Security Council Briefing: UNSOM

Statement by H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom,
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York

New York, 13 September 2018

Thank you very much, Madame President,

I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary General Mr. Keating, Ambassador Madeira and Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of UN Women for their briefings. Their briefings were clear, Somalia remains volatile and many challenges remain for the people of Somalia, in particular for women and girls. I was especially touched by the information of UN Women on that score.

Let me begin by saying that to address the challenges faced by women and girls in Somalia, we need greater representation of women in political structures and in political processes. And we feel very strongly that Somalia now has a clear window of opportunity to advance gender equality: in the reform agenda, in the constitutional review process and in the preparations for the elections in 2020.

Madame President, we welcome progress made by the Federal Government of Somalia on economic, political and security sector reforms. But many risks remain if you listen to the briefers. Let me mention violent extremism, armed conflicts, political instability, and the possibility of further humanitarian crises.

And in that light, Madame President, let me focus on three issues:

  • The implementation of the Transition Plan;
  • The need to address the Root Causes;
  • The Protection of Civilians.

1. The implementation of the Transition Plan

On my first point, we urge the Federal Government and AMISOM to accelerate implementation of the Transition Plan. The next months will be key and success depends on the efforts and cooperation of all stakeholder involved. Efforts, first and foremost of the Somali’s themselves and of AMISOM. But also efforts of the international community in providing support.

In that light we welcome the wind of change in the Horn of Africa. We applaud the recent joint commitment of Eritrea and Somalia to restore diplomatic relations.

2. The need to address root causes

Madame President, this brings me to my second point. It is essential that the root causes of the conflict are addressed to achieve sustainable peace.

Stronger Rule of Law is key to address root causes such as corruption and impunity. Reforming the Somali security forces is on the one hand essential for the eventual phasing out of AMISOM. But on the other hand, it will only be effective within a strong justice framework. The Federal Government of Somalia should show real progress. This includes implementing the agreements concluded earlier. Agreements on constitutional review, federalisation, and reform of the justice chain.  

Madame President, we remain concerned about the impact of climate change and ecological changes on the stability of Somalia. We underline the point just made by our Swedish colleague. In resolution 2408, the Security Council emphasised the need for risk assessments and strategies relating to these factors. And we call on the UN and the Federal Government of Somalia to make progress on this. We look forward to the new Secretary-General’s report which should include reporting on these issues.

3. Protection of Civilians

Madame President, this brings me to the protection of civilians, my third point. We are really concerned about the heavy toll that the conflict continues to exact on civilians.

We remain concerned about the scale of sexual abuse and assaults on women and young girls. Gender-Based Violence remains a key protection concern. This in particular applies to IDPs, who are already extremely vulnerable.

We express our great appreciation to national and international troops in Somalia. But at the same time, we call upon the Government of Somalia and international partners to do everything possible to prevent civilian casualties during operations. In addition, it is crucial that the Federal Government of Somalia holds perpetrators of sexual violence accountable. We welcome in that light the approval of the Sexual Offence Bill. And we hope it will soon be adopted at federal level. Let me stress that accountability is key for a stable political future.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Madame President, we commend the Federal Government of Somalia for promoting a positive reform agenda. But although progress is being made, the scale of the challenges facing Somalia remains daunting. Failure to address any of these challenges might have a knock on effect on the others. It is therefore crucial that all stakeholders work together in a coordinated way. The Kingdom of the Netherlands will continue to support Somalia on the road to stability.

Finally, Madame President, let me reiterate our appreciation to SRSG Keating, who will lay down his tasks at the end of this month. We want to thank you for your tireless commitment, your persistence and your leadership. We admire your courage, especially in these difficult conditions. We wish you the best in your next endeavor and we welcome the appointment of Nicholas Haysom as the new SRSG.

Thank you very much, Madame President.

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