acts of piracy be held accountable;
  • emphasised the need for a regular review of progress achieved in prosecuting and imprisoning pirates; and
  • requested the Secretary-General to include in his next report on Somali piracy observations possible ways to enhance ongoing international cooperation.

On 26 August, the Secretary-General appointed Jack Lang, a former French politician and professor of public law, as his Special Adviser on legal issues related to piracy off the coast of Somalia.

On 28 September, the International Contact Group on Somalia met in Madrid under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Somalia, Augustine Mahiga. Addressing the issue of piracy, Mahiga emphasised that all counter-piracy activities “must be conducted under the overall strategy of the Djibouti agreement” and that international efforts “must be delivered as part of, and not independent from, a package of balanced measures that contribute to the political stability of Somalia.” In a communiqué the contact group stressed the need to address piracy’s root causes.

On 1 October Kenya ended an agreement with the EU to prosecute suspected Somali pirates. Kenya has accused the international community of failing to deliver promised financial support to cover the costs involved.

Also in October, Lang travelled to the region and held consultations with regional and international actors. Lang said in response to Kenya’s announcement that the UN was assessing ways for the trials to resume and was discussing the problem with Kenyan authorities.

On 18 October, the International Maritime Bureau reported that Somali pirates were responsible for 44 percent of all piracy attacks globally in 2010 and had extended their reach as far as the southern Red Sea. Overall, piracy activity off the coast of Somalia had declined compared with 2009, but the number of hijackings remained at the same level.

According to EU anti-piracy naval operation EU NAVFOR, the detention period for crews captured by pirates and ransom demands have increased significantly.

On land, humanitarian access continues to be of grave concern. On 15 September the Islamist insurgent group Al-Shabaab announced that it had banned another three aid agencies from Mogadishu. (This followed its 9 August ban on three Christian aid organisations.) On 8 October, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that Al-Shabaab’s expulsion of international aid organisations affected more than 1 million people. There were reports, however, of divisions within Al-Shabaab’s leadership over whether to allow international aid groups to work in areas controlled by it.

Human Rights-Related Developments
The situation in Somalia was the subject of two debates during the latest session of the Human Rights Council (HRC). On 29 September the HRC held a stand-alone interactive dialogue on assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights in which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, and Shamsul Bari, the UN’s independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, participated. Pillay said that this was the first occasion in the HRC’s history that human rights in Somalia would be addressed by all agencies working in this field in Somalia. Bari called for a more concerted international effort to deal with the situation in Somalia, characterising the atrocities that had been committed there over a long period of time as a blot on the conscience of humanity. On 1 October, in a resolution on assisting Somalia in the field of human rights (adopted without a vote) the HRC expressed serious concern over the growing negative impact of the ongoing instability in Somalia on neighbouring nations and urged all parties in that country to reject and stop acts of violence. The resolution also extended for one year the mandate of the independent expert on human rights in Somalia.


Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is whether to extend the anti-piracy provisions of resolution 1897 and if so, whether the Council’s current approach to the piracy problem needs to be revised to better address its root causes (taking into account the concerns expressed by Lamamra on behalf of the AU and as recognised by the international contact group). Related issues are better coordination with the overall UN strategy for Somalia as called for by Mahiga and others and the AU’s request for the naval operations in the region to also provide more “direct and tangible support” to AMISOM and for the Council to impose a naval blockade on Somalia.

The prosecution and imprisonment of suspected pirates has also become an acute issue and the Council has before it the different options presented by the Secretary-General in his 26 July report .

Another key issue is the AU request for increased support for AMISOM from assessed contributions. A related question is the timing of any Council decision on this with respect to further consideration by the General Assembly’s Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and by the Fifth Committee.

A further issue is the increasingly difficult situation with regard to humanitarian access in Somalia and the impact on civilians. A related issue in terms of protection of civilians is whether the provision in resolution 1916 regarding the assets-freeze exemption should remain in place.

