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Somalia

Expected Council Action

In September, the Council expects to receive the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 2358, which renewed the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) until 31 March 2018. The Council will hold a briefing and consultations on the report.

Key Recent Developments

On 24 August, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, along with other UN officials, met in Mogadishu with top officials of the Federal Government of Somalia for consultations on political and security developments in the country. The Speaker of the National Assembly, Mohamed Osman Jawari, briefed the UN officials on the ongoing constitutional review process and the progress made towards the selection of the new Constitutional Review Commission of the Federal Parliament. Earlier in August, Special Representative for Somalia and head of UNSOM Michael Keating expressed concern that the committee, which will play an important role in shaping the country’s future, included no women among its members.

Minister of Constitutional Affairs Abdurahman Hosh Jibril said on 9 August that the government was set to launch national consultations on the constitutional review following a public awareness and sensitisation process to engage all Somalis and ensure that their views were represented in the new constitution. He noted that for the constitution, which is to be adopted in the next two years, to have legitimacy it needs to be taken to the public for consultations. Deliberations on the constitution will also be held in the regional states and the Somali diaspora. The minister’s comments followed a meeting he held with the AU Commissioner for Somalia, Francisco Caetano Madeira, in Mogadishu. Jibril also said that the government was seeking the assistance of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to enable it to hold the planned nationwide consultations successfully.

At a ceremony for the official opening of the second session of the Somali parliament on 9 July, Special Representative Keating welcomed the opening of the parliament and congratulated the speaker and parliament members. “The Somali parliament can make a decisive contribution to progress by passing key legislation, including the electoral law, legislation enabling a constitutional review and revenue generating laws”, he said. He added that real sovereignty for Somalia hinges on the country reducing its dependency on others and being able to raise revenues and shape its own agenda, particularly in strengthening security and the rule of law, advancing peace and reconciliation, and engaging Somalia's entrepreneurial spirit and the private sector to create jobs.

The terrorist group Al-Shabaab continues to carry out deadly attacks against security forces and civilians in Somalia and beyond. On 3 August, the Council issued a press statement condemning in the strongest terms the 30 July attack perpetrated by Al-Shabaab against AMISOM’s Ugandan contingent in Garyowein, Lower Shabelle, in which 12 soldiers were killed and seven injured during a joint patrol with the Somali National Army.

On 4 August, the militant Islamist group seized Leego town in the south after it was abandoned by the military and AMISOM, residents said. The town was the site of a 26 June attack on an AMISOM peacekeeping base housing Burundian, Kenyan and Ugandan troops; at least 12 AMISOM peacekeepers were killed. On 15 August, suspected members of Al-Shabaab killed five Kenyan police officers in an ambush in north-eastern Kenya. Al-Shabaab militants were also suspected of carrying out the 18 August beheadings of three Kenyans in Lamu county.

A former Al-Shabaab deputy leader and spokesman, Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, on 15 August called for others to quit the group following his defection in Mogadishu. “I left Al-Shabaab because of misunderstanding, and I disagreed with their creed, which does not serve Islamic religion, people and the country,” he said. Robow’s defection comes two months after the US withdrew a $5 million reward for his capture and removed him from its list of sponsors of terrorism. In early April, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” announced a 60-day amnesty for Al-Shabaab militants while also offering to open talks with the movement’s leadership. Reports indicate that roughly 50 of the group’s members, including some high-level individuals, have surrendered since Farmajo’s announcement. 

Speaking during an 18 August event to mark World Humanitarian Day in Mogadishu, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Peter de Clercq commended aid workers and volunteers for their contribution to serving humanity and averting a famine that threatened Somalia earlier this year, thanking them for risking their lives on a daily basis to save the lives of others in distress. He noted that humanitarian workers had not only suffered death, injuries and abductions but also expulsion from the country in the course of fulfilling their duties, noting that more than 100 incidents targeting humanitarian workers had been reported thus far in 2017 and that four aid workers had been killed. Somalia’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs, Mohamed Moalim, also spoke, promising that the government would provide humanitarian workers and needy civilians with protection.

UNSOM’s mandate was renewed on 14 June when the Council adopted resolution 2358, which extends the mandate until 31 March 2018. The resolution followed the strategic assessment of the UN presence in Somalia, requested by resolution 2275, that was transmitted to the Council on 5 May. The assessment concluded that UNSOM’s overall concept as a political mission should be retained, with its core tasks being to provide good offices and strategic advice on peacebuilding and state-building, to coordinate international support, to build the capacity of federal and state institutions, and to monitor and report human rights violations. However, one of the main recommendations was that the mandate should be adapted to integrate support at the level of federal member states in all areas of the mandate and that the functions of the mission’s presence at federal and state levels should be clarified. Taking note of this, the resolution requested UNSOM to implement its mandate at both the national and regional levels, including through maintaining and further strengthening its presence in all federal member states, subject to UN security requirements and as the security situation allows.

On 30 August, the Council adopted a resolution renewing the authorisation of AMISOM. It also authorised a reduction of AMISOM personnel by 31 December to a maximum of 21,626 (a reduction of 500 uniformed personnel).

Human Rights-Related Developments

During its 36th session in September, the Human Rights Council is set to hold an interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Bahame Tom Mukirya Nyanduga, to consider his latest report (A/HRC/36/62). 

Key Issues and Options

Ensuring that UNSOM is properly equipped to support the Somali government in the three priority areas outlined by the strategic assessment—state-building, security strategy, and socio-economic reform—is the key issue. Thus, Council members can take the opportunity in consultations to discuss how the mission can best help the government in facilitating key political processes, such as the constitutional review, preparations for one-person, one-vote elections, and establishing a functional federal state, as well as advising and assisting the government on security matters and promoting economic development. Council members could also explore ways in which the mission can support the government’s call for members of Al-Shabaab to lay down their weapons and how the Council can promote further calls for defection.

Council Dynamics

On Somalia generally, Council members are united in supporting state-building processes and in their support for UNSOM, as demonstrated by unified messages conveyed during the Council’s visit to Somalia in May 2016 and the uncontentious adoption of several recent Council outcomes on Somalia.

The UK is the penholder on Somalia, and Kazakhstan is the chair of the 751/1907 Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee for 2017.

UN DOCUMENTS ON SOMALIA

Security Council Resolutions
14 June 2017 S/RES/2358 This resolution renewed the mandate of UNSOM until 31 March 2018.
23 March 2017 S/RES/2346 This was a technical rollover of UNSOM’s mandate until 16 June 2017.
24 March 2016 S/RES/2275 This was a resolution extending the mandate of UNSOM.
Secretary-General's Report
9 May 2017 S/2017/408 This was the Secretary-General’s report on Somalia.
Security Council Letter
5 May 2017 S/2017/404 This was a strategic assessment of the UN presence in Somalia.
Security Council Press Statement
3 August 2017 SC/12944 This statement condemned the terrorist attack of 30 July 2017 perpetrated by Al-Shabaab against the Ugandan contingent of AMISOM in Garyowein, Lower Shabelle.

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