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Security Council, Adopting Resolution 2125 (2013), Tightening Anti-Piracy – considering Creation of Specialized Courts in Somalia

Posted by African Press International on November 20, 2013

A good step for enhancement of security in the African Continent

NEW YORK, November 19, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Reiterating its condemnation of all acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, the Security Council today renewed for another year authorizations, first agreed in 2008, for international action to fight those crimes in cooperation with Government authorities.

Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 2125 (2013) under the Charter’s Chapter VII, the Council renewed its call upon States and regional organizations that had the capacity to do so to fight ongoing sea crimes by deploying naval vessels, arms and military aircraft, and through seizures and disposition of boats, vessels and weapons used in the commission of those crimes.

It also decided that the arms embargo imposed on Somalia by resolution 733 (1992) did not apply to supplies of weapons and military equipment, or to the provision of assistance, destined for the sole use of States, international, regional and subregional organizations taking measures in line with the authorizations.

By other terms, the Council underlined the primary responsibility of Somali authorities in the fight against piracy and armed robbery off their coast, requesting them to pass a complete set of anti-piracy laws without further delay, and urging continued efforts, with international support, to adopt an exclusive economic zone, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Somali authorities were also called on to bring to justice those who were using Somali territory to plan, facilitate or undertake those crimes. All States were urged to adopt legislation to facilitate the prosecution of suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, and to assist Somalia — at its request and with notification to the Secretary-General — in strengthening its maritime capacity. They were also called on to criminalize piracy under domestic law.

The Council affirmed that the authorizations, originally outlined in resolutions 1846 and 1851 of 2008, applied only with respect to the situation in Somalia, and followed receipt of the 12 November letter conveying the country’s consent. They did not affect States’ rights or obligations under international law, particularly the United Nations Convention. In that context, the Council reiterated its decision to consider the establishment of specialized anti-piracy courts in Somalia and other regional States, with substantial international participation, as outlined in resolution 2015 (2011).

More broadly, the Council urged all States to take measures under their domestic law to prevent the illicit financing of piracy and laundering of its proceeds, and further, to investigate international criminal networks involved in piracy off the Somali coast, including those responsible for illicit financing and facilitation. Urging States to share information with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), for use in a global piracy database, the Council also noted the importance of securing the safe delivery of World Food Programme (WFP) assistance by sea.

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and 10:07 a.m.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2125 (2013) reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Recalling its previous resolutions concerning the situation in Somalia, especially resolutions 1814 (2008), 1816 (2008), 1838 (2008), 1844 (2008), 1846 (2008), 1851 (2008), 1897 (2009), 1918 (2010), 1950 (2010), 1976 (2011), 2015 (2011), 2020 (2011) and 2077 (2012), as well as the statement of its President (S/PRST/2010/16) of 25 August 2010 and (S/PRST/2012/24) of 19 November 2012,

“Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General (S/2013/623), as requested by resolution 2077 (2012), on the implementation of that resolution and on the situation with respect to piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia,

“Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, including Somalia’s sovereign rights in accordance with international law, with respect to offshore natural resources, including fisheries,

“While welcoming the significant decrease in reported incidents of piracy off the coast of Somalia, which areat the lowest level since 2006, continuing to be gravely concerned by the ongoing threat that piracy and armed robbery at sea pose to the prompt, safe, and effective delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia and the region, to the safety of seafarers and other persons, to international navigation and the safety of commercial maritime routes, and to other vulnerable ships, including fishing activities in conformity with international law, and also gravely concerned by the extended range of the piracy threat into the western Indian Ocean and adjacent sea areas and increased pirate capacities,

“Expressing concern about the reported involvement of children in piracy off the coast of Somalia,

“Recognizing that the ongoing instability in Somalia contributes to the problem of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, and stressing the need to continue the comprehensive response by the international community to repress piracy and armed robbery at sea and tackle its underlying causes, recognizing the need to undertake long-term and sustainable efforts to repress piracy and the need to create adequate economic opportunities for the citizens of Somalia,

“Recognizing the need to investigate and prosecute not only suspects captured at sea, but also anyone who incites or intentionally facilitates piracy operations, including key figures of criminal networks involved in piracy who plan, organize, facilitate, or illicitly finance or profit from such attacks, and reiterating its concern over persons suspected of piracy having been released without facing justice, reaffirming that the failure to prosecute persons responsible for acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia undermines anti-piracy efforts,

“Noting the report of the Secretary-General (S/2013/623), particularly section IX on ‘Allegations of illegal fishing and illegal dumping, including of toxic substances, off the coast of Somalia’,

