The Historical Facts of Somaliland



In the area which became British Somaliland Protectorate in the late 19th century the Somali people were

traditionally divided into clans, each being separated and independent from the others. Since then

and until independence of Somaliland Protectorate in 1960 each clan maintained connections with the

British government separately from other ones as the Protectorate treaties signed between United

Kingdom and clans recognized that each clan area was a separate Territory. These treaties are

the evidence that Great Britain prevented creation of a unitary state of Somali people.Somaliland Protectorate

had never been indivisible and therefore had no experience in governing the state. Nevertheless there were

common ethnicity, language, culture, Muslim religion, and pastoral life – bonds that were shared with other

Somali people in all Somali areas in the Horn of Africa including the Italian-administered Somalia to the East

and South of the Protectorate. These bonds provided an opportunity for Somaliland to unite with the same

ethnic group and create a national state which would consolidate politically disintegrated Somali people.

Creation of such a state was necessary to unfairly divided on the colonies Somali people,

and was an important stage in evolution from uncoordinated clans to centralized state.

On June, 26, 1960 Somaliland Protectorate became independent and gaining this independence annulled

treaties signed with Great Britain. In accordance with preliminary consensus and agreement among the

northern clans Somaliland merged with Somalia on July 1, 1960 thus forming the unitary Somali Republic.

The entire intention of gaining independence from Britain was precisely to unite with the Italian Somaliland

that will gain independence on 01.07.1960 and to create a state which would unite the Somali people.

It can be proved by the fact that the state of Somaliland existed only in the period of six days after receiving

independence and all the activity of the state in this period was turned to formal preparation for creation

of the unitary state which was negotiated previously. The willingness of people to create unitary state was

proved by the results of the referendum held in June, 20, 1961 over the entire territory of Somali Republic

on the draft constitution of the unitary state. According to the results of this referendum published in the

African Election Database 1,756,216 people which are 90. 56 % of population voted in favor of the

constitution. Thus the creation of the state was in the interests of Somali people and freely determined by

them and abolished previous states formations such as Somalia and Somaliland.

The Unitary state – Somali Republic was recognized by the international community on September, 20,

1960 when Somali Republic was accepted into the United Nations. Previous states formation such as

Somalia and Somaliland were a legacy of unfair division on the colonies and stopped their existence after

unification and entrance into the United Nations. All the governmental institutions of previous states were

ceased and union government was formed. This united state was recognized by international community

and became a subject of international law with all the privileges of sovereign state being applicable for

Somali Republic. Thus entry into the United Nations definitively abolished previous states formations

such as Somalia and Somaliland, because the United Nations resolution formed new sate formation with all

the rights, privileges in The international law.

The distinctive feature of Somali Republic is that, clanism reasserted itself and instead of regional, clan

balance was observed in the allocation of ministerial portfolios and other political positions as an indicator

of power sharing in the Somali Republic.That reality necessitated a formula for sharing the power among the clans.

British Empire or Great Britain signed with each clan agreements, namely Agreement between the Gadabursi

Tribe and The British on December 11, 1884, Agreement between the Eesa Tribe and The British,December 31, 1884

Agreement between the Habr Toljeelo Tribe and The British,December 26, 1884, Agreement between the Habr

Gerhajis Tribe and The British, January 13,1885,Agreement between the Habr-Awal Tribe and The British July 14,1884,

Agreement between the Warsangalis Tribe and The British,January 27, 1886, Supplementary Agreements between

the Isaaq Sub-clans and The British, and article 1 of each agreement said, “The British Government,

in compliance with the wish of the undersigned Gadabursi Tribe, Eesa Tribe, Habr Gerhajis Tribe, Habr-

Awal Tribe, Warsangalis Tribe undertakes to extend to them and to the territories under their authority

and jurisdiction the gracious favor and protection of Her Majesty the Queen-Empress”. This is the

testimony of the fact that tribes on the territories of British Somaliland Protectorate did not possess

integral and unitary state before 1960. Because of this fact Somaliland which possessed no experience in

governing the state needed to be centralized and be united with a group which is ethnically related.

The Royal Proclamation Terminating Her Majesty’s Protection on / of June 23, 1960 begins with the words:

“Whereas the Territories in Africa known as the Somaliland Protectorate are ….” and this

proves once again hat Somaliland Protectorate was not an integral centralized state and in order to be

integral it needed to be centralized and be united with the same related group.

Basing on the law of union between Somaliland and Somalia B 1 of 1960 27 June 1960 which

was ratified by Somaliland legislature and which states that “Whereas the State of Somaliland achieved

independence and ceased to be under British protection or within the jurisdiction and sovereignty of Her

Britannic Majesty on the 26th day of June, 1960, being Muharram 1st 1379, and Whereas the State of

Somalia achieved its independence and ceased to have the status of a Trust Territory of the United

Nations Organization administered by the Republic of Italy on the 1st day of July, 1960, being Muharram

6th 1379, and Whereas it is the will of the peoples of Somaliland and Somalia that their States shall unite

and shall forever be united in the Somali Republic” Somaliland made legally important act which shows the

Somaliland favorable position on the unification with Somalia into one centralized government even

despite of the challenges which two states face while creation of this state. Thus taking into account

estoppel principle Somaliland can not dispute the fact of unfair and illegal creation of the unitary state.

United Nations General Assembly resolution 1479 of September 20, 1960 called “Admission of

Somali Republic to membership in the United Nations” which states, “…decides to admit the

Republic of Somalia to membership in United Nations”, Somali Republic became a Member State of the

United Nations. Thus Somali Republic gained international recognition and legitimacy as a subject of

international law. All the previous states such as Somalia and Somaliland which formed Somali Republic

do not exist since that moment. Moreover entry into the United Nations makes all the provisions of

United Nations Charter applicable to Somali Republic

Adopted unanimously Resolution 1772 (2007), Resolution 733 (1992), Resolution 1356 (2001),

Resolution 1425 (2002), Resolution 1725 (2006) and Resolution 1744 (2007)pf the Security Council

and the statements of Security Council President, in particular those of 13 July 2006

(S/PRST/2006/31), 22 December 2006 (S/PRST/2006/59), 30 April 2007 (S/PRST/2007/13) and

14 June 2007 (S/PRST/2007/19) which in preamble stipulates “Reaffirming its respect for the

sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia” and in article 2 and 4

“Welcomes the convening of the National Reconciliation Congress (NRC) at the initiative of the

Transitional Federal Institutions, and urges all parties to support the NRC and participate in the political

process…Urges the Transitional Federal Institutions and all parties in Somalia to respect the conclusions

of the NRC and to sustain an equally inclusive ongoing political process thereafter, and encourages them

to unite behind the efforts to promote such an inclusive dialogue” shows the principles of United Nations

solving the Somali conflict, its decision and consequently core principle of international law. Thus

withdrawal of Somaliland from the Somali Republic is a violation of the principles of international law

accepted by all civilized countries.


Salah Abdulwahed


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