On 2 May 2013, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2102 establishing a UN Bureau in Mogadishu as a special political mission (UNSOM), and showing the return of the United Nations in Somalia.
On 25 April 2013, M. Jeffrey Feltman Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, briefed the members of the Security Council on the developments in Somalia since the adoption of resolution 2093.
During the following private consultations, the French Representative called upon the international community to continue to support AMISOM, to ensure that the re-conquest of al-Shabaab seized cities will not be undone.
The complete timeline of events here.
A/ Internal situation
Somalia was plunged into a civil war when Siad Barre’s regime was overthrown by opposition forces in 1991. Between 1992 and 1995 the UN deployed operations UNOSOM I and II. These came to an end in 1995, without managing to reestablish peace. A peace process was initiated in October 2002 under the auspices of IGAD (a regional organization in the Horn of Africa) and led to the creation of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia in August 2004, supported by Ethiopia and protected by its troops. After the defeat by Ethiopian troops of the Islamic Tribunals, which had seized Mogadishu in 2006, the TFG was able to establish itself in the capital in January 2007 for the first time since its formation. The transition period is scheduled to end in August 2011.
Negotiations between the TFG and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), the predominantly Islamist opposition group, began in September 2007. These negotiations resulted in the signing of the Djibouti Agreement between the TFG and the ARS in August 2008, giving hope for stabilization in Somalia.
The leader of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, was elected President of Somalia in January 2009 by the Somali transition Parliament which had assembled in Djibouti. This moderate Islamist immediately invited all armed groups fighting in Somalia to rejoin the peace process supported by the UN.
However, it has still not been possible to implement the cease-fire due to the divisions that exist within the Islamic camp. The TFG has never been able to assert its authority in the south of the country. The Islamists now control more than half of the regions in the south of the country and the major towns, sometimes in partnership with local clans. In Mogadishu, the Islamist forces, led by the radical Al-Shabab militia and those of the Hibzbul Islam group, controlled by Aweys, are exerting significant pressure on the TFG. Fighting resumed in the capital in May 2009 between the Islamist movements, supported by foreign combatants, and the government forces. Fighting is taking place sporadically in the capital between Islamist movements supported by foreign fighters and government forces.
B/ Involvement of the UN and other actors
The UN, the European Union, the African Union, mamy States in a national capacity, have made significant efforts to solve the Somali crisis. The Secretary General’s Special Representative for Somalia is Mr. Augustine Mahiga from Tanzanie (since June 2010). He replaced Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah. The involvement of the international community takes many forms:
AMISOM, African Union force mandated by the United Nations, funded by the UN and the EU
The Security Council authorized, through resolution 1744, adopted on 20 February 2007, the deployment of an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). AMISOM has been the only foreign force in Somalia since the Ethiopian army completely withdrew in January 2009. Uganda and Burundi provide the troops.
The maximum number of troops was raised from 8000 to 12000 in December 2010 (resolution 1964) and the mandate extended until 30 September 2011.
Although it does not provide ground forces, France has made a significant contribution to the AMISOM force: between 2007 and 2010 it trained 5600 men at a cost of €3 million.
Resolution 1863 of 16 January 2009, which renewed AMISOM’s mandate for 6 months, reflected a new Security Council approach:
— Support for the TFG through a trust fund: developing the police force and Somali security force will, in the long-term, lead to the stabilization of the country
— Support for AMISOM with the adoption of a logistical support package together with the implementation of a trust fund to provide financial support (for expenditure not covered by the logistical support package) which must be sustained by contributions from regional and international States and organizations.
Resolution 1863 also made provision for a donor conference to solicit contributions for these trust funds. The conference took place on 23 April 2009, in Brussels and raised $213 million. The 60 states and regional and international organizations agreed to give priority to building national capacity in the area of security. The European Union is the leading donor.
The European Union funds the wages of AMISOM soldiers. It has also been training AMISOM soldiers in Uganda since May 2010. France trained a battalion of 500 men of the Somali security forces in 2009.
The UN declared a general arms embargo against Somalia in 1992 (resolution 733). The Monitoring Group, which was implemented through resolution 1519 (2003), reported multiple violations of the embargo, particularly by neighboring states and the warlords. Exemptions to the embargo have been gradually introduced in order to allow weapons, military equipment, training and technical assistance to be delivered within the framework of the AMISOM deployment (African Union Mission in Somalia) and the establishment of the Somali security institutions.
Moreover, the Security Council adopted on December 2009 resolution 1907 which establishes sanctions against Eritrea because of its actions both vis-à-vis Somalia and Djibouti (see our file on Djibouti - Eritrea).
Fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia
France and the UN are involved in the fight against piracy which has its origins in the political and social instability in Somalia.
— During 2008, resolutions 1816, 1838, 1846, and 1851 created a legal framework allowing member states to intervene, under strict conditions, in the territorial waters of Somalia in order to combat piracy as they would have done in the high seas, thanks to patrols in dangerous areas or, if need be, by intervening directly against pirates. Resolution 1897 of 30 November 2009 and resolution 1950 of 23 November 2010 extended this legal framework for one year.
Resolution 1950 (November 2010) extended for 12 months authorizations granted to States and regional organizations cooperating with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia in the fight against piracy in the waters off the coast of Somalia.
In this resolution, the Security Council also called on Member States to assist Somalia in strengthening capacity in the country to bring to justice those involved in piracy and who were using Somali territory for planning or undertaking their criminal acts. It called upon all States to cooperate in determining jurisdiction and in the investigation and prosecution of all persons responsible for acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia, as well as to criminalize piracy under their domestic law.
The EU Atalanta operation
The Council of the European Union launched the military operation EUNAVFOR-Atalanta in December 2008 (see decision 2008/918/CFSP of the EU), supported by resolution 1846 of the Security Council. The operation’s mandate was extended for two years (until 2012) by decision 2010/766/CFSP of the EU Council in December 2010. France has mobilized significant operational support through the European Union operation Atalanta, the first European and Security Defense Policy naval operation.
— 10 Member States of the European Union contribute to the deployed forces (the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, France, Greece, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and Estonia).
— France participates in Atalanta with the permanent deployment of a frigate during the whole operation and the participation of a reconnaissance airplane based in Djibouti. France also lends logistical support to the operation with its pre-positioned forces in Djibouti. Operation Atalanta was under French command until December 2010.
— All the ships that requested protection through Atalanta and that observed shipping instructions passed through the Gulf of Aden safely, and no WFP shipment protected by Atalanta has been captured. This operation helps feed an average of 1.6 million Somalis every day.
— Atalanta is part of the “comprehensive approach” conducted by the EU in the Horn of Africa to deal with the Somali crisis, which has political, security and humanitarian aspects.
France is an active participant in the international contact group on the fight against piracy which was set up in January 2009 to improve coordination between the many States and organizations participating in the fight against piracy (EU, USA, NATO, as well as countries such as China, India, Russia and South Korea).
— Resolution 1918 (introduced by Russia and adopted in April 2010) called on all States to criminalize piracy and to prosecute and imprison those responsible of acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia. It required the Secretariat to present a report “on the various possible options for furthering the aim of prosecuting and imprisoning persons responsible for acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia.”
On 25 August 2010, the United Nations Security Council met to hear the Secretary-General’s report which identified seven options, not listed according to priority, ranging from strengthening the judicial and prison capacities of the States in the region to the establishment of an international criminal tribunal, and included intermediate solutions, such as the establishment of a Somali court in a third State, special chambers embedded in the national court structures of States in the region or a regional tribunal.
The Secretary-General appointed Mr. Jack Lang as Special Adviser on Legal Issues related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. (See the statement made by the spokesman for the Secretary-General on 26 August 2010). Mr. Jack Lang submitted proposals to the Security Council on 25 January 2011 (Read the statement made by the Permanent Representative of France ).
Report by Mr Jack Lang, Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia
The report presented by Mr. Jack Lang to the Security Council on 25 January 2011 emphasizes the following points:
— The total cost of piracy has been estimated to be at least $7 billion per year, not including the harm inflicted on the victims, including the loss of human life. Almost 2000 people have been taken hostage over the last two years.
— Since the resurgence of this scourge in 2007, the level of violence of the attacks, their wide geographic spread away from the coast and the duration of the hostages’ captivity have continued to increase.
In his report, Jack Lang provides 25 proposals to eradicate piracy.
The main thrust of his recommendations aims to focus solutions on Somalia. His comprehensive and multidimensional report aims to address the weakest links in the fight against piracy: at the operational, security, economic, legal and prison levels.
Prevention is the first aspect of the new measures being proposed:
— An economic component should create alternatives to piracy. Priority must be given to the sectors that cannot prosper in an environment of piracy (fishing, port activities, and livestock exports).
— A security component will link naval operations and judicial proceedings. The objectives are as follows:
* to restore police presence in the lawless areas where the pirates are holding sway,
* to strengthen the capacities of the States in the region to gather evidence and analyze it,
* to monitor the flow of piracy funds in order to trace them back to those funding piracy and to paralyze their activities through Security Council sanctions.