“Further reaffirming that international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (‘The Convention’), sets out the legal framework applicable to activities in the ocean, including countering piracy and armed robbery at sea,

“Underlining the primary responsibility of the Somali authorities in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia; noting the several requests from Somali authorities for international assistance to counter piracy off its coast, including the letter of 12 November 2013, from the Permanent Representative of Somalia to the United Nations expressing the appreciation of Somali authorities to the Security Council for its assistance, expressing their willingness to consider working with other States and regional organizations to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, and requesting that the provisions of resolution 2077 (2012) be renewed for an additional 12 months,

“Encouraging implementationof the Somali Maritime Resource and Security Strategy, which was endorsed by the President of the Federal Government of Somalia and participating states at the fourteenth Plenary of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) in New York on 1 May 2013; at the International Somalia Conference in London on 7 May 2013, and at the European Union’s ‘New Deal for Somalia’ Conference in Brussels on 16 September 2013,

“Recognizing the work of the CGPCS to facilitate the prosecution of suspected pirates and, in accordance with international law, to establish an on-going network and mechanism for sharing information and evidence between investigators and prosecutors, welcoming the development of the Capacity Building Coordination Group under Working Group 1 of the CGPCS, and welcoming the work by Working Group 5 of the CGPCS to disrupt illicit financial flows linked to piracy,

“Welcoming the financing provided by the Trust Fund to Support Initiatives of States Combating Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (the Trust Fund) to strengthen regional ability to prosecute suspected pirates and imprison those convicted in accordance with applicable international human rights law, noting with appreciation the assistance provided by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Counter-Piracy Programme, and being determined to continue efforts to ensure that pirates are held accountable,

“Commending the efforts of the European Union operation ATALANTA, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation Ocean Shield, Combined Maritime Forces’ Combined Task Force 151 commanded by Pakistan and the United Kingdom, as well as United States ships assigned to Combined Task Force 151 and NATO Task Force 508, the counter-piracy activities of the African Union onshore in Somalia and the naval activities of the Southern Africa Development Community, and other States acting in a national capacity in cooperation with Somali authorities and each other, to suppress piracy and to protect vulnerable ships transiting through the waters off the coast of Somalia, and welcoming the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction Initiative (SHADE) and the efforts of individual countries, including China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan and the Russian Federation, which have deployed naval counter-piracy missions in the region, as stated in the Secretary-General’s report (S/2013/623),

“Noting the efforts of flag States for taking measures to permit vessels sailing under their flag transiting the High Risk Area (HRA) to embark vessel protection detachments and privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP), and encouraging States to regulate such activities in accordance with applicable international law and permit charters to favour arrangements that make use of such measures,

“Noting the request of some Member States on the need to review the boundaries of the HRA on an objective and transparent basis, taking into account actual incidents of piracy, and noting that the HRA is set and defined by the insurance and maritime industry,

“Welcoming the capacity-building efforts in the region made by the International Maritime Organization (IMO)-funded Djibouti Code of Conduct, the Trust Fund and the European Union’s activities under EUCAP Nestor, which is working with the Federal Government of Somalia to strengthen its criminal justice system, and recognizing the need for all engaged international and regional organizations to coordinate and cooperate fully,

“Supporting the development of a coastal police force, noting with appreciation the efforts made by the IMO and the shipping industry to develop and update guidance, best management practices and recommendations to assist ships to prevent and suppress piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia, including in the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean area, and recognizing the work of the IMO and the CGPCS in this regard, noting the efforts of the International Organization for Standardization, which has developed industry standards of training and certification for Private Maritime Security Companies when providing privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in high-risk areas, and further welcoming the European Union’s EUCAP Nestor, which is working to develop the sea-going maritime security capacities of Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya, Seychelles and Tanzania,

“Noting with concern that the continuing limited capacity and domestic legislation to facilitate the custody and prosecution of suspected pirates after their capture has hindered more robust international action against the pirates off the coast of Somalia, too often has led to pirates being released without facing justice, regardless of whether there is sufficient evidence to support prosecution, and reiterating that, consistent with the provisions of ‘The Convention’ concerning the repression of piracy, the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (‘SUA Convention’) provides for parties to create criminal offences, establish jurisdiction, and accept delivery of persons responsible for or suspected of seizing or exercising control over a ship by force or threat thereof or any other form of intimidation,

“Underlining the importance of continuing to enhance the collection, preservation and transmission to competent authorities of evidence of acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, and welcoming the ongoing work of the IMO, INTERPOL and industry groups to develop guidance to seafarers on preservation of crime scenes following acts of piracy, and noting the importance for the successful prosecution of acts of piracy of enabling seafarers to give evidence in criminal proceedings,

