The UNIQUE Case for the International Recognition of
the Republic of Somaliland
The Republic of Somaliland re-asserted its sovereignty in May 1991 after a thirty year union with neighbouring Somalia which culminated in a long civil war and genocidal attacks on the people of Somaliland. Somaliland is not a region which has seceded from a country, but is a state, which was, for a brief period in 1960 an independent country known as the STATE OF SOMALILAND but hastily united voluntarily with another state (Somalia) and then ended that union, albeit unilaterally, in 1991.
Reduced to a practical level, “recognition is an authoritative statement issued by competent foreign policy decision-makers in a country so as to signal the willingness of their state to treat with a new state or to accept that factual or legal consequences flow from a new situation”. Despite the traditional international law debates of whether recognition was declaratory in nature or constitutive and the allied criteria for statehood, these no longer mark the most salient dividing line in the law of recognition and
“rather, the critical tension in recognition law is concentrated along two axes, in ways related to the traditional debate but distinct from it: first, along the axis between recognition conceived as a legal act and recognition conceived as a political act; and second, along an axis between a collective and a unilateral process of recognition.” (Grant T.D (1999) The Recognition of States Law and Practice in Debate and Evolution, Praeger, Westport, Conn., page xx.)
Indeed the case of Somaliland is a good illustration of how political considerations and emphasis on OAU/AU collective action have so far acted to deny it international recognition for over two decades. Yet, as can be seen in many of the articles and papers in this page, Somaliland meets the traditional requirements of a state and has acted as sovereign independent state since May 1991. The following documents set out in more detail the case for recognition of the Republic of Somaliland and provide further relevant information about Somaliland’s statehood, national identity and quest for international recognition.
2013: ‘Recognition of Somaliland – claiming our rightful place within the community of nations’: Information and details about Somaliland’s quest for international recognition are available at the Somaliland Government website at this link.
18 MAY 2011: SOMALILAND MARKS THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF RE-ASSERTING ITS SOVEREIGNTY:
Legal Papers & Opinions on the Case for the De Jure Recognition of the Republic of Somaliland
Submissions by Somalilanders:
Independent Legal Views/Papers:
Independent Views and Articles
African Union (AU, previously OAU) and Somaliland
For more background information on this topic, please also visit: http://www.sirag.org.uk