A petition calling for the recognition of Somaliland has surpassed its target of one million signatures.
The petition which notes that “ Somaliland’s people have forged an oasis of stability, democracy and progress since declaring independence from Somalia in 1991” called on the international community to formally recognise Somaliland as a sovereign nation-state.
The collection of over one million signatures in a country of 4 million people is a remarkable feat and to mark the milestone occasion President Silanyo held an announcement ceremony today, August 23rd, at the Mansoor Hotel. Opening the event, President “I hope this petition will send a strong signal and very clear message to the international community that it is past time Somaliland was recognised”. Many high-profile figures including Ministers, political leaders and civil society representatives were present at the event.
The petition offered a way for the people of Somaliland to show the world that they are proud of Somaliland’s achievements over the last 25 years and wanted to join the global community of nations. Somaliland is a place of vibrant political debate, with a keenly contested democratic election set to take place in March 2017, but the issue of recognition is one on which almost all Somalilanders can agree.
The strength of the campaign rested on a bottom-up strategy, in which ordinary people took efforts to make their communities aware of the petition and how it could help to raise international awareness about Somaliland. The petition activists relied on a face-to-face approach to raise awareness among the Somaliland public. Many of the campaign activists were enthusiastic students who began by collecting signatures from their friends and family, but then decided to bring the petition to the streets, schools, stalls and public spaces. They would explain to those they met about the nature of the petition and the negative consequences that Somaliland suffered due to a lack of recognition.
Abdifatah M Abdirahman, who works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and who helped organise the collection of signatures noted that it had been an exciting way for citizens to get involved in supporting the cause of Somaliland, adding: “we have spent 25 years patiently building a peaceful, stable and prosperous country. Now is the time for the world to recognise our achievements”.
The campaign involved extensive networking at local, national, and international levels to gather the one million signatures. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hope to shortly submit the collected signatures to the United Nation’s authorities and representatives of major international powers.