“Further recognizing that pirate networks continue to rely on kidnapping and hostage-taking, and that these activities help generate funding to purchase weapons, gain recruits and continue their operational activities, thereby jeopardizing the safety and security of civilians and restricting the flow of free commerce, and welcoming international efforts to collect and share information to disrupt the pirate enterprise, as exemplified by INTERPOL’s Global Database on Maritime Piracy, and taking note of the ongoing efforts of the Regional Fusion and Law Enforcement Centre for Safety and Security at Sea (formerly the Regional Anti Piracy Prosecution and Intelligence Coordination Centre), hosted by Seychelles to combat piracy,

“Reaffirming international condemnation of acts of kidnapping and hostage-taking, including offences contained within the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, strongly condemning the continuing practice of hostage-taking by pirates operating off the coast of Somalia, expressing serious concern at the inhuman conditions hostages face in captivity, recognizing the adverse impact on their families, calling for the immediate release of all hostages, and noting the importance of cooperation between Member States on the issue of hostage-taking and the prosecution of suspected pirates for taking hostages,

“Commending Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania for their efforts to prosecute suspected pirates in their national courts, and noting with appreciation the assistance provided by the UNODC Counter-Piracy Programme, the Trust Fund and other international organizations and donors, in coordination with the CGPCS, to support Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Somalia and other States in the region with their efforts to prosecute, or incarcerate in a third State after prosecution elsewhere, pirates, including facilitators and financiers ashore, consistent with applicable international human rights law, and emphasizing the need for States and international organizations to further enhance international efforts in this regard,

“Welcoming the readiness of the national and regional administrations of Somalia to cooperate with each other and with States who have prosecuted suspected pirates with a view to enabling convicted pirates to be repatriated back to Somalia under suitable prisoner transfer arrangements, consistent with applicable international law, including international human rights law and acknowledging the return from Seychelles to Somalia of convicted prisoners willing and eligible to serve their sentences in Somalia,

“Recalling the reports of the Secretary-General on the modalities for the establishment of specialized Somali anti-piracy courts (S/2011/360 and S/2012/50), prepared pursuant to paragraph 26 of resolution 1976 (2011) and paragraph 16 of resolution 2015 (2011),

“Stressing the need for States to consider possible methods to assist the seafarers who are victims of pirates, and welcoming in this regard the Trust Fund’s establishment in November 2012 of the ‘Hostage Support Programme’ to provide support to hostages during their release and return home, as well as to their families throughout the hostage situation,

“Recognizing the progress made by the CGPCS and UNODC in the use of public information tools to raise awareness of the dangers of piracy, highlight the best practices to eradicate this criminal phenomenon, and inform the public of the dangers posed by piracy,

“Further noting with appreciation the ongoing efforts by UNODC to support efforts to enhance Somalia’s maritime security and law enforcement capacities, also noting efforts by UNODC and UNDP and the funding provided by the Trust Fund, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and other donors to develop regional judicial and law enforcement capacity to investigate, arrest and prosecute suspected pirates and to incarcerate convicted pirates consistent with applicable international human rights law,

“Bearing in mind the Djibouti Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, noting the operations of information-sharing centres in Yemen, Kenya and Tanzania and the regional maritime training centre in Djibouti, and recognizing the efforts of signatory States to develop the appropriate regulatory and legislative frameworks to combat piracy, enhance their capacity to patrol the waters of the region, interdict suspect vessels, and prosecute suspected pirates,

“Emphasizing that peace and stability within Somalia, the strengthening of State institutions, economic and social development and respect for human rights and the rule of law are necessary to create the conditions for a durable eradication of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, and further emphasizing that Somalia’s long-term security rests with the effective development by Somali authorities of the Somali National Security Forces,

“Noting with appreciation recent high-level events on Somalia which have generated substantial pledges of support, and underlining the importance of delivering on any support pledged at these events,

“Taking note with appreciation the intention expressed by the Indian Ocean Rim Association at the thirteenth meeting of its Council of Ministers to bolster maritime security and safety, including through the upcoming Indian Ocean Dialogue in India, which will explore concrete options to enhance counter-piracy cooperation, including through improved maritime information-sharing arrangements and stronger national legal capacity and laws, and encouraging the Indian Ocean Rim Association to pursue efforts that are complementary to and coordinated with the ongoing work of the CGPCS,

“Noting that the joint counter-piracy efforts of the international community and private sector have resulted in a sharp decline in pirate attacks, as well as hijackings since 2011 and emphasizing that without further action, the significant progress made in reducing the number of successful pirate attacks is reversible,

