The plea of Somaliland for recognition is justified and substantial. Upon attaining independence, it emerged as a sovereign state with the borders specified by the colonial power. It has contiguous borders with the Sool and East Sanag regions, which are disputed by Puntland. This dispute could emerge as a major hurdle for the recognition of the sovereignty and independence of Somaliland. Another other important issue is that Somaliland was not formed as a cessation of land from a sovereign state; but as a result of the voluntary withdrawal from the union of two nations .
According to international legal standards, the case for according recognition to Somaliland is strong and acceptable. It has already fulfilled all the norms for being declared an independent state. Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, requires four conditions to be satisfied by any state that seeks statehood. First, the state must have a permanent population, second, it should have a defined territory, third, there should be a legalised government in that state and lastly, it should have the capacity to enter into agreements and other relations with the other nations of the world .
Furthermore, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had provided citizens with a wide range of human rights. This Declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Therefore, people can take recourse to this declaration if their human rights are infringed. Under these rights, people can oppose oppression, and this transpired in the year 1991 in Somalia. The people of this country rebelled against the oppression and this resulted in the civil war, which led to the collapse of the state .
There are several influencing entities in the African continent who oppose the recognition Somaliland. For instance, the African Union or the AU is duty bound to recognise the borders of the state, which had been specified by the former colonial power, while granting independence to Somaliland. However, the AU decided in its first resolution that no alterations should be made to borders. Since, Somaliland had withdrawn from the Republic of Somalia; it was precluded from claiming its new borders .
Somaliland urged the AU to respect the borders that had existed at the time of the independence granted by the colonial power. It had appealed to the AU to recognise its borders, as it complies with the resolutions of the latter. At that juncture, the AU stipulated that it could not separate the borders, if there were other nations involved in the issue. However, the very same AU accorded its approval to the separation of Gambia and Senegal that had previously constituted the Senegambian Confederation.
Similarly, it also endorsed the separation of Ethiopia and Eritrea . Somaliland’s claim for recognition entails a number of legal implications and consequences to the existing set of facts relating to a state or a government that comes forward to represent it. In order to be accorded the status of an international entity, a state requires the recognition of the international community. In the absence of such recognition, membership to various institutions could be denied.
In addition, such international recognition provides entitlement to various rights and privileges, provided by International law. Moreover, such a recognised state has to perforce comply with the provisions of international law. The fundamental advantage of international recognition to a state lies in the fact that such a state can take part in unilateral and bilateral agreements with other nations. It also bestows upon the recognised state the right to establish interstate relations and other advantages .