Social Reconciliation and Conflict Management


Social Reconciliation and Conflict Management

1. Conflict Management

1.1 Land Conflict Management
Land-based conflict involves several actors which include specific clans in clan based areas and villages as well as existing settlements, which basically lead to interrelated problems in urban Somaliland. In addition, weaknesses in the state and the dominance of the clan structure in Somaliland society are factors which contribute to the occurrence of land disputes between clan/individuals which occasionally escalate into clan conflicts. Conflict over land ownership also occur at boundary zones between clan settlements and grazing areas as well as every now and then among pastoralists in rural areas where pasture and water are fundamental for the survival of communities and their livestock. The role of government is limited, and display minimal control; and in some instances government officials collude in the matter.

1.2 Natural Resource Management

The ongoing oil exploration activities have exposed the depth of conflict/dispute based on natural resources. Due to deep misunderstandings and mistrust, clan militias have clashed with government troops. Since there is no natural resource law or regulatory framework, such disputes have little chance of being resolved if their effect on the overall stability of the country is to be minimized. The frankincense and charcoal industries are also in dire need of regulation in order to minimize unnecessary depletion, and damage to the environment.

1.3 Clan Conflict Management

Clan conflicts are a major cause of instability and a hindrance to the development and progress of Somaliland. The most widespread type of clan conflicts are those that recur due to vengeance cycles. Some of these occur as a result of the failure of ‘dia’ payments to mitigate disputed conflicts. Others happen as a result of claims to ownership of land at the junction points of clan settlements. These conflicts occur every now and then at different locations among pastoralist clans in rural areas where resources of pasture and water are vital for the survival of the communities in conflict. Conflicts between more sedentary communities are equally endemic. Its recurrence has been as a result of failed mediation mechanism utilized to resolve conflicts.
Clan conflicts have resulted in death, destruction and physical and mental trauma to the concerned parties. It also has become a threat to the peace and stability of Somaliland by reviving old wounds. In the absence of regulatory laws, and the minimal capabilities of government, these conflicts need immediate intervention.

2. Security Sector Reform
Security Sector reform aims to create a secure environment that is conducive to development, poverty reduction, and good governance and, in particular, the growth of democratic states and institutions based on the rule of law. The main goal of implementing Security Sector Reforms is to build trust and co-operation between the security apparatus and civilians within a state, through the development of regulations to clearly set out the rights and responsibilities of all concerned parties in order to adequately safeguard security. Security Sector Reform should also ensure the security apparatus demonstrate human rights principles formulated by international norms of policing such as the United Nations Basic Principles on the use of force.
In the first phase of activities conducted by the social reconciliation pillar, the dire need to implement Security Sector Reforms became apparent after carrying out various research initiatives in all of Somaliland’s regions and consulting with civil society, the judiciary and members of the executive. The antagonistic relationship between the police apparatus and greater society was pinpointed as the single most problematic challenge to attaining lasting social reconciliation in Somaliland. Somaliland’s police apparatus were not fulfilling their prescribed function, and the implementation of law as a means to procure social change seemed to be the only solution, alongside extensive police training.
The social reconciliation pillar in co-operation with all relevant stakeholders successfully drafted the 2011 Police law which was thus tabled before Parliament, debated and eventually passed. The police order has not been implemented as of yet, but we are certain that it will improve the conduct of the police apparatus, and usher in a new of era of attaining a cohesive response to maintaining Somaliland’s security. The social reconciliation pillar is committed to further conducting research on Security Sector reform, and providing technical assistance on the implementation of the 2011 police law.

3. Social Cohesion

Many private businesses, mosques, educational institutions, money remittance agencies and related financial firms and other small markets, all function based on clan-oriented premises. Mainly existing around the entire country, clan-based private schools and other commercial activities, for supremacy and the establishment of an income resource for the clan, is part of these barriers which obstruct trust and faith between communities, while in turn advancing suspicion and hostilities. Cross-fertilization and ‘trust-building’ projects to influence communities within the country to achieve a unified stance towards the development of Somaliland must be continued in order to strengthen past successes.

4. Political Reconciliation

Somaliland’s society desires/requires a political reconciliation process, which all the stakeholders concur on a power sharing arrangement which will assure representation of all communities and societal groups. In Somaliland there are clans which have different political allegiances. For example, there is Khaatumo State of Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland which all differ on their political aspirations. This has led to an almost complete political impasse between the three polities and full-on military confrontations between them all, at one point or another. It has also affected the unity/trust, stability amongst the locality in the different communities living side by side in the conflict ridden eastern regions. In addition, all efforts by the traditional elders as well as peace activists have had minimal impact as the issues at hand exceed their capabilities. This can be attributed to the fact that the clan leadership mechanism is not equipped to intervene on disputes over political issues due to the layers of complexities involved.
There are issues which surround the constitutionally protected principle of equality. Equality is a difficult and deeply controversial social ideal which is found in the bill of rights in almost all modern day nation states constitutions, and at its most basic and abstract, the formal idea of equality is that people who are similarly situated in relevant ways should be treated similarly. This constitutionally guaranteed principle is especially relevant to safeguard minority and historically marginalized groups. The main societal groups which must be accorded greater political reconciliation are women and minority clans such as the Gaboye. These two groups have voiced a great deal of dissatisfaction.