September 2013 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 August 2013
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AFRICA

Somalia

Expected Council Action

In September, the Council expects a briefing regarding the first report of the Secretary-General on the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to be followed by consultations. The Council is also scheduled to receive a quarterly report from the AU on the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Key Recent Developments

The Council last addressed Somalia on 24 July with the adoption of resolution 2111, reauthorising the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) until 25 November 2014 (S/PV.7009). Previously, Council members considered the SEMG reports during consultations on 18 July. The Somalia report (S/2013/413) was released on 12 July, but due to initial objections by Russia, release of the Eritrea report (S/2013/440) was delayed until 24 July. On 23 July, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) acknowledged the report but expressed its wish to be consulted on the findings and conclusions of future SEMG reports prior to their publication.

Since the 19 June attack on the UN Development Programme (UNDP) compound by Al Shabaab, which resulted in more than 20 deaths, terrorist bombings and targeted assassinations have continued to plague Mogadishu. On 24 July, Al Shabaab claimed it had carried out more than 50 attacks in Mogadishu during the preceding two weeks. On 29 July, the Council issued a press statement condemning the Al Shabaab attack on the Turkish embassy, which killed three people (SC/11080).

On 1 August, the semi-autonomous state of Puntland announced that it would cut off all links with the FGS. A 5 August official statement by the Puntland administration reads: “The fragmented country has been plunged back into a vicious cycle of violence, displacement, clan animosities …and a complete disregard for the country’s genuine Provisional Federal Constitution …Puntland hereby suspends all cooperation and relations with (the) Federal Government of Somalia”. The statement also accused the FGS of failing to equitably share power, resources and foreign aid. Despite the severing of ties, Puntland is nonetheless planning to participate in the international donor conference “A New Deal for Somalia” on 16 September in Brussels.

On 4 August, AMISOM’s troop-contributing countries, Ethiopia, Somalia and the AU met in Kampala, Uganda, and issued a communiqué outlining several decisions regarding Jubaland, the FGS, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and AMISOM:

  • control over the Kismayo seaport and airport must be given to the FGS;
  • discussions between the FGS and representatives of the Juba regions should be “fast tracked and made inclusive”;
  • efforts by FGS to engage stakeholders in the Juba regions in political dialogue should be supported;
  • IGAD should continue to play a mediation role in line with the five principles outlined in its communiqué of 3 May; and
  • the FGS will be supported in establishing authority over the Juba regions, particularly control over federally owned infrastructure.

At press time, a resumption of talks between Ahmed Madobe, president of the unrecognised state of Jubaland, and a high-level FGS delegation was expected to take place in Addis Ababa under the auspices of IGAD.

On 14 August, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) announced the immediate closure of all programmes in Somalia. MSF had provided medical assistance in Somalia since 1991, with 1,500 staff members recently working throughout the country treating approximately 50,000 people per month. In a statement published on 20 August, MSF explained its decision to withdraw from Somalia:

… the very parties with whom we had been negotiating minimum levels of security tolerated and accepted attacks against humanitarian workers. In some cases, they were actively supporting the criminal acts against our staff …. Acceptance of violence against health workers has permeated Somali society and this acceptance is now shared by many armed groups and many levels of civilian government, from clan elders to district commissioners to the Federal Somali Government.

At a Geneva press conference on 16 August, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released statistics regarding sexual violence in Somalia. According to OCHA, there were 800 reported cases of sexual violence in Mogadishu during the first half of the year. Last year, there were at least 1,700 people affected by sexual violence in Somalia, according to the Office of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. UNICEF stated that about one-third of the victims of sexual violence in Somalia are children. One recent alleged victim, has publicly accused the Somali National Security Forces of abducting her and then handing her over to AMISOM troops at the Masiah compound, where she was allegedly drugged and repeatedly raped. In a statement released 15 August, AMISOM announced a joint investigation with the FGS.

On 26 August, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the AU, in close consultation with FGS, began a jointly-led review of AMISOM.  The mission, which is anticipated to last two weeks including trips to Addis Ababa and the four sectors of AMISOM deployment within Somalia, is also expected to establish benchmarks for a possible future UN peacekeeping operation.  In terms of output, the joint mission’s goal is to produce a new UN-AU strategic framework to be presented by 10 October for consideration by the Council and the AU Peace and Security Council.  

Human Rights-Related Developments

The Human Rights Council (HRC) during its 24th session (9-27 September) is due to hold a stand-alone high-level interactive dialogue to explore how all stakeholders can work more effectively on the realisation of human rights in Somalia (A/HRC/DEC/23/114). During its 24th session, the HRC will also consider the report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia (A/HRC/24/40) and a report by the HRC Working Group on the use of mercenaries on its visit to Somalia last December (A/HRC/24/45/Add.2).