“Determining that the incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia are an important factor exacerbating the situation in Somalia, which continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

“1. Reiterates that it condemns and deplores all acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia;

“2. Recognizes that the ongoing instability in Somalia is one of the underlying causes of the problem of piracy and contributes to the problem of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, while piracy, in turn, exacerbates instability by introducing large amounts of illicit cash that fuels additional crime and corruption in Somalia;

“3. Stresses the need for a comprehensive response to repress piracy and tackle its underlying causes by the international community;

“4. Underlines the primary responsibility of Somali authorities in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, and requests the Somali authorities, with assistance from the Secretary-General and relevant UN entities, to pass a complete set of anti-piracy laws without further delay, and urges Somalia to continue efforts, with the support of the international community, to adopt an exclusive economic zone in accordance with ‘The Convention’;

“5. Recognizes the need to continue investigating and prosecuting those who plan, organize or illicitly finance or profit from pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia, including key figures of criminal networks involved in piracy, urges States, working in conjunction with relevant international organizations, to adopt legislation to facilitate prosecution of suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia;

“6. Calls upon the Somali authorities to interdict, and upon interdiction to investigate and prosecute pirates and to patrol the territorial waters off the coast of Somalia to suppress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea;

“7. Calls upon the Somali authorities to make all efforts to bring to justice those who are using Somali territory to plan, facilitate, or undertake criminal acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea and calls upon Member States to assist Somalia, at the request of Somali authorities and with notification to the Secretary-General, to strengthen maritime capacity in Somalia, including regional authorities and stresses that any measures undertaken pursuant to this paragraph shall be consistent with applicable international law, in particular international human rights law;

“8. Calls upon States to cooperate also, as appropriate, on the issue of hostage taking, and the prosecution of suspected pirates fortakinghostages;

“9. Recognizes the need for States, international and regional organizations, and other appropriate partners to exchange evidence and information for anti-piracy law enforcement purposes with a view to ensuring effective prosecution of suspected, and imprisonment of convicted pirates, and with a view to the arrest and prosecution of key figures of criminal networks involved in piracy who plan, organize, facilitate, or illicitly finance and profit from piracy operations, and keeps under review the possibility of applying targeted sanctions against individuals or entities that plan, organize, facilitate, or illicitly finance or profit from piracy operations if they meet the listing criteria set out in paragraph 8, resolution 1844 (2008); and calls upon all States to cooperate fully with the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group including on information-sharing regarding possible violations of the arms embargo or charcoal ban;

“10. Renews its call upon States and regional organizations that have the capacity to do so to take part in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, in particular, consistent with this resolution and international law, by deploying naval vessels, arms, military aircraft, by providing basing and logistical support for counter-piracy forces, and by seizing and disposing of boats, vessels, arms, and other related equipment used in the commission of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, or for which there are reasonable grounds for suspecting such use;

“11. Commends the work of the CGPCS to facilitate coordination in order to deter acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, in cooperation with the IMO, flag States and Somali authorities and urges States and international organizations to continue to support these efforts;

“12. Encourages Member States to continue to cooperate with Somali authorities in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea, notes the primary role of Somali authorities in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, and decides that for a further period of twelve months from the date of this resolution to renew the authorizations as set out in paragraph 10 of resolution 1846 (2008) and paragraph 6 of resolution 1851 (2008), as renewed by paragraph 7 of resolution 1897 (2009), paragraph 7 of resolution 1950 (2010), paragraph 9 of resolution 2020 (2011), and paragraph 12 of resolution 2077 (2012) granted to States and regional organizations cooperating with Somali authorities in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, for which advance notification has been provided by Somali authorities to the Secretary-General;

“13. Affirms that the authorizations renewed in this resolution apply only with respect to the situation in Somalia and shall not affect the rights or obligations or responsibilities of Member States under international law, including any rights or obligations, under ‘The Convention’, with respect to any other situation, and underscores in particular that this resolution shall not be considered as establishing customary international law; and affirms further that such authorizations have been renewed only following the receipt of the 12 November 2013 letter conveying the consent of Somali authorities;

“14. Decides that the arms embargo on Somalia imposed by paragraph 5 of resolution 733 (1992) and further elaborated upon by paragraphs 1 and 2 of resolution 1425 (2002) and modified by paragraphs 33 to 38 of resolution 2093 (2013)does not apply to supplies of weapons and military equipment or the provision of assistance destined for the sole use of Member States, international, regional and subregional organizations undertaking measures in accordance with paragraph 12 above;

