Friday, February 24, 2012

The looting of Somalia

Press headlines declare world leaders have pledged to boost support for measures to fight piracy, terrorism and political instability in Somalia. A two-decade war has wrecked Somalia, leaving it without a proper government. The current transitional government propped up by 12,000 African Union soldiers has direct control only in the capital, Mogadishu. There were no fewer than four Somali "presidents" at the London conference.

SOYMB has previously posted in 2009 about one of the root problems in Somalia. Commercial interests taking full advantage of the power vacuum in Somalia to exploit its natural resources and impoverish its peoples.

Has the world powers mobilised its muscle to end the theft and return the wealth to the Somalis? No! A new report says Somalia is still fighting a losing battle with the plundering of its rich maritime resources. Somalia has been unable to cope with vessels from Asia and Europe that have moved on to its coastline in order to illegally fish.

"Having over-fished their home waters, these sophisticated factory ships are seeking catch in one of the world's richest remaining fishing zones," the report published by the New York-based Global Policy Forum says. "The foreign boats are illegal, unreported and unregulated - part of a growing international criminal fishing enterprise," it says.
Yet the naval ships of several nations deployed to stop Somali piracy ignore this international piracy. The United Nations working with the international community could easily address the illegal fishing and toxic dumping.

"Crises like Somalia are not accidental and they can be solved, but as always in these cases, geo-strategic and economic interests are at stake, preventing sensible outcomes and actually deepening the crisis," James Paul, one of the reports authors says. "There is a plague of criminal activities of this kind that are stripping the world's oceans of all the major fish species and polluting the oceans with toxic wastes"

Paul says that the international community must act quickly. "Now is the time to act, before every last fish has been hunted down, and every second Somali killed in the name of counter-terrorism"

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