Expected Council Action
Somalia will be on Council members’ minds as the country approaches the 20 August deadline for the transition to permanent federal institutions. It is likely that the Council will request a briefing on the political situation in Somalia following the transition. A press statement is also possible.
The authorisation for the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) expires on 31 October.
Key Recent Developments
Council members received a briefing in consultations on 24 July from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Augustine Mahiga who addressed current political developments in Somalia. As part of the same consultations, the Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee chair, Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri (India) briefed Council members on the work of the Committee and presented two separate reports of the sanctions Monitoring Group (on Eritrea and on Somalia).
From 2 to 3 July, the International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia met in Rome. In its communique, the ICG “reiterated its firm determination that the Transition ends on 20 August.” The ICG expressed concern over missed deadlines, but commended the advances made by AMISOM and others against the Islamist rebel group Al-Shabaab. The communique also noted that Mahiga and Hussein Arab Isse, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), had signed an action plan for halting recruitment and use of children by the armed forces.
In Mogadishu, the transitional process faced delays after the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) failed to convene on schedule. According to news reports, the 135 traditional leaders responsible for selecting the 825 members of the NCA had withheld their selections due to concerns over the draft constitution. On 18 July, the TFG announced that the leaders had agreed on changes to the constitution. On 23 July, the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU urged Somali leadership and other stakeholders to meet the 20 August deadline and demanded the immediate convening of the NCA. On 25 July, the NCA convened and began 9 days of discussions on the constitution. Ratification of the draft constitution is expected in early August.
At press time Council members were scheduled to hold an interactive dialogue with the Somali Foreign Minister Abdullahi Haji Hassan on 31 July, to be updated on political developments in Somalia.
Also on 25 July, the Council adopted resolution 2060, renewing the mandate of the Monitoring Group on Eritrea and Somalia for a period of 13 months and extending the humanitarian exemption to the sanctions regime for a period of 12 months. The resolution continued measures added to the Monitoring Group’s mandate by resolutions 2002 and 2023, as well as the charcoal ban contained in resolution 2036. Additionally, the resolution provided an exception to the arms embargo in Somalia for military equipment for the support of or use by the UN Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS), and to the arms embargo in Eritrea for non-lethal weapons or equipment intended for humanitarian or protective use, in both cases as approved in advance by the Sanctions Committee. The resolution also reiterated that the transition will not be extended beyond 20 August, and welcomed the recommendation of the Monitoring Group that a Joint Financial Management Board be established for Somalia.
In its report on Eritrea (S/2012/545), the Monitoring Group said it found no evidence that Eritrea was directly supporting Al-Shabaab. Nonetheless, the report argued that in all other respects Eritrea had failed to comply with Security Council resolutions and remained a destabilising force in the region.
In its report on Somalia (S/2012/544), the Monitoring Group called attention to the behaviours of spoilers, highlighting “pervasive corruption within the transitional federal institutions.” The report reiterated the findings of the World Bank that nearly 70 percent of TFG revenue between 2009 and 2010 was unaccounted for. In response, President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed accused the Monitoring Group of being “against peace in Somalia.” The report also related that the pirate leader Mohamed Abdi Hassan “Afweyne” had been found travelling on a diplomatic passport issued by the TFG with the full knowledge of the President. At press time the Foreign Minister of Somalia, scheduled to address Council members on the political situation in Somalia on the morning of 31 July, was also expected to brief the Sanctions Committee that afternoon.
The Secretary-General’s report on resolutions 1844, 1862, 1907 and 2023 (S/2012/412), which demanded that Eritrea cease all efforts to destabilise other states and engage constructively to resolve its border dispute with Djibouti, was originally published on 8 June before being withdrawn and has not at press time been re-released (for more details please refer to our July Monthly Forecast.)
In an 11 July communique, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) “expressed concern on the possible proliferation of reports on Somalia,” and asked that any reports be held in abeyance until after the transition.