“15. Requests that cooperating States take appropriate steps to ensure that the activities they undertake pursuant to the authorizations in paragraph 12 do not have the practical effect of denying or impairing the right of innocent passage to the ships of any third State;

“16. Calls upon all States, and in particular flag, port and coastal States, States of the nationality of victims and perpetrators of piracy and armed robbery, and other States with relevant jurisdiction under international law and national legislation, to cooperate in determining jurisdiction, and in the investigation and prosecution of all persons responsible for acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia, including anyone who incites or facilitates an act of piracy, consistent with applicable international law including international human rights law to ensure that all pirates handed over to judicial authorities are subject to a judicial process, and to render assistance by, among other actions, providing disposition and logistics assistance with respect to persons under their jurisdiction and control, such as victims and witnesses and persons detained as a result of operations conducted under this resolution;

“17. Calls upon all States to criminalize piracy under their domestic law and to favourably consider the prosecution of suspected, and imprisonment of those convicted, pirates apprehended off the coast of Somalia, and their facilitators and financiers ashore, consistent with applicable international law, including international human rights law;

“18. Reiterates its decision to continue its consideration of the establishment of specialized anti-piracy courts in Somalia and other States in the region with substantial international participation and/or support, as set forth in resolution 2015 (2011), and the importance of such courts having jurisdiction over not only suspects captured at sea, but also anyone who incites or intentionally facilitates piracy operations, including key figures of criminal networks involved in piracy who plan, organize, facilitate, or illicitly finance or profit from such attack, and encourages the CGPCS to continue its discussions in this regard;

“19. Welcomes, in this context, the UNODC Counter-Piracy Programme’s continued work with authorities in Somalia and in neighbouring States to ensure that individuals suspected of piracy are prosecuted and those convicted are imprisoned in a manner consistent with international law, including international human rights law;

“20. Urges all States to take appropriate actions under their existing domestic law to prevent the illicit financing of acts of piracy and the laundering of its proceeds;

“21. Urges States, in cooperation with INTERPOL and Europol, to further investigate international criminal networks involved in piracy off the coast of Somalia, including those responsible for illicit financing and facilitation;

“22. Commends INTERPOL for operationalizing a global piracy database that consolidates information about piracy off the coast of Somalia and facilitates the development of actionable analysis for law enforcement, and urges all States to share such information with INTERPOL for use in the database, through appropriate channels;

“23. Commends the contributions of the Trust Fund and the IMO-funded Djibouti Code of Conduct and urges both state and non-state actors affected by piracy, most notably the international shipping community, to contribute to them;

“24. Urges States parties to ‘The Convention’ and the SUA Convention to implement fully their relevant obligations under these conventions and customary international law and to cooperate with the UNODC, IMO and other States and other international organizations to build judicial capacity for the successful prosecution of persons suspected of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia;

“25. Acknowledges the recommendations and guidance provided by the IMO on preventing and suppressing piracy and armed robbery at sea; and urges States, in collaboration with the shipping and insurance industries, and the IMO, to continue to develop and implement avoidance, evasion, and defensive best practices and advisories to take when under attack or when sailing in the waters off the coast of Somalia, and further urges States to make their citizens and vessels available for forensic investigation as appropriate at the first suitable port of call immediately following an act or attempted act of piracy or armed robbery at sea or release from captivity;

“26. Encourages flag States and port States to further consider the development of safety and security measures on board vessels, including, where applicable, developing regulations for the use of PCASP on board ships, aimed at preventing and suppressing piracy off the coast of Somalia, through a consultative process, including through the IMO and ISO;

“27. Invites the IMO to continue its contributions to the prevention and suppression of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships in coordination, in particular, with the UNODC, the World Food Program (WFP), the shipping industry, and all other parties concerned, and recognizes the IMO’s role concerning privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in high-risk areas;

“28. Notes the importance of securing the safe delivery of WFP assistance by sea, welcomes the on-going work by the WFP, EU operation ATALANTA and flag States with regard to Vessel Protection Detachments on WFP vessels;

“29. Requests States and regional organizations cooperating with Somali authorities to inform the Security Council and the Secretary-General in nine months of the progress of actions undertaken in the exercise of the authorizations provided in paragraph 12 above and further requests all States contributing through the CGPCS to the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia, including Somalia and other States in the region, to report by the same deadline on their efforts to establish jurisdiction and cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of piracy;

“30. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council within 11 months of the adoption of this resolution on the implementation of this resolution and on the situation with respect to piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia;

“31. Expresses its intention to review the situation and consider, as appropriate, renewing the authorizations provided in paragraph 12 above for additional periods upon the request of Somali authority;

“32. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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Afghan man gets 15 years jail term for killing a fellow asylum seeker of Somali origin in Norway

Posted by African Press International on November 19, 2013

A 29- year-old Afghan man is in Gulating Appeals court sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of a Somali asylum seeker at New Paradise asylum seekers camp in Bergen last year .

