1- The Legal Nature of Recognition:
Old International Law settled questions of title by the tool of recognition. Theories such as “ and “ declaratory” and ” constitutive” were used to debate about the nature and function of recognition. However, in contemporary international law, recognition alone is not dispositive in determining the legal status of states. Other norms of a humanizing character have entered the process of making states. To the extent however, that recognition enables a people to internationalize their claims, it is useful.
A head count of all authorities shows that the declaratory view prevails, that recognition only confirms the fact of existence of a state. It is not practical politics to refuse to recognize a state if it possesses attributes of statehood. The attributes of statehood as laid down in the Montevideo convention are a government, territory, defined population and a capacity to enter into international relations. It is evident that Somaliland possesses all attributes of statehood. It is distinct people occupy their traditional territory and the government has effective control over the population. Under these circumstances, the recognition of Somaliland is an international imperative.
2- Conformity With International Law
As indicated above, Somaliland has renounced territorial claims on other countries that the earlier Somalia had subsumed under its banner of “ Great Somalia”. It has accepted the colonial borders. As is well known, Somalia irredentism was a major source of in stability on the Horn of Africa and its removal paves the way for peace stability and prosperity in the region. Furthermore, the acceptance of colonial borders is in accordance with the African Unity “OU” policy. Fears of balkanization as a result of the recognition of Somaliland are unfounded since no new border is being created as in fact, for the first time colonial borders troubled borders are those of Somaliland. Lastly, the International Community is under Articles 55 and 56 on the UN charter. Only international attention can assist the fledgling state to stand on its own feet.
Article one of the International Bill of Rights refers to the right to self-determination, as does the UN Charter in Article 1, 55 and 56. The principal questions here are however, whether the right to self-determination is applicable in Somaliland and if it is, whether it will entitle Somaliland to claim independence. There are sound reasons why the right to self-determination should be conceded to Somaliland. First , One of the reasons behind Somaliland’s assertion of Independence is the incompatibility between Northern and Southern Regions. The incompatibility arises from distinct colonial experiences, which contribute, to a unique identity. Where the reason for self-determination claims lay in historical experiences that are grounded in colonialism, there is no reason to deny the right to the people who wish to exercise it. Second, when the assertion of self-determination does not result in changes in international boundaries and does not pose a threat to inter-state peace, it ought not to be denied to achieve the short-term goal of doctrinal uniformity. Somaliland has expressly stated that it accepts the boundaries of the British Protectorate in 1960. Third, when the assertion of self-determination is more conducive to inter-state peace, its validity is strengthened manifold. It is to be noted that Somaliland has the potential of Solving Longstanding regional disputes with Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti, due to its acceptance of colonial borders and close ties with Ethiopia.
Finally, legal right of self-determination arises upon the abuse of the political principle of self-determination. In this connection two related issues have to remembered. First , X. North “
Somaliland” had overwhelmingly reject the unified constitution in a referendum. Second, The UN, practice of conducting plebiscites prior to desalinization, as in the case of British Togo land . Under these circumstances, right to self-determination appears to be applicable to Somaliland. The exercise of such a right should also enable it to claim its independence.
The Birth of Somaliland is an inevitable result of a distinct colonial experience. It is also the result of extreme economic exploitation and human suffering . The irredentist policies of Somalia also contributed to the alienation of the Somaliland population, which never acceded to the Union in the first place. While the past can not be undone, the international community has a rare opportunity to bring peace and prosperity to the Horn of Africa. By a single act of recognition, it can end the sad sage of human suffering, enhance the prospects for peace in the region by putting and end to the Great Somalia concept, and enable the people of Somaliland to reclaim their Future.
ANIIS A, ESSA. Director
SOMALILAND ADVOCACY GROUP
WASHINGTONG DC. USA