posted on Wed 6 Jul 2016 4:42 PM
Reauthorisation of the AU-UN Mission in Somalia

Tomorrow (7 July), the Security Council will adopt a resolution reauthorising the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until 31 May 2017. Resolution 2289, adopted on 7 May, authorised a short technical rollover of AMISOM until 8 July in order to allow Council members time to assess the results of their 17-22 May Somalia-focused visiting mission to the Horn of Africa and the possible implications for the AMISOM mandate. The UK, as penholder, drafted the resolution and circulated it ahead of the Council’s first meeting on the reauthorisation, which was held on 23 June. It appears that the negotiations were straightforward, with few contentious issues, particularly considering the length and complexity of the mandate. Following two rounds of negotiations, the draft was put into blue yesterday.

While the draft resolution maintains the same basic tasks for AMISOM and relies heavily on previously-agreed language from resolutions 2232 (2015) and 2093 (2013), among others, the focus has been on prioritising the mandate, as requested by troop-contributing countries (TCCs) and supported by P3 members. As such, the operational paragraphs that delineate AMISOM’s security tasks in the draft resolution are prioritised, with the priorities and tasks divided into strategic objectives, priority tasks and essential tasks, respectively.

The draft makes the key strategic objective of AMISOM the reduction of the threat posed by Al Shabaab and other armed opposition groups. Another strategic objective is facilitating the political process at all levels, as well as enabling the stabilisation efforts, reconciliation and peacebuilding in Somalia by providing security for the Somalia people. Among the ‘essential tasks’ there is new language on AMISOM engaging with communities in recovered areas and promoting understanding between AMISOM and local populations, to allow for longer term stabilisation.

On the pressing issue of financing, the draft adds language welcoming the support already provided by the international community and bilateral donors to the Somali security sector, encourages partners to further enhance their support to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) for the development of the Somali security sector, and calls upon new partners to come forward to support this development. It further requests the AU, the UN and TCCs to jointly determine the equipment requirements for AMISOM and to conclude negotiations on the trilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) without delay, and requests the Secretary-General to report on the status of the tripartite MOUs in his regular reporting.

The draft expresses agreement with the Secretary-General’s recommendation in his 2 July 2015 letter to the Council that progress towards the further degradation of Al-Shabaab’s capacity to launch attacks, and improving the capacity of Somali forces to progressively sustain control of areas recaptured from Al-Shabaab, can enable a gradual reduction of AMISOM’s role in Somalia. This would then allow a transition to a role of oversight and rapid response in support of the Somali security forces.

There is new language on AMISOM’s obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. The draft resolution calls on the mission to cooperate with UNSOM and UNSOS in implementing the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy regarding UN support to non-UN security forces, and calls upon the AU to investigate and report allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and humanitarian law. New language was added urging the full support of troop and police contributors for the Civilian Casualty Tracking Analysis and Response Cell.

Regarding the FGS and human rights, it seems that on the recommendation of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict the draft encourages the FGS to prioritise the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. In addition, it highlights the detention of children for association with armed forces as detailed in the 20 April report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict. Taking up a recommendation from OCHA, the draft encourages the FGS, with the support of partners, to create an environment conducive to the voluntary repatriation of refugees, and the voluntary, safe and dignified return, local integration or resettlement of internally displaced persons.

One ‘priority task’ was expanded. Whereas the original language in resolution 2093 mandated AMISOM to assist with the free movement, safe passage and protection of all those involved with the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia, the draft resolution adds as a key priority that AMISOM ensure the security of the electoral process in Somalia.

Egypt, on behalf of the African members, broke silence over the reference to the recent appointment of a force commander. It appears there was difficulty striking a balance between expressing regret over the negative effects of a long vacancy in this post, and commending Djibouti’s initiative to fill the post out of turn. (Ethiopia had originally been expected to supply the Force Commander.) The original language welcomed the recent appointment of a new Force Commander and urged his immediate deployment. It seems that the African countries wanted to ensure that Djibouti was not seen as having been responsible for the delay in the appointment of a Force Commander. There also appears to have been some difference over how to reflect the speed at which the Force Commander should be deployed, with the African countries suggesting “prompt” deployment and the UK “immediate” deployment. The draft in blue notes with concern that the delay of the appointment has impacted the mission’s effectiveness, commends the decision of the government of Djibouti to nominate the Force Commander, and looks forward to his immediate deployment.