United Nations Security Council has extended the arms embargo on Somalia

November 16, 2019 (AO) – United Nations Security Council has extended the arms embargo on Somalia in addition to extending the term of the Panel of Experts until December 15, 2020.

The 15-member Council in a majority vote of 12 voted to extend the embargo which is now in its third decade. The Council imposed its first embargo on Somalia in 1992 following the collapse of the government in 1991 and subsequent break-out of civil war.

“The Council renewed for one year the partial lifting of the arms embargo on Somali security forces and exemptions related to humanitarian aid, as well as the authorization for maritime interdiction of arms imports and charcoal exports that could benefit Al Shabaab and other armed groups,” a statement from the Council read in part.

The Council also maintained exemptions regarding military weapons, technical advice and training to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the European Union Training Mission Somalia.

All the members voted for the resolution except for Russia, Equatorial Guinea and China which abstained. However, their abstentions were not against the vote but the negation process and the document which included Eritrea and Djibouti.

Russia argued Eritrea had removed from the sanctions and should therefore not feature while China said the inclusion of Djibouti for human rights violations was not appropriate noting the matter should be handled in a separate resolution.

But Somalia protested the resolution noting the sanctions were out of date.

“The measures fail to take into account Somalia’s new positive reality and are not properly aligned with the Federal Government’s efforts to rebuild a unified, equipped Somali National Army capable of safeguarding its own people and territory,” Somalia Permanent Representative to the UN said.
Affirming that Al Shabaab remains a serious threat to the peace and stability of Somalia and the wider region, he said that the sanctions lack clearly defined benchmarks in that context.