Somalia: NGOs Urge 'Solution From Within'
By Daan Bauwens, 26 February 2012
A viable political process emerged as the key objective of the London
Conference on Somalia. ( Resource:
Leaders Pledge Help For Somalia
BRUSSELS/JUBA, Feb 25 2012 (IPS) - - While the international community
discusses Somalia's future in London and Brussels, European and Somali
non-governmental organisations are calling for a radical shift from a
military to a humanitarian approach as the only solution to the country's
Somalia has still not recovered from its last humanitarian crisis. Six
months after the United Nations declared a famine in the country, more than
325, 000 children are still suffering from acute malnutrition. Though last
summer's response from the international community and civil society did
succeed in saving many lives, expulsions of aid agencies and internationally
backed military operations still impede humanitarian assistance from
reaching those who are most in need.
During the London Somalia Conference last Thursday, world leaders reached an
agreement on seven key areas to put an end to Somalia's precarious
situation, including security, piracy, terrorism, humanitarian assistance,
local stability, a reinstallment of the political process and international
Talks about the country will resume at the European Union Foreign Affairs
meeting starting next Monday in Brussels.
Although NGOs applaud the international community's initiative and effort to
help Somalia, the proposed seven key areas were received with mixed
"What we had hoped for was a recognition that twenty years of
internationally imposed solutions have failed. However, what we've seen once
again were externally driven solutions that haven't worked, aren't working
and will not work," Barbara Stocking from Oxfam International said in a
press release on Thursday.
Oxfam is demanding that the international community radically shift its
approach in order to effectively brighten Somalia's future. In its new
report 'Putting the Interests of Somali People First', the organisation
states that although responsibility for Somalia's crisis lies foremost with
factions inside the country, international engagement has at times made
For many governments involved in Somalia, military action is seen as a means
of providing security and stability, but reports from inside tell a
"Setting out a new approach by shifting the emphasis away from anti-piracy
and security concerns and taking practical steps towards an inclusive
political process must be at the top of Europe's agenda if it is serious
about bringing long-term peace and security to ordinary Somalis and the
region," Natalia Alonso, Head of Oxfam's EU office in Brussels, stated in a
press release on Wednesday.
"For more than twenty years foreign armies have been coming in and going out
of Somalia, without any success," Tidhar Wald, Oxfam's EU humanitarian
policy advisor told IPS. "What we need right now is an inclusive, Somali-led
peace process. Somalis themselves should have a say in the solution the
international community is outlining. If you look at the conferences that
are taking place right now, you can clearly see there are not enough Somali
voices taking part in the decision-making."
Oxfam's standpoint is reflected on the ground in Somalia itself.
"The last twenty years have seen numerous military interventions in
Somalia," Aydris Daar, CEO of the Wajir South Development Association
(WASDA) in Juba, Somalia, told IPS. "Whenever they occurred, they led to an
increase of conflicts inside the country. And when conflicts increase,
regular people do not have time to attend to ther daily work, children
cannot go to school and there is no time or space to do business, which
affects the economic situation. Military actions in Somalia have never
improved the humanitarian situation," he said.
According to WASDA, any solution for Somalia's war-torn condition should be
fully grounded in a humanitarian principle.
"International action should not lead to further suffering in Somalia,"
Aydris Daar told IPS, "The solution must come from within but before that
can happen, we need support: funding for Somalia must be (long term), so it
can go beyond relief into recovery and development. Seventy percent of the
people in Somalia are younger than 35; it is their poverty and unemployment
that is pushing them to take sides in the conflicts. This is what is
fuelling conflicts in Somalia."
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Received on Sun Feb 26 2012 - 12:49:47 EST