Cracking down on piracy is the second aspect and is aimed at helping to ensure that proceedings are brought to a successful conclusion ( 9 out of 10 suspects captured are released without being sentenced).
— Jack Lang recommends implementing a legal system consisting of two specialist courts in Puntland and Somaliland, and a Specialized Extraterritorial Somali Court.
— Two prisons should be built in the short term, notably in Puntland and Somaliland, with a permanent UNODC office in each prison to provide mentoring and regular external monitoring in order to ensure respect for human rights and the effective enforcement of the sentences.
— The total cost of this legal and prison component is estimated to be $25 million over 3 years.
Following the proposals of Mr. Jack Lang, the Security Council unanimously adopted on 11 April 2011 resolution 1976 on the judicial treatment of pirates.
Adoption of resolution 1976 on the judicial treatment of Pirates - Communiqué of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations - Statement by Mr Gerard Araud, Permanent Representative - 11 April 2011
The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on the judicial treatment of pirates.
The text reaffirms that the Security Council will consider urgently the establishment of specialized Somali courts as recommended by Jack Lang’s report, including a Somali extraterritorial court. The United Nations Secretary-General will present a report on the implementation of these mechanisms.
The text calls on States and UN agencies (UNODC, UNDP, UNPOS) to strengthen the normative and operational capabilities (including Coast Guard) to fight against piracy in Somalia and the region. It calls for strengthening the methods of investigation and transfer of pirates.
It is finally taking into consideration the long-term economic interests of Somalia: it calls for the delimitation of the Somali maritime space and requests the Secretary-General to submit a report by October on illegal fishing and the rejection of toxic wastes off Somalia.
For monitoring and coordinating the implementation of various measures against piracy, the United Nations Security Council asks the United Nations Secretary-General to strengthen the United Nations Political Office for Somalia. To finance these initiatives, the Council calls on Member States and ship owners to contribute to the Trust Fund of
France welcomes the adoption of resolution 1976, which represents a significant and concrete step forward in the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia.
On 24 October 2011, the Security Council adopted resolution 2015 condemning piracy off the coasts of Somalia and calling for the implementation of all judiciary measures deemed relevant to prosecute the perpetrators of such acts.
An international conference on Somalia was held in Istanbul in May 2010, hosted by Turkey and the United Nations. The Secretary General of the United Nations and Mr. Bernard Kouchner, then Minister of Foreign and European Affairs participated in the meeting. The conference focused on issues of security policy and reconstruction.
A high-level meeting (dubbed "Mini-Summit") on Somalia was held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on 23 September 2010, and brought together 35 delegations around the UN Secretary-General and the President of Somalia Sheikh Sharif. France was represented by then Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (See his statement).
16 October 2012 - Security Council - Somalia - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
15 May 2012 - Security Council - Somalia - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
More French statements here.
On 2 May 2013 - Security Council - Resolution 2102 establishing a UN Bureau in Mogadishu (UNSOM)
15 April 2013 - Security Council Press Statement condemning terrorists attacks in Mogadishu
21 November 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2077
9 August 2012 - Security Council - Press statement by the President of the Security Council
25 July 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2060 renewing for 13 months the mandate of the expert panel of the sanction committee on Somalia and Erythrea
24 October 2011 - Resolution 2015 condemning piracy off the coasts of Somalia
30 September 2011 - Security Council Resolution 2010 renewing the mandate of AMISOM for 12 months
11 May 2011 - Somalia - Statement by the President of the Security Council
11 April 2011 - resolution 1976 - Judicial treatment of pirates
22 December 2010 - Resolution 1964 - Strengthening of AMISOM
23 November 2010 - Resolution 1950(2010)
25 August 2010 - Statement by the President of the Security Council - S/PRST/2010/16
27 April 2010 - Resolution 1918 (2010) - Calls on states to criminalize piracy
28 January 2010 - Resolution 1910 (2010) - Renews the mandate of AMISOM until 31 January 2011
23 December 2009 - Resolution 1907 (2009) - Sanctions against Eritrea
30 November 2009 - Resolution 1897 (2009) - Renews the legal framework for the fight against piracy
19 December 2008 - Resolution 1853 (2008) - Extends the mandate of the UN monitoring group pursuant to resolution 1519
16 December 2008 - Resolution 1851 (2008) - Fight against piracy
20 February 2007 - Resolution 1744 (2007) - Establishes AMISOM
16 December 2003 - Resolution 1519 (2003) - Establishes the monitoring Group on Somalia
24 April 1992 - Resolution 751 (1992) - Establishes a sanctions Committee
23 January 1992 - Resolution 733 (1992) - Establishes sanctions