Somalia and Eritrea
Expected Council Action
In November, the Council is expected to adopt a resolution on Somalia and Eritrea sanctions that will address the partial lifting of the arms embargo, authorisation for maritime interdiction of illicit arms imports and charcoal exports, and the humanitarian exemption, which all expire in November. The 120-day briefing by the chair of the 751/1901 Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee, Rafael Darío Ramírez Carreño (Venezuela), is expected, and the final reports of the Monitoring Group are due. The mandate review of the monitoring group is also due in November. Finally, the Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution renewing counter-piracy measures.
Key Recent Developments
On 27 September, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Michael Keating and Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and head of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira briefed the Council. Keating briefed on the latest report of the Secretary-General but largely focused on developments that had transpired within the preceding 24 hours, namely that Somalia’s Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team had announced that the electoral process would require an additional 30 days, culminating in the election of a new president by the end of November.
Keating said that the renewed delay raises a number of fears, including that the process is being politically manipulated and that it may only be one of yet further rolling delays. He said he believed that the delay had not been orchestrated by any actor seeking immediate political benefit, but warned that it was critical that the extension not create additional space for manipulation or disruption by spoilers. He also noted that under the constitution, the mandate of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was to have ended by 10 September and stressed that this should be a de facto caretaker period, with no major decisions or declarations by any of the existing institutions.
Keating also reported that the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab has continued to mount spectacular attacks against soft targets, notably in Mogadishu, which underscore the urgency of defeating the group and addressing the conditions that allow it to survive. On the repatriation of an unprecedented number of Somalis from Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, he said there were concerns about Somalia’s ability to absorb returnees, given an internally displaced population already estimated at more than one million. Concerns are also increasing about the growing number of people—close to five million—suffering from malnutrition and food insecurity, he said, reporting that only 32 percent of the humanitarian response plan has been funded.
The election of members of the Upper House began on 16 October, and of the Lower House on 23 October, ahead of the presidential election in late November. The Upper House is selected by state assemblies, while the lower house will be made up of 275 members who are elected by 14,025 delegates; these delegates were selected by 135 clan elders.
The UN, AMISOM, EU, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Ethiopia, Italy, Sweden and the UK on 20 October welcomed the successful conclusion of the state-formation process for the newly-formed HirShabelle Administration and congratulated President Ali Abdullahi Osoble and Vice President Ali Abdullahi Hussein as they took up their heavy responsibilities.
On 11 October, media reports said that guns imported by the Somali government with UN approval are being resold by arms dealers on the black market in Mogadishu in violation of the partial lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia introduced by resolution 2111 in 2013. This exempted government weapons imports from UN sanctions, required the Somali government to notify the UN of each arms shipment, forbade weapons from being resold, and required the government to report every six months on efforts to make sure the exempted arms are kept secure and to create a system to keep track of them. According to the reports, diplomatic sources revealed that between 35 to 40 percent of automatic rifles and other small arms on sale on the Mogadishu black market were imported by the government under the exemption. They also noted that since 2013, between 15,000 and 20,500 light arms had been imported; however, only 6,000 weapons had been stamped with identifying markings under a joint UN-Somali government program that began in 2014. The report explained that poorly paid soldiers are known to sell their arms to buy food to feed their families.
On 17 October, the government of Somalia sent its final report on the arms embargo to the Council, following up on its first report submitted in April, which provided a baseline of all weapons and ammunition that the government has imported since the partial lifting of the embargo.
The report of the Secretary-General on the situation with respect to piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia was published on 7 October. The report, submitted pursuant to paragraph 33 of resolution 2246, covers major developments from 12 October 2015 through 30 September 2016. It said the Secretary-General welcomed the significant progress made by Somalia and the international community in fighting piracy and noted in particular the milestones achieved in deterring attacks against large commercial vessels. He noted with appreciation the ongoing efforts to revise the Somali Maritime Code and to establish a maritime administration department, as well as a ministry of ports and marine transport.
However, the Secretary-General expressed concern over continuing attacks against smaller vessels and the resilience of the criminal networks behind piracy. He also highlighted the importance of tackling the root causes of piracy off the coast of Somalia, particularly poverty in coastal areas, and noted that many Somalis remain sympathetic to piracy, which may again receive increased support should economic prospects remain dismal. The Secretary-General reiterated his call to the Federal Government of Somalia to become a state party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crimes.