The killer must also pay 800,000 kroner in compensation to the bereaved family .

Mohamoud Ahmed ( 45 ) from Somalia died on the 22 May last year after being stabbed 24 times . The Afghan man claims that he killed the Somali man in self-defense because he was attacked first , but the jury did not believe him.

Analysts say the Afghan may have killed in desperation after realising that the Norwegian authorities had denied him asylum in the country. He will be deported to his home country Afghanistan after serving his sentence.

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Somali refugees to return home voluntarily from Kenya

Posted by African Press International on November 13, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Nearly half a million registered Somali refugees in Kenya will get support when they return to their homeland in an orderly fashion — if they choose to do so — under an agreement signed Sunday by the UN refugee agency and the governments of Kenya and Somalia.

“It’s very important to underline that no one is forcing Somalis to leave Kenya,” said Raouf Mazou, UNHCR’s representative in Kenya.

“The government and people of Kenya have tirelessly provided protection and assistance to Somali refugees for two decades. The agreement we signed on Sunday does not mean Kenya is no longer willing to do so.”

The agreement, known formally as a Tripartite Agreement, establishes a legal framework and other support for Somali refugees in Kenya who might eventually wish to return to their homeland. It defines the roles and responsibilities of the three parties in accordance with international standards.

“Among other things, this means any refugee has the right to choose whether to go home, after they have been given information about conditions on the ground in Somalia so they can make an informed decision,” Mazou added. “It also means returns should be conducted in safety and dignity.”

In the five camps that make up the Dadaab refugee camp complex in north-eastern Kenya, there are more than 388,000 Somali refugees. There are 54,000 Somali refugees in Kakuma camp in north-western Kenya and 32,500 living in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, for a precise total of 474,483.

UN High Commissioner António Guterres, on a visit to Somalia earlier this year, acknowledged that Somali refugees are already voting with their feet and returning home by themselves to areas they deem safe. He said it would be inconceivable for refugees themselves to decide to go home and UNHCR not be there to assist them. For this reason, the Tripartite Agreement adopted an incremental approach to repatriation, starting with the provision of support to refugees who return on their own, leading to formal returns organized by UNHCR whenever conditions are right.

“This also means the agreement acknowledges the need for continued protection of Somali refugees in Kenya, and the need for other durable solutions to their plight,” Mazou said.

Signing of this agreement became possible after formation of the Federal Government of the Republic of Somalia in August 2012 that allowed for open dialogue to gradually find solutions to Somali displacement. Consolidating peace in Somalia is challenging and the situation in parts of the country remains fragile. The process, however, is moving in the right direction and there are positive signs paving the way for solutions to displacement.

“We ask the international community to support efforts towards the creation of conditions conducive for safe and dignified voluntary return to Somalia,” said Alessandra Morelli, UNHCR representative for Somalia based in Mogadishu. “No one wants to see refugees go home and have to flee again, or become displaced inside Somalia” She added that:

“UNHCR will work closely with the donor community and development actors to ensure sustainable reintegration in areas of return.”

 

SOURCE

United NationsOffice of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

 

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Law Society of Kenya condemns killing of a lawyer

Posted by African Press International on September 29, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA,API,KENYA

Law society of Kenya Bungoma chapter chairman Andrew Kituyi has condemned the killing of Peter Wanyonyi, an advocate representing Musikari Kombo in a petition challenging the election of Moses Wetang’ula as the county’s senator in the March polls.

Speaking during a fund-raising for the slain lawyer,the chairman noted that Bungoma county has been experiencing attacks leaving residents suffer from serious injuries and some killed yet no explanations has been given by the government in its investigations despite our persistent inquiries.

Mr.Kituyi call upon the police to speed up the investigation in the murder of the advocate for the culprits linked to his death to be brought to justice.

He however cautioned Bungoma residents to remain calm for police to carry out investigations and called on the public to provide the officers with information leading to the murder suspects for their arrest.

He also warned the public, politicians and other leaders in the region to desist from speculative utterances of the advocate’s killing which would be harmful leading insecurity threats.

Police bosses in Bungoma have come under sharp criticism from area residents over the recent spate of killings in Bungoma.
residents  say that the security agents led by Bungoma county commissioner Mohamed Maalim and police commandant Charles Mutinda are not doing enough to install order and assure residents of security.