An additional issue related to the humanitarian situation is the Secretary-General’s recent proposal for integration of UN activities in Somalia (which is now likely to be taken up by the Secretary-General’s Policy Committee in November). This has met with strong resistance from humanitarian actors in Somalia who fear such an approach would undermine their perceived independence. The Secretary-General said in his September Somalia report that the integration proposal would be submitted to the Council.

Options
Main options for the Council include:

  • a simple extension of the anti-piracy provisions of resolution 1897, authorising states and regional organisations to enter Somali territorial waters and take action on land in Somalia to combat piracy;
  • responding to concerns about prosecution and imprisonment of pirates and deciding to take collective responsibility for this aspect by establishing an international tribunal as proposed by Russia;
  • requesting the Secretary-General to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the root causes of piracy, including for land-based projects to develop alternative livelihoods;
  • emphasising the need for greater coordination between the international naval operations at sea and international efforts on land in Somalia and encouraging these operations to provide support to AMISOM;
  • imposing a naval blockade and no-fly zone over Somalia;
  • deciding that the assets-freeze exemption should remain in place and expressing concern for the humanitarian situation and calling for unimpeded access;
  • deciding whether to support the Secretary-General’s plans for an integrated UN presence in Somalia; and
  • requesting the Secretary-General to expand the support package for AMISOM from UN assessed contributions.

Council Dynamics
There seems to be wide agreement that the existing anti-piracy provisions should be extended. But there is no consensus yet on the Secretary-General’s options for prosecution of pirates. The international piracy contact group will continue to work on this and Lang is due to present his advice to the Secretary-General soon based on his consultations with key countries in the region and Council members.

Council members also remain divided over how or whether to expand the financial support for AMISOM. But discussions are at an early stage.

The review of the humanitarian assets-freeze exemption is expected to be uncontroversial.

Most members appear supportive of the Secretary-General’s proposal for better UN integration.

The UK is the lead country on Somalia in the Council.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1918 (27 April 2010) requested a report on options to ensure prosecution and imprisonment of persons responsible for piracy off the coast of Somalia.
  • S/RES/1916 (19 March 2010) extended the mandate of the Monitoring Group for another 12 months, decided that the assets freeze provisions of resolution 1844 would not apply to funds necessary to ensure delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia and requested the UN humanitarian aid coordinator for Somalia to report to the Council every 120 days.
  • S/RES/1910 (28 January 2010) renewed authorisation of AMISOM until 31 January 2011.
  • S/RES/1897 (30 November 2009) renewed for a period of 12 months the antipiracy measures of resolutions 1846 and 1851.
  • S/RES/1844 (20 November 2008) imposed targeted sanctions relating to the situation in Somalia.

Selected Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2010/16 (25 August 2010) was on piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2010/447 (9 September 2010) was the latest regular report on Somalia.
  • S/2010/394 (26 July 2010) provided options for addressing Somali piracy.

Selected Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6408 (21 October 2010) was the communiqué from a private meeting with the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security and others.
  • S/PV.6407 (21 October 2010) was the meeting with the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security.
  • S/PV.6386 (16 September 2010) was the most recent briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia.
  • S/PV.6374 (25 August 2010) was a debate on Somali piracy.

Selected Letters

  • S/2010/451 (25 August 2010) and S/2010/452 (26 August 2010)was on the appointment of Jack Lang as the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on legal issues related to piracy off the coast of Somalia.
  • S/2010/372 (12 July 2010) was from the chair of the Sanctions Committee transmitting the report of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia on the implementation of paragraphs 4 and 5 of resolution 1916 and on impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia.

Selected Council Press Statements

  • SC/10065 (21 October 2010) was on Somalia taking note of the decisions on Somalia at the 15 October meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council.
  • SC/9988 (20 July 2010) was on the last review of paragraph 5 of resolution 1916.

Other

  • A/HRC/15/48 (16 September 2010) was a report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Shamsul Bari.


Useful Additional Sources

  • Communiqué of the 245th meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council, 15 October 2010.
  • Agora: Piracy Prosecutions, American Journal of International Law, Volume 104, no. 3 (July 2010).

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