The Security Council today called for a 50 per cent increase to 12,000 troops in the United Nations-backed African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in Somalia, which has been trying to bring stability to a country torn apart by 20 years of factional fighting.
In a unanimous resolution authorizing deployment of the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until 30 September 2011, the 15-member body called on Member States and international organizations to contribute funds and equipment “generously and promptly” to enable the force to fulfil a mandate that ranges from restoring peace to helping the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) develop national security and police forces.
It asks Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to provide UN logistical support to the enlarged force with equipment and services, while continuing his good offices for reconciliation in a country where Al Shabaab, other Islamist militias, factional groups and foreign fighters control vast tracts of territory in a fight to oust the internationally recognized TFG, based in Mogadishu, the capital.
Somalia has not had a functioning central government since the overthrow of the Muhammad Siad Barre in 1991, and the Council reiterated its serious concern at the impact of the continued fighting on the civilian population, stressing the terrorist threat that the armed opposition, particularly Al Shabaab, constitutes not only for Somalia but for the international community.
Citing human rights violations against civilians, including women and children, and humanitarian personnel, it voiced concern at “the worsening humanitarian situation” and “the significant decline” in humanitarian funding for Somalia and called on all Member States to contribute to current and future appeals.
The Council also reiterated its intent, mentioned in past resolutions, to set up a UN peacekeeping operation when conditions permit. At present the UN maintains a political office for Somalia (UNPOS) in Nairobi, capital of neighbouring Kenya, because of the poor security situation inside Somalia.
As in the past, the resolution called on all parties to support the Djibouti Agreement, a UN-facilitated peace process that began in 2008 and has been joined by one of the rebel groups.
On piracy, which has plagued shipping off the Somali coast, including vital supplies from the UN World Food Programme (WPF) to scores of thousands of hungry civilians, the Council called for a comprehensive international response to tackle both the scourge and its underlying causes.