Meanwhile police in Bungoma have arrested three people of Somali origin before they deported them to Nairobi.According to police sources the three were arrested in Bungoma hotel after reports from the public.

 

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Cutting Somalia’s remittance “lifeline”

Posted by African Press International on July 5, 2013

Somalia’s economy depends on remittances from abroad

NAIROBI,  – By withdrawing banking services from more than 250 money-transfer companies, Britain’s Barclays Bank risks severing an essential lifeline for millions of people in Somalia who depend on remittances from relatives in the UK, warn humanitarians, rights activists and academics.

For most of the remittance firms, the move is set to come into effect on 10 July, although an extension of 30 days has been granted to some of the companies.

Barclays said there was a risk that some of the firms might be “unwittingly facilitating money laundering and terrorist financing”.

Companies set to have their Barclays accounts shut down – effectively ending their UK operations – include one of Africa’s largest remittance firms, Dahabshiil. While countries other than Somalia may also be affected, ongoing humanitarian challenges in the nation and the absence of a formal banking system there mean that Barclays’ decision could have devastating consequences.

“A huge number of Somalis rely on remittances, which are estimated to be as much as US$1.2 billion every year – more than the entire humanitarian operation in the country,” Philippe Lazzarini, the UN’s top humanitarian official in Somalia, told IRIN. “It is not an overstatement to say this move will cut a lifeline for essential services in Somalia.”

Humanitarian fall-out

An “urgent appeal” to British Prime Minister David Cameron, issued on 1 July by 185 Somali civil society groups, said the move was likely to have “dire consequences” in Somalia “where no alternatives to the money service businesses exist.”

“We are seriously worried that without the services of these money transfer organizations, Somalis living in the diaspora throughout the UK… will not be able to send desperately needed support home to their relatives. This will have immediate and severe humanitarian implications,” the appeal added.

Four leading international aid and development NGOs have this week written privately to Barclays asking the bank to reconsider its decision, warning of significant humanitarian fall-out.

According to Senait Gebregziabher, Somalia country director at Oxfam and one of the signatories of the letter to Barclays, stopping the transfers would see many more Somali families “fall back into crisis”. Somalia is still recovering from a famine that killed some 260,000 people in 2011.

A report soon to be published by the NGOs Oxfam and Adeso estimates that members of the Somali diaspora in the UK send over 100 million pounds ($152.5 million) to Somalia every year.

These remittances are reportedly second in total value only to those sent back from the US.

Far-reaching effects

The NGOs’ research suggests that remittances account for around 60 percent of the recipients’ annual income, with money mostly being used to cover basic household expenses.

Mogadishu resident Halima Mohamed and her family depend entirely on financial support sent through money-transfer firms by her two sons in Britain and Denmark.

“My sons send $300 dollars each month, which we use to cover our basic needs like food, water and rent. Three of my children are at school, while one attends university, and we’ll find it hard to cope with the situation if Barclays proceeds with its decision,” she told IRIN.

Remittance firms serving Somalia have developed systems that help them operate in a country with no formal banking infrastructure. Using bank transfers where possible, the firms also use non-bank financial transfers based on trust and social solidarity, commonly known as ‘hawala’, meaning “transfer”. This system has become vital both for the delivery of support to families for business development. Aid groups rely on these systems as well.

Remittances account for more than a billion dollars every year

“While this suspension will not affect our local transfers, it is worth noting that the UN and many of the large relief and development organizations use hawala money transfers to pay their staff, procure assistance, and implement very successful emergency aid and poverty-relief programs such as cash-for-work,” the UN’s Dawn Blalock Goodwin told IRIN.

Liability

For Barclays, the question is one of compliance with international financial regulation and potential risk to the firm – both in terms of reputation and possible legal penalties from the US and other jurisdictions.

“As a global bank, we must comply with the rules and regulations in all the jurisdictions in which we operate. The risk of financial crime is an important regulatory concern, and we take our responsibilities in relation to this very seriously,” said Daniel Hunter, spokesperson for Barclays.

“It is recognized that some money service businesses don’t have the proper checks in place to spot criminal activity and could unwittingly be facilitating money laundering and terrorist financing.”

“Abuse of their services can have significant negative consequences for society and for us as their bank. We remain happy to serve companies who have strong anti-financial crime controls, but are asking the others to find another bank. This is solely about the company’s controls, not where they send money to,” he added.

The Barclays decision follows HSBC’s payment last December of a record $1.9 billion fine to settle accusations from US prosecutors that it had failed to implement anti-money laundering controls and allowed terrorists to move money around the financial system. The UK’s financial regulator also warned British banks on 1 July that they were not doing enough to protect against financial crime, saying they could face punishment for failing to spot abuses such as sanctions violations or terrorist funding.

