The Somaliland Society in Europe (SSE) is deeply shocked by the facts that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London has decided to advice against all travel to the Republic of Somaliland by British Nationals. The FCO statement indicates that there are specific threats to Westerners in Somaliland and urges any British nationals to leave immediately the country
This statement is unsubstantiated and does not reflect the security reality on the ground. Since The Republic of Somaliland has withdrawn from the Somali Republic union in 1991, there has never been any danger or threat to the interest of the British in the country. Somalilanders have been historically and are still now a loyal ally to the British nation and this FCO statement has very much disappointed them.
Further, this new move of the FCO is not helping the great job that the Somaliland Security Forces and Intelligence have done to ensure maximum security for both Somalilanders and the expat community, including Britons, in the country. The Republic of Somaliland has established effective and working institutions and despite being unrecognised by the international community and being surrounded by violence, terrorism and piracy, it has maintained peace and stability for nearly 22 years. It has built a modern state with a two House Legislative and Executive body headed by an elected President. It has a judiciary system. A national constitution was adopted after a referendum in 2001 which 97% of the votes approved.
In 2002 Somaliland held its first nation-wide local councils election with the first democratic presidential elections being held in 2003, followed by other elections like the parliamentary election in 2005 and again the presidential election in 2010.
Our concern as British-Somalilanders is that FCO travel advice against Somaliland does not reflect the situation on the ground. The FCO move is a slap on the face to the peace loving people of Somaliland and their Security Forces for their tireless efforts to make the region a safe place and minimise risks. We believe that the Somaliland government and its people are working very hard to safeguard the stability and security of Somaliland and beyond. The Republic of Somaliland also maintains strong and stable relations with its neighbour countries like Ethiopia and Djibouti.
We appeal to the British Government to consider the significant contribution which The Republic of Somaliland has made over the past 22 years to stability and security in the troubled region of the Horn of Africa and beyond. We therefore, call upon the UK Government to consider its actions and take a more constructive approach to Somaliland by providing support to this young and inspiring nation instead of issuing unjustified and unsubstantiated travel warnings which benefit no one but terrorists and criminals.
Alle ayaa mahad leh,
SSE is a network of organisations established in 2001 and representing about 45 Somaliland community organisations from 11 EU countries, including the UK.