Monday, July 13, 2009

Open Letter to U.S. Congressman Mr. Donald Payne of New Jersey

Letter to Congressman Donald M. Payne – Somaliland Forum

To: Congressman Donald Payne, Chairman
Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health
2310 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, District of Columbia 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman,
Somaliland Forum thanks you greatly for your genuine concern for the suffering people of Somalia. As Somalia’s neighbor, Somaliland is equally pleased that you urged the many Somalia factions to focus on the needs of the Somali people while respecting the peace, security and governance of their country. It is our hope they heed your concerns.

Respectfully, we would like to bring your attention to the choice the people of Somaliland made in contrast to Somalia. Since 1991, Somaliland went on to build a stable and a democratic nation in East Africa without much help from the international community, including the United States.
Three Somaliland Presidents have been elected, as have Parliamentarians and regions in Somaliland continue to elect their mayors, counselors and other representatives. These elections have all taken place under the watchful eyes of international observers. The next presidential elections will take place in September 2009.

It has been documented on numerous occasions and many fact-finding missions concluded Somaliland has achieved greatly. In fact, John Drysdale, a United Nations adviser, wrote in the Economist magazine in 1995 “Somaliland is the only Country in the region that really works”. The people of Somaliland understood building their nation rested solely with them and as a result have not become a burden to the world community.

Mr. Chairman, Somaliland became independent in June 26, 1960. After Somalia was granted her independence in July of that year, Somaliland initiated a “Union” with Somalia in the hopes of a greater “Somali Republic”. In return, Somaliland received 30 years of disastrous policies that saw the aerial bombardment of cities, the massacre of over 50,000 innocent people, and the displacement of over 1,000,000 and the systemic humiliation of the people of Somaliland. Amnesty International documented these atrocities.
As a consequence, Somaliland decided to withdraw from the “Union” and Somaliland was not legally bound as the Union was never officially formed. Somaliland citizens voted overwhelmingly – with 97% approval – for their Constitution which called for the restoration of the Republic of Somaliland.

Mr. Chairman, Somaliland takes no solace in the suffering of the people in Somalia because it’s our hope that a stable and a democratic nation emerges. Somaliland believes in a peaceful coexistence with its neighbors and will work toward that goal.
Somaliland does not deserve the threat of isolation but rather the true engagement and alliance from the government of the United States of America. America pledges to support those who embrace democracy. There is no better opportunity to illustrate that pledge than with Somaliland. Somaliland Forum considers the language that came out of the June 25th hearings a momentary lapse and not the policy of the U.S. government. The tone set by a U.S. policy maker could have unintended consequences in the volatile region of the Horn.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, Somaliland Forum urges your subcommittee to undertake a fact-finding mission to Somaliland as you have to Somalia. Somaliland’s decision to restore its independence is neither reversible nor open to negotiation. Somaliland does not interfere in the affairs of Somalia and the U.S. continually infusing the two nations does little to advance peace and stability.

Thank you greatly,
The Somaliland Forum

Somaliland Forum is a nonpartisan and an independent organization that brings together Somaliland citizens in the Diaspora. The Forum helps Somaliland Communities and friends around the globe to work together and contribute to the socioeconomic and political development of the Republic of Somaliland. For more information about the Somaliland Forum please visit

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