On 29 June the AU and Uganda signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the deployment of a Formed Police Unit consisting of 140 police personnel to Somalia as part of AMISOM. On 11 July, the AU signed an additional Memorandum of Understanding with Djibouti to deploy a reinforced battalion of 1,000 troops to AMISOM. A car bomb in Mogadishu on 16 July killed a former minister and injured six others. On 17 July, TFG troops supported by AMISOM attacked an Al-Shabaab camp in the Gedo region, killing four militants and recovering a cache of weapons.
In remarks to the press in advance of the 20 July anniversary of the declaration of famine in Somalia, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, warned that more than 2.5 million people remained in need of aid. The same day, the UN refugee agency reported the Somali refugee population in neighbouring countries had surpassed 1 million people. The Emergency Relief Coordinator’s report (S/2012/546), transmitted to the Council on 13 July, cautioned that “the non-renewal of the humanitarian exemption might result in delays in the delivery of humanitarian assistance in areas controlled by non-state armed groups.”
Human Rights-Related Developments
On 6 July in a resolution on human rights assistance to Somalia, the Human Rights Council (HRC) expressed its continued serious concern at the human rights and humanitarian situation in Somalia. The HRC resolution, adopted without a vote, strongly condemned grave and systematic human rights abuses committed against the population, in particular by Al-Shabaab and its affiliates, and called for all parties to take immediate steps to protect women and children. The HRC also extended the mandate of the UN Independent Expert on human rights in Somalia for one year in order to support the efforts of the TFG and Somali sub-national authorities to build respect for human rights into preparations for the post-transition period. The independent expert will report to the HRC at its twenty-fourth session, in September 2013.
A key issue for the Council is how best to support the transitional process in the lead up to 20 August, and how best to support a new administration in Somalia after the transition.
Related major issues are the problem of spoilers and corruption within the TFG, especially as a new government develops. (Many on the Council are worried that the transition will be a change in name only and that substantive changes to the composition of the Somali government will not take place.)
The continued implementation of AMISOM’s new strategic concept (endorsed in resolution 2036) is likely to remain an issue for the Council as well.
Main options for the Council include:
- simply receiving a briefing on the political situation in Somalia and taking no action;
- issuing a presidential or a press statement on the political situation in support of the transitional process; and
- specifically addressing potential spoilers and the corruption issue.
The Council enjoys general consensus on issues relating to the end of the transition in Somalia, though some differences of opinion may develop as the 20 August deadline (which all agree should remain as a hard deadline) approaches. Developments in the first weeks of August are likely to influence how warm or critical the Council might be toward Somali stakeholders. Should the signatories to the roadmap for ending the transition show progress towards the 20 August deadline without being able to meet it, there are likely to be differences of opinion as to whether or not the deadline should be extended.
The UK is the lead country on Somalia in the Council, while India chairs the Sanctions Committee and Russia has taken the lead on legal issues related to piracy.
|Security Council Resolutions
|25 JULY 2012
|Extended the mandate of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea for 13 months, as well as the humanitarian exemption to the Somalia sanctions regime for 12 months.
|22 FEBRUARY 2012
|Authorised an increase in AMISOM’s troop strength as well as a further expansion of its UN support package and imposed a ban on importing or exporting Somali charcoal.
|5 DECEMBER 2011
|Imposed new measures to prevent Eritrea from using the diaspora tax or revenues from its mining sector to commit further sanctions violations.
|29 JULY 2011
|Was the last renewal of the mandate of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea.
|8 JUNE 2012
|Was the Secretary-General’s report requested by resolution 2023.
|13 JULY 2012
|Contained the report of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia.
|11 JULY 2012
|Contained the final report on Eritrea of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea.
|11 JULY 2012
|Contained the final report on Somalia of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea.
|20 JUNE 2012
|Contained a 60-day AU report on AMISOM requested by resolution 2036.