THT- Hon. Gavin Williamson, Conservative party that leads the British government member, who introduced the debate to parliament began his speech;
I am very grateful for the privilege of being able to bring this Adjournment debate to the House today.
In 1960, Somaliland emerged independent of the British Empire after many years as the British Somaliland protectorate. For five days it was independent, before it took the step to merge with what was then the Trust Territory of Somaliland, historically Italian, to form a union. Both nations entered that union with optimism—a sense and a view of creating a pan-Somalia where all Somalis would be able to come together. The hope, for so many of those in Somaliland, was that this would be a union of equals.
Sadly, over the following 30 years, those hopes and aspirations for what might have been were not fulfilled. Instead, as the years progressed, the situation got worse, with military dictatorships and, tragically, people from the north of Somalia in historically British Somaliland being discriminated against. What started to emerge was attacks on civilians. There were mass killings of tens of thousands of Somali civilians. It was one of the few conflicts where fighter jets took off from cities in one area in order to bomb the cities that they had taken off from, indiscriminately killing thousands of civilians.
Rushanara Ali Labour, Bethnal Green and Bow
My constituency has a very large population from Somaliland, whose families suffered, as the right Hon. Gentleman has described, in that conflict. Last year, Somaliland celebrated 30 years since the declaration of independence. It has built up its own independent Government, its own currency and democratic elections. It has shown the capability to establish a state. Is it not time that the UK Government formally recognise its right to self-determination and its need to be an independent state?
Gavin Williamson, Conservative, South Staffordshire
The Hon. Lady raises a very important point. The key reason for this debate is to discuss the fact that Somaliland has developed so much. In those years of conflict—where so many Somalilanders had their lives under threat, and so many hundreds of thousands were displaced, both internally within Somaliland and externally—that dream and that vision of creating their own homeland once again and re-establishing those old territorial borders burned bright, and that is what they were able to achieve in 1991.
Stephen Doughty Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development)
I draw the House’s attention to my interest as one of the vice-chairs of the all-party parliamentary group on Somaliland. It has been a privilege to work with the right Hon. Gentleman on these issues. Will he also pay tribute to my predecessor, Alun Michael, and the many members of the Somalilander community in Cardiff and across the UK for exposing those atrocities at the time, including in this House and elsewhere, and explaining what had gone on to the world? Will he commend them on what they did at that time?
The Somaliland recognition case, which was debated in the British Parliament on 18 January 2022, was supported and endorsed by some 20 members of all UK political parties, and lasted for an hour and a half.
Hon. Chris Heaton-Harris, UK minister of EU stated UK government’s position is in line with the others and Somaliland and Somalia should decide on their future relations, and whatever outcome, neighbour should endorse.
See here Full Excerpts of the debate at UK Parliament site