After 26 Years of Democracy and Stability Why Somaliland is still in limbo

A man with body paint in the colours of the national flag participates in a street parade to celebrate the 24th self-declared independence day for the breakaway Somaliland nation from Somalia in capital Hargeysa, May 18, 2015. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

More than quarter of a century, not a single country recognizes Somaliland, but this territory of about 3.5 million people is arguably one of the more stable, democratic places in the Horn of Africa.

But the territory has its own currency, passport, army and legal system. Its presidents come to power through elections,. Unlike many other African countries, the results are respected, even when the opposition wins.

Somaliland has its own green, white and red flag. Somalilanders take great pride in presenting giant versions of this flag to visiting diplomats who sometimes blush as it is unfurled in front of them because it puts them in a somewhat difficult position
regarding the territory’s unrecognized status.

Mode of recognition:
Recognition may be either expressed or implied. Express recognition takes place by formal indication or declaration Implied recognition without directly expressing it.

Recognition is more a question of policy rather than law e.g Recognition of Israel and P.R.China. The great powers recognized Israel while its boundaries were not yet fully determined. The Peoples Republic of China was not recognized by several states for several years although many states had granted recognition to red China.
Recognition once given cannot be withdrawn. Recognition might be given individually by different states or by some collective international act. Recognition of a country is not affected by change of govt.

Legal effects of recognition.
The recognized state or Govt. acquires the capacity to enter into diplomatic relations and treaties. She acquires the right to suing in the courts of the recognizing state. The state can claim immunity od diplomatic representatives

Why Somaliland is not a recognized stateZ?
the recognition of entities as a member of international community is governed by a complex factors that includes International Law, the self-interest of other states, politics, personality and strategic considerations including the management or prevention of conflict we can summarize the reasons o f without recognition three main factor which are as follow ;

1. Recognition Of Somaliland would be to open a Pandora’s box of separatist

One of the arguments holds that recognition would set a bad precedent in a region where weakly cohesive states struggle to hold together in the face of multiple secessionist claims from different ethnic groups. The African Union is even more worried that accepting Somaliland’s request would open s Box of Pandora’s box of secessionistclaims across the entire African continent. Furthermore ,that there are lots of centrifugal forces around Africa which could use the recognition of Somaliland as a stepping stone to claim recognition, thus standing against the African Union .

2. Fear of Balkanization Of Somalia

Many fear that the apparent creation of a new state in the region, whose presence would almost certainly embolden Somalia’s other secessionist provinces (Puntland, Jubbaland and Hiranland), would lead to the balkanization of Somalia along clan lines, while simultaneously reigniting old regional tensions (between Somalis and Ethiopians, for example). Moreover, by crimping the power of the federal government in Mogadishu, which is lot to accept anything less than a united Somali state, it could trigger a resumption of hostilities between north and south, rendering peace negotiations, which have been going on for years, nearly impossible. This, for Somalia’s neighbors as well as the international community, is the doomsday scenario. Many argue something similar can be seen playing out in South Sudan today.

Compared to the lobby for an independent South Sudan, which was highly vocal in America’s Congress and elsewhere, the cheerleaders for Somaliland’s independence maintain a relatively low profile. They exist, of course: there are a surprising number of city councils in the UK, such as Cardiff, that claim to have recognized Somaliland on their own. But, for now at least, proper state-to-state recognition remains a pipe dream. For as long as Somaliland’s “parent” nation remains the Horn of Africa’s primary security concern, the case for statehood will fall on deaf ears.

3. South Sudan Cancels Somaliland Recognition

South Sudan became the world’s newest nation , officially breaking away from Sudan after two civil wars over five decades ,that cost the lives of millions thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in South Sudan since a civil war erupted in the country in 2013. The crisis, which started as political but later strayed into an ethnic struggle, has seen accused of war crimes, including those against civilians.

Regarding the recognition of South Sudan as a new country, there is no doubt that the international and regional communities will not take another step with unclear result to recognize Somaliland.

By Hamse Hassan Abdilahi