Delegates from across Europe battled travel chaos to meet in Lyon and discuss ways forward in support of Somaliland as presidential elections edge closer this summer.16th -18th April
Below is an article published by UNPO:
Over two days, representatives of the Somaliland diaspora in Europe met in Lyon, France at the annual Somaliland Societies in Europe (SSE) conference. Discussions focussed on the long awaited presidential elections. Topics also included new ways in which to promote the achievements of Somaliland and to set the agenda for the coming year – which would mark the twentieth anniversary of Somaliland’s declaration of independence and the beginning of its remarkable transformation from the imposed dictatorship of Siad Barre to a nascent democracy.
Dr. Charles Tannock MEP expressed in opening remarks his ongoing support for Somaliland and commended the diaspora on their work in supporting Somalilanders at home and in Europe. There was an ongoing need to raise the profile of the Somaliland but organisations such as the Somaliland Societies in Europe (SSE) were take a proactive lead in this role. For his part, Dr. Tannock reassured all those present of his support and determination to raise the profile of Somaliland in the European Parliament and with the European institutions.
UNPO, represented by Andrew Swan, echoed the calls made by Dr. Tannock and paid tribute the tremendous effort that had “made Somaliland a refuge, inspiration, and opportunity for all Somalis.” The Somaliland diaspora was supporting the democratic development taking place in Somaliland but widely held conclusion was that “the international community needs to give greater recognition to what Somalilanders have achieved.” UNPO’s role in supporting elections in Iraq and Zanzibar proved what could be done and the hope was that this could be extended to Somaliland.
Presentations from representatives of the eleven constituent organisations of the SSE illustrated the hard work conducted to date and the support being given to Somalilanders in Europe. The establishment of reading groups was one major step in support of education throughout Somaliland that was highlighted. The conference was also used to publicise the publication of Geedka Weerane (‘The Mourning Tree’) that tells the story of prisoner of conscience, Mohamed Barud Ali and his years of imprisonment under the regime of Siad Barre. The conference concluded with discussions on the annual activities of the year to date and brought new focus on the forthcoming year, priorities for each Somaliland association, and the planning of activities to follow the presidential elections scheduled for summer 2010.
Programme (PDF Format, 288kb)
Presentations (To be released)
Conference Report (To be released)
For more information on Somaliland Societies in Europe, click here.
For more information on the Association Somalilandaise de France, click here.
For more information on ‘The Mourning Tree’, please click here.