In 2011, two Somali women in Minnesota were convicted of funnelling money to Al-Shabab militants using hawala brokers, and a Somali website, Sunatimes, has made allegations linking Dahabshiil to the Somali Islamists. Dahabshiil strenuously denies the claims and is taking the Somali journalist who runs the website to court.

Moving underground

But some argue the move by Barclays will shift legitimate transfers to murkier channels.

More than 100 academics and aid practitioners wrote to the British government last week to protest Barclays decision, warning that closing down money transfer channels “will only encourage people to send funds through illegal, unsafe, and untraceable channels, thereby potentially making the problem of support to proscribed parties much more serious”.

The view from Dadaab
While the threat to remittance flows into Somalia has provoked the greatest outcry, there is also concern about the impact on Somali refugees in neighbouring Kenya.

According to hawala companies operating in the 20-year-old Dadaab camp, which houses two-thirds of Kenya’s 500,000-strong Somali refugee population, more than a third of camp residents depend on remittances sent from abroad.

“What we receive from aid agencies is not enough, so if these remittances are closed or scaled down, our main source of support will be cut off,” Fatuma Mohamed Ali, a mother of eight who receives money from her relatives in the UK and Denmark, told IRIN. “I started a business with the money my daughter sent me.”

Refugees are not allowed to move out of the Dadaab complex, but many manage to run thriving businesses in the camp by using remittance money to contract people to buy goods for them in Garissa, Nairobi and Mombasa.

A Dahabshiil official, who did not want to be named, said: “In addition to the refugees, some of the aid agencies operating in Dadaab use our services, as the security situation make it difficult for them to carry cash around. Every month, we pay salaries to hundreds of staff as well as transfer other money to pay for agency operations. As you can, these hawala firms are a lifeline for the Dadaab camps.”

“We are regulated by the UK government. We are a licensed institution as is any other legal company,” Abdirashid Duale, CEO of Dahabshiil, told IRIN.

“Dahabshiil’s anti-financial crime controls are fully compliant with all applicable legal requirements and industry best practice and have been regularly audited by HMRC [the UK’s customs and tax department] for a number of years (on behalf of the FSA [Financial Services Authority]), without any adverse findings.”

“There is no other bank willing to open an account for us in the UK,” Omar Abdinur, managing director of Tawakal UK, another remittance firm affected by the decision, told IRIN.  “We have approached many banks but they are not willing. They say that money transfer is a risky business, but there is no single case in the UK where it has been proved that our firms are under-regulated or that we have transferred money to people under sanctions.”

Government response

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has also called on Barclays to reverse its decision, stressing that the country is at a turning point “after two decades of chaos”.

“We understand Barclays’ corporate responsibility and its duty to its global customers to maintain a reputation for tackling financial crime, but that does not have to mean pulling the rug from under the feet of people battling extreme poverty – and before our fledgling government can step in to help,” he said in a statement last week.

Though faltering in its recovery – with some 10 percent of its population still reliant on humanitarian aid and violence ongoing in parts of the country – Somalia is seen as taking some steps in the right direction, a transition in which the UK is playing a key role.

In May, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, with President Hassan, hosted the second London Conference on Somalia, at which international donors pledged some $300 million in assistance.

But remittance flows to Somalia remain the country’s highest foreign exchange earner, and are a vital revenue stream. Any drop in remittances would throttle signs of economic recovery, analysts say.

“Somalia is almost entirely dependent on remittances, and if the closures come into effect, this could cause a humanitarian crisis as well as economic stagnation,” Somali economist Professor Yahye Amir told IRIN.

Extending the central bank’s reach and introducing banking regulation are among the government’s many priorities. Normal bank transfers, such as SWIFT, are not currently possible.

“Because Somalia’s crisis has been so prolonged, families have little ability to absorb shocks such as floods, droughts, disease outbreaks, displacement, a poor harvest or, in this case, an economic shock,” said the UN’s Lazzarini.

“The key thing to realize is that when humanitarian needs are assessed, remittances are already factored in. So a withdrawal or disruption of remittances will likely increase the number of vulnerable households or, for already vulnerable families, increase their need for humanitarian aid,” he said.

“With no formal banking systems as an alternative, we know from our experience on the ground that if remittances from the UK to Somalia were to be halted, many more families would fall back into crisis.”

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) noted in a statement the “important role” played by remittances “in supporting the economy and people of Somalia”. But an FCO spokesperson also said that “Barclays’ decision is ultimately a private commercial matter”.

zf/am/rz source http://www.irinnews.org

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