Somalia: Call for Sanctions


Somalia’s moment of truth has arrived. Farmaajo has crossed the Rubicon, declaring all out war on the Provisional Constitution, the principles of federalism and the practice of democracy.

He has enrolled Somalia in an Axis of Autocracy that now stretches across the Horn of Africa from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea. And, before the damage he is wreaking becomes irreversible, he must be stopped.

Sanctions are the international community’s last opportunity to prevent Somalia descending once again into civil war. There is already more than sufficient justification to declare Somalia’s acting government as unconstitutional, withdraw recognition and to suspend its membership in the United Nations, African Union, IGAD and other multilateral bodies.

President Farmaajo, NISA Chief Fahad Yasin, Speaker of Parliament’s Lower House, Mohamed Mursal should be individually designated for targeted measures including travel bans and asset freezes. Regime mouthpieces Mohamed Abdirisak and Osman Dubbe, acting Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Information respectively, should also be considered for listing.

A mechanism for imposing targeted measures by the UN Security Council already exists. Under resolution 1844(2008), any individual or entity “engaging in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia” is eligible for designation.

In 2011, UNSCR 2002 expanded the scope of “threats to peace and security” to include “misappropriation of financial resources which undermines the [Federal Institutions’] ability to fulfil their obligations”.

Farmaajo’s constitutional coup indisputably threatens Somalia’s peace and security in its own right, but the Council should consider issuing specific language in a new resolution or Presidential Statement to make its intentions unmistakably clear.

The African Union also has an obligation to act. Article 28E(e) of the AU’s Malabo Protocol (2014) prohibits any “amendment or revision of the Constitution or legal instruments, which is an infringement on the principles of democratic change of government or is inconsistent with the Constitution” as an unconstitutional change of government.

The decision of Somalia’s Lower House of Parliament to illegally extend Farmaajo’s term of office by two years, over the protests of the Upper House, clearly meets this legal test. Sanctions are intended primarily as a preventive measure, not a punitive one.

By affirming the international community’s determination to reverse Farmaajo’s coup and to restore constitutional rule and democracy to Somalia, sanctions would signal to the country’s opposition forces that a peaceful pathway to political transition is still possible. Without that kind of assurance, Somalia’s international partners are condemning a nation and its people to yet another cycle of bloody civil conflict.


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