On 29 September, Chair of the 751/1907 Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee Rafael Darío Ramírez Carreño transmitted the report of the Assistant-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator on the implementation of paragraphs 23 and 24 of resolution 2244 on the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia. The report stated that delivering aid remained extremely difficult, costly and unsustainable. It concluded that the elimination of impediments, including checkpoints, to improve road access was required to enable humanitarian partners to deliver assistance effectively. Humanitarian organisations continued to advocate that AMISOM strengthen the implementation of its mandate to secure key supply routes, including to areas recovered from Al-Shabaab and in particular those essential to improving the humanitarian situation. The report concluded with a recommendation by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for the Council to renew the humanitarian exemption provided in paragraph 23 of resolution 2244.
Human Rights-Related Developments
The Human Rights Council (HRC) considered the report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia during its 33rd session in September (A/HRC/33/64). The report highlighted progress made in political, security, national and state-building processes as Somalia prepares for the 2016 elections, and identified the challenges encountered by the Federal Government in this regard; identified security and economic development as key elements of democratic processes and the protection of human rights; noted that the respect for the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities and minorities was a major challenge; and emphasised the need for ongoing support from the international community.
On 29 September, the HRC adopted without a vote a resolution on assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights (A/HRC/33/L.11/Rev.1). The resolution renewed the mandate of the independent expert for one year and called upon the Federal Government, with the support of the international community, to prepare for and hold a credible, transparent and inclusive election process in 2016, in accordance with the agreed framework and electoral model, and to continue work to establish independent, accountable and efficient judicial institutions.
On sanctions, the key issue in November will be assessing the findings and recommendations of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea and determining how to proceed with the renewal of the Somalia and Eritrea sanctions regimes and whether to renew the partial lifting of the Somalia embargo.
Relatedly, the Council will need to consider the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group mandate review in light of the mandate’s expiration in December.
Another pressing issue is ensuring that Somalia adheres to the revised timeline for the limited 2016 electoral process. The Council has repeatedly stressed that Somalia must avoid delaying the electoral timeline, while also emphasising the importance of conducting a transparent, inclusive, fair and credible process, which has proven difficult to fulfil under an ambitious schedule.
Likewise, progress must be made towards the constitutional review process and completion of the federal state formation, with support from UNSOM.
On security concerns, a main priority is strengthening the Somali national security forces and enhancing their ability to work with AMISOM in the fight against Al-Shabaab, particularly in light of AMISOM’s plan to begin transitioning out of Somalia in October 2018.
With respect to sanctions, the most probable option would be for the Council to renew the partial lifting of the Somalia arms embargo, maritime interdiction and the mandate of the Monitoring Group.
Given the reports that a significant number of government arms are being diverted to the black market, the Council could consider adding further requirements to enhance the Somali government’s performance on notifications and arms and ammunition management.
Concerning piracy, a likely option is to reauthorise counter-piracy measures initially authorised by the Council in 2008.
On sanctions, the Council is divided between those members who believe it should consider lifting the measures against Eritrea, such as Angola, China, Russia and Venezuela, and those who remain concerned about Eritrea’s other activities in the region and seem to view cooperation with the Monitoring Group as a precondition for any changes in the sanctions regime. Venezuela has also called on the Council to heed Somalia’s appeal for the lifting of sanctions on Somalia, as requested by the Somali president during a briefing to the Council in April and by the AU Peace and Security Council in its June communiqué.
The UK is the penholder on Somalia, and Venezuela is the chair of the 751/1907 Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee.
UN DOCUMENTS ON SOMALIA
|Security Council Resolutions|
|7 July 2016 S/RES/2297||This was a resolution which extended AMISOM’s authorisation until 31 May 2017 with no major changes.|
|10 November 2015 S/RES/2246||This was a resolution renewing counter-piracy measures for Somalia.|
|23 October 2015 S/RES/2244||This resolution renewed the partial lifting of the arms embargo, maritime interdiction of illicit arms and charcoal, the humanitarian exemption and the mandate of the Monitoring Group.|
|Security Council Presidential Statements|
|19 August 2016 S/PRST/2016/13||This was a presidential statement that welcomed the meeting of Somalia’s NLF on the implementation of the 2016 National Electoral Process and regretted the delayed electoral timetable.|
|7 October 2016 S/2016/843||This was a report of the Secretary-General on was on the situation with respect to piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia submitted pursuant to paragraph 33 of resolution 2246.|
|6 September 2016 S/2016/763||This was the report of the Secretary-General on Somalia.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|27 September 2016 S/PV.7778||This was a briefing on Somalia.|
|Security Council Press Statements|
|28 September 2016 SC/12538||This press statement expressed regret at the 26 September announcement by the Federal Indirect Election Implementation Team that the timetable for the 2016 electoral process required a further extension.|
|Sanctions Committee Documents|
|29 September 2016 S/2016/827||This letter contained the report of the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator on the implementation of paragraphs 23 and 24 of resolution 2244 on the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia.|