On 19 July, the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) urged Somalia to review a draft media law to ensure its conformity with international human rights standards. OHCHR expressed several concerns about the proposed law, saying the vague language and broad categories contained in the draft legislation could easily be used to curtail freedom of expression. The bill includes a provision allowing for the suspension of journalists who have merely been accused of violating the media legislation. The draft also requires journalists to reveal their sources if published information arouses public sentiment. Furthermore, OHCHR said the composition of the regulatory body that would be established by the law and the selection process for its members does not guarantee its independence. (Following a request from the National Union of Somali Journalists, a technical expert committee on re-drafting the media bill was launched on 28 July to revise the draft legislation before its submission to the federal parliament.)

 Key Issues

The Council will be principally focused upon UNSOM’s progress during its first three months of deployment, including steps it has taken toward coping with the evolving security situation in Mogadishu and the rest of Somalia.

Another issue for the Council is UN-AU relations, particularly within the context of ongoing differences over AMISOM’s support package and mandate. The human rights record of AMISOM troops could also be a point of increasing contention.

Difficulties implementing a federal system in relation to Somaliland, Puntland, and Jubaland among other areas, is likely to be a subject of recurring concern for Council members.

Options

Given the difficult operational environment, the Council could request a special briefing from the UN Department of Safety and Security regarding safety measures implemented since the 19 June attack in Mogadishu. 

The Council may wish to consider issuing a press statement in support of the 16 September international donor conference in Brussels hosted by the EU.

Council and Wider Dynamics

The Council has exhibited a high degree of unity with respect to policymaking on Somalia during the last few months. Perhaps no clearer expression of unanimity has been the issuance of three press statements and a presidential statement—each requiring consensus—in June and July. 

However, as difficulties become evident in implementing resolution 2093 of 6 March (which partially lifted the arms embargo, reauthorised AMISOM and established the structural parameters for UNSOM), earlier divisions among Council members may re-emerge (e.g. regarding modification of the arms embargo).

The UK is the penholder on Somalia, and the Republic of Korea is the chair of the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee.

UN DOCUMENTS ON SOMALIA

Security Council Resolutions
24 July 2013 S/RES/2111 This resolution reauthorised the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group until 25 November 2014.
2 May 2013 S/RES/2102 This resolution created UNSOM and authorised its deployment for one year as of 3 June 2013.
6 March 2013 S/RES/2093 This resolution authorised AMISOM deployment until 28 February 2014 and partially lifted the arms embargo on Somalia.
Security Council Presidential Statement
6 June 2013 S/PRST/2013/7 This presidential statement expressed support for the deployment of UNSOM and addressed other recent developments in Somalia.
Secretary-General’s Report
31 May 2013 S/2013/326 The most recent report of the Secretary-General on Somalia.
Security Council Meeting Records
24 July 2013 S/PV.7009 This was the record of the meeting during which resolution 2111 was adopted.
6 June 2013 S/PV.6975 This was a briefing on Somalia by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.
2 May 2013 S/PV.6959 This meeting concerned the creation and authorisation of UNSOM.
Security Council Press Statements
29 July 2013 SC/11080 This press statement condemned the suicide car bomb attack against the Turkish embassy in Mogadishu.
19 June 2013 SC/11039 Condemned the attack by Al Shabaab on the UDNP compound in Mogadishu.
13 June 2013 SC/11032 This press statement concerned the situation in the Juba regions of Somalia.
Sanctions Committee Documents
24 July 2013 S/2013/440 This letter transmitted the Eritrea report of the Monitoring Group.
12 July 2013 S/2013/415 This letter transmitted the report of the Emergency Relief Coordinator.
12 July 2013 S/2013/413 This letter transmitted the report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia.
Human Rights Council Documents
1 July 2013 A/HRC/24/45/Add.2 This report concerned a mission to Somalia on 8-14 December 2012 by the Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries.
28 June 2013 A/HRC/DEC/23/114 This report concerned assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights.
Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General
Nicholas Kay (UK)

Special Representative of the AU and Head of AMISOM
Mahamat Salah Annadif (Chad)

Size and Composition of AMISOM
Authorised strength: 17,731 total uniformed personnel. The main contingents are from Uganda (6,223 troops), Burundi (5,432 troops), Kenya (4,040 troops*), Djibouti (999 troops) and Sierra Leone (850 troops), with 490 police from eight countries.
*A Kenyan battalion is in the process of withdrawal; the number is approximate.

Useful Additional Resource

Communiqué, Heads of State and Government of the Troop-Contributing Countries of AMISOM, Ethiopia and Somalia, 4 August 2013.