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Somaliland: Time to Recognise the Achievements of ‘Africa’s Best Kept Secret’

A demonstration is being organised in London on 22 February to celebrate the successes of one of Africa’s most dynamic democracies, and to call for recognition of this remarkable achievement.

Somaliland declared independence from the defunct Republic of Somalia on 18 May 1991, reclaiming the colonial borders that were recognised in 1960, when Somaliland gained independence from Britain and became the first independent Somali nation to join the UN. In the almost 16 years since, the country has established itself as a viable democracy and has held successful elections for President, House of Representatives and local government, as well as a referendum on adoption of the country’s Constitution. Independent election observers declared each of these votes ‘free and fair’, and the Presidential election witnessed a remarkable milestone when the narrowly defeated opposition contender conceded defeat ‘in the interests of democracy’.

In spite of these notable successes, Somaliland remains unrecognised as a sovereign entity. While the world enters another round in the protracted process of securing stability in Somalia, it ignores the genuine success on Somalia’s doorstep. In so doing, valuable lessons on Somali state-building remain unlearned, and Somalilanders are paradoxically penalised for achieving the very peace that has proven so elusive in the south.

In an Early Day Motion due to be tabled immediately prior to the planned demonstration, the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Somaliland will call on the international community “not to overlook the thriving democracy of Somaliland” as a result of the latest efforts to secure a stable solution in Somalia.

The demonstration will take place between 12 noon and 5pm on Thursday 22 February in Whitehall, opposite Downing Street.


17 February 2007

For further information contact Mohamed Maigag 07951016681


Notes for editors:

The demonstration is being organised by a committee of Somalilanders representing all the main political parties and non-political Somaliland organisations based in Britain. It is intended as a peaceful celebration of Somaliland’s considerable achievements, aimed at raising awareness of the country’s existence and right to sovereign recognition.