Protecting civilians in armed conflict
< Back to the other News

Somali factions commit themselves under Geneva Call to ban anti-personal mines

12th November 2002 | Somalia - Landmine ban

Somali Factions Commit Themselves under Geneva Call to Ban Anti-personal Mines

12 November 2002

Somali factions, including the Transitional National Government (cf. below list), gathering under the auspices of IGAD in Eldoret, Kenya, signed on Monday, the 11th of November, 2002, the Deed of Commitment under Geneva Call for Adherence to a Total Ban of Anti-Personnel Mines and for Cooperation in Mine Action .

Somali factions, which have been involved in a bloody civil war for 12 years, are attending the Somalia national reconciliation conference in Eldoret in an effort to bring peace to the war torn country. A first step was achieved two weeks ago with the signing of a truce agreement. The situation in Somalia is extremely complex and fluctuating.

Somalia has not had a fully functional government and has been ruled by clan warlords since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in January 1991. The Transitional National Government formed in July 2000 controls only parts of Mogadishu and slivers of territory elsewhere.Due to the 1977-1978 war against Ethiopia and the ongoing civil war, Somalia is one of the most heavily mine affected countries in Africa. Between 1995 and 2000, about 4 400 people were killed or injured by landmines. Moreover, their presence terrorizes the population, hinders socio-economic reconstruction and prevents refugees and displaced people from returning home. In this regard, the commitment of the Somali factions will contribute to preventing new mines from being planted in the ground and will facilitate the implementation of mine clearance programmes by the international community. It will also contribute to building confidence among the factions attending the Eldoret conference as well as to sending a positive signal to the peace process.

Geneva Call is aware that the commitment of the Somali factions takes on a particular character given the complexity of the conflict and will take time to be fully implemented on the ground. It is also aware that some militiamen are fighting outside the control of the factions and might use landmines for economic purposes. However, despite these difficulties, Geneva Call believes that the commitment taken today is an important step towards universalization of the mine ban norm in the country and a contribution to a mine-free Somalia.

Geneva Call is an international humanitarian NGO dedicated to engaging non-State actors to adhere to a total ban on anti-personnel mines. To facilitate this process, it provides a complimentary mechanism by which non-State actors, as they are not eligible to sign the Ottawa Convention, can commit themselves by signing a unilateral declaration called the Deed of Commitment . To date, five groups have banned this indiscriminate weapon through the Deed of Commitment : the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Revolutionary Proletarian Movement of the Philippines and, last August, the two major Kurdish movements of Iraq. Negotiations are underway in Angola, Burma, Chechnya, Colombia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Western Sahara.

List of  factions leaders who signed the Deed of Commitment:

Hassan Abshir, Prime Minister of the Transitional National Government and Abdalla Derow Isak, Speaker of the Parliament of the Transitional National Government.

Abdullahi Yusuf, President of Puntland State of Somalia.

Hussein Farah Aideed, Chairman of the Somali National Alliance (SNA)/Co-Chairman of the Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council SRRC).

Hilowle Imam Omar, Chairman of the United Somali Congress/North Mogadishu/Co-chairman of the Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC).

Col. Hassan Mohamed Nur Shatigudud, Chairman of the Rahanweyn Resistance Army-1 (RRA).

Gen. Aden Abdullahi Nur, Gabyow Chairman of the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM).

Mohamed Omar Habeb Dhere, Chairman of Jowhar Administration.

Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail, Chairman of the Southern Somali National Movement (SSNM)/BIREM.

Mohamed Sayid Aden, Chairman of the Somali National Front(SNF)/SRRC.

Osman Hassan Ali Ato, Chairman of the USC/SNA/SRRC/ Nakuru.

Omar Mohamoud Mohamed, Finish Chairman of the USC/Somali Salvation Army (SSA).

Mohamed Osman Maye, Chairman of Benadiri.

Hasan Abdulle Qalad, Chairman of the Hiran Patriotic Alliance (HPA).

Abdulaziz Sheikh Yusuf, Chairman of the Southern Somali National Movement (SSNM)/SNA.

Mowlid Ma ane Mohamud, Chairman of the Somali African Muki Organisation (SAMO)/SRRC Nakuru.