Updated Sanctions List Can Help Somalia in Its fight against Al-Shabaab, Chair of Committee Pursuant to Resolution 751 (1992) Tells Security Council

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Three members of the Al-Shabaab armed group have been listed for sanctions during the reporting period to further help the federal Government of Somalia fight the insurgents, the Chair of the Security Council’s sanctions regime for the country said today.

“While it is too early to see the impact of these listings, an updated sanctions list can be a significant tool in supporting the Federal Government of Somalia in its fight against Al-Shabaab,” said Geraldine Byrne Nason (Ireland), Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia, during a briefing on the subsidiary organ’s work from 26 February to 14 June.  She added that those three individuals hold various positions in the armed group.

She also noted that the Committee received the comprehensive midterm update of the Panel of Experts on Somalia on 14 May and discussed the content at a second informal virtual meeting on 4 June.  During that meeting, she said, the acting Coordinator of the Panel, who was appointed following the resignation of the Coordinator on 27 April 2021, highlighted four key areas of the Panel’s midterm update — the continued threat posed by Al-Shabaab, including the use of improvised explosive devices; violations of international humanitarian law; ongoing investigations into the group’s finances; the management of weapons and ammunition by the federal Government; and the ban on the export of charcoal from the country.

She said Committee members welcomed the Panel’s work on Al-Shabaab’s finances, expressed concern over the reported violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, and noted that effective weapons and ammunition management procedures instituted by the Federal Government were key to preventing military equipment from falling into the hands of Al-Shabaab and a faction of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The Committee is currently considering the six recommendations contained in the Panel’s midterm update, including the idea of a consultative process with the Federal Government on the requirements of the arms embargo regime, she reported.

Following the briefing, Abukar Dahir Osman (Somalia) said that the arms embargo against his country is the longest and widest regime, stressing that sanctions are a tool, not an end in itself.  Requesting the establishment of practical and achievable benchmarks for lifting the measures, he welcomed recent steps towards evidence-based reporting and more institutionalized process.  Turning to action by Kenya’s air forces in 2019, he said they systematically destruct Somali property.  Their use of cluster munitions, which is prohibited under the relevant Convention, was confirmed by the Panel of Experts.  More recently, their air raids killed sleeping Somali families, including innocent children.  These systematic attacks constitute war crimes and should be referred to the International Criminal Court, he said, questioning the peacekeeping role of Kenya.

Michael Kapkiai Kiboino (Kenya) rejected false allegations levelled against his country by the previous speaker, reemphasizing his nation’s commitment to the peace process in Somalia as a good neighbour.  For many years, a peaceful and stable Somalia is in Kenya’s interest and Al-Shabaab is a common enemy.

Speaking again, Somalia’s delegate asked his Kenyan counterpart if the widespread air bombing and systematic destruction of property in Somalia are considered peacekeeping.  “Arsonists cannot be firefighters,” he warned, urging Kenya to correct misguided action in Somalia.