Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on Somalia
Statement17 November 2021
Thank you Mr. President,
Thank you SRSG Swan for his briefing. Thank you also to Special Representative Madiera and I also welcome my colleague the PR of Somalia. In particular, I want to say thank you to Ms. Siyad for your powerful and frank remarks this morning.
The finalisation of elections to the upper house of Parliament in Somalia is welcome, and it gives momentum for the next and admittedly more complex phase of elections for the Lower House. The quicker this process is completed, the sooner Somalia’s leaders will be able to refocus on the expectations of their own people for a peaceful, prosperous and stable Somalia. The collaboration we have recently seen between the President and Prime Minister is encouraging – and we call for this to continue.
There is an opportunity now to aim for completion of all elections, including the Presidential election, by end January. It is clear that technically, financially and from a security perspective, Somalia’s leaders can achieve this. Any further delays risk cost over-runs, risk interference from Al-Shabaab and risk upsetting the delicate political balance that now exists. These are risks we do not need to face. We urge the federal government and member states’ leaders to reconcile their differences and give renewed impetus to the crucial state-building work, which will assure a brighter future for Somalia.
As DSG Amina Mohamed said during her visit to Somalia, and again when she came to this Council, women’s participation in political, social and economic life is a game changer - participation and representation are pre-conditions for lasting peace. Ireland, while recognising efforts so far, still regrets that Somalia missed the 30 per cent target for the upper house elections. However, as we know there is now an opportunity, with the elections to the House of the People, where the overall target could be met. We join the call for Somalia’s leaders to now identify which 85 seats will be reserved exclusively for women candidates.
Ms. Siyad’s remarks underlined the critical nature of acting urgently on this issue. Ms. Siyad’s own reference to limited and insignificant progress is very worrying. We need to do better to end women’s misery and struggle by ensuring their equal participation.
The threat of terrorism, armed conflict and violence continue to loom over the Somali people as well as over the country’s institutions.
I deeply regret that the most vulnerable are suffering the most, as incidents of conflict related sexual violence and grave violations against the most vulnerable, children, are on the rise. I echo the UNSG’s call for accountability for these violations, whoever carries them out. Somalia’s leaders at local and national level must do all they can to end this unacceptable scourge. It is their duty.
As elections and the struggle for power continues, it is vital that the Government prevent killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions as well as other actions to repress freedom of expression and political participation. The Government must also ensure that those who commit violations are held to account. We look forward, in this regard, to the outcome of impartial investigations into the killing of Ms Ikran Tahlil.
Ireland reiterates its condemnation of Al-Shabaab’s heinous attacks, which are exerting a considerable human toll. Their threat extends beyond Somalia’s borders and throughout the region, and is only heightened by recent instability. It makes it all the more urgent that the Government of Somalia, the African Union, and the UN find a path forward together on the future configuration of AMISOM and the eventual handover to Somali security forces. The EU stands ready to assist. It has long been a strong and committed partner of Somalia. But there must be agreement reached on the way forward.
It is clear that the already dire humanitarian situation is being exacerbated by climate change. In this context, the work of UNSOM on climate and security is more important than ever: we look forward to further tangible outcomes of that work. And we are following the work with interest and expectation.
Meanwhile, as we have heard this morning, with the extended drought conditions causing displacement and raising the spectre of worsening food insecurity, that 7.7 million people are expected to be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2022 is simply shocking. Yet it is the grave reality we face today.
It is vital therefore in this context that Somalia’s leaders keep the interests of the Somali people at the fore, move as rapidly as possible to end this period of political uncertainty, and create the space to fully focus on tackling the fundamental issues facing Somalia’s people.
Thank you, Mr. President.