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26th June 1960 is the day we remember our independence and those struggled and died for the cause of Somaliland(SUNDAY - 26/June/2011)

It was 51 years ago when on 26th June 1960 Somaliland, a former British Protectorate, achieved its independence. Somaliland was an independent country for five days and was recognized by some 35 states, before it voluntarily merged with the former Italian Trusteeship which gained its independence on 1st July 1960 from Italy to form the Somali Republic.
26th June is the day when thousands of Somalilanders turned out to say farewell to the then British Governor, Sir Douglas Hall and his wife. It is a day we remember that the country became independent after 73 years of being a British Protectorate. The struggle for self-determination and independence did not come without a price. Our fathers and mothers, our uncles and aunties, our national heroes who courageously decided to confront the colonial rulers and paid heavy price for the freedom we enjoy today.

Although the blessing of the day was regrettably tainted by the historic mistake of joining the former Italian Trusteeship of Somalia and the people of Somaliland again had to pay a high price to reclaim their sovereignty from Somalia after twenty years of oppression and injustice, 26th June remains our national day.

The people of Somaliland have learned to appreciate more the value of freedom and independence when Somaliland withdrew from the union with Somalia on 18th May 1991. With very limited foreign assistance Somaliland has since established effective and working institutions and despite being unrecognized by the international community and being surrounded by violence, terrorism and piracy, it has maintained peace and stability for the past 20 years. Somaliland has built a modern state with two House Legislative and Executive bodies headed by an elected President. It has judiciary system. A national constitution was adopted after a referendum in 2001 which nearly 97% of the votes approved. In 2002 Somaliland held a nation-wide local council election with the first democratic presidential election being held in 2003, followed by parliamentary election in 2005. This track record of peaceful expression of peopleís voices through the ballot has continued with the latest presidential election held on 26th June 2010. This presidential election of Somaliland is a unique example and according to international observers, it met all international standards for a free and fair election. The smooth transfer of power by the defeated president who was at the helm for eight years was a testimony to the maturity of democratisation in Somaliland. The experience of Somaliland is one of the most successful experiments of democratization processes implemented in developing countries. These are remarkable achievements that Somaliland people can be proud of.

The focus of this yearís 51 anniversary of Somalilandís independence should be to lobby with the international community how they can reward Somaliland for the political achievements booked over the past 20 years.

Somaliland Society in Europe (SSE) appeals to the UN, AU. EU, USA, Arab League to support the sustainability of the democratic system established in Somaliland. It also appeals to the international community and peace loving nations to urgently recognize Somaliland as a sovereign state. Legally and politically Somaliland fulfills all the criteria for statehood.

SSE strongly believes that the recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign state is in the interest of the international community. A sovereign Somaliland could play a significant and constructive role in the reconciliation of the fighting factions in Somalia, it can contribute to the stability of the Horn of Africa region and it can be a strategic partner in curbing the unpredictable and uncertain political situation unfolding in the Gulf of Aden.

SSE appeals to all Somaliland Diaspora organizations in Europe as well as individuals to intensify their efforts of lobbying for the recognition of Somaliland in the host countries across Europe. It calls on all Somaliland organizations in Europe to support the events of this remarkable day and to educate younger Somaliland generation about the historical importance of this day.

SSE calls on the political leaders, members of the civil society of Somalia to resolve their differences in a peaceful manner and work for the common interest of their people.

SSE Executive Committee

SSE is a network organization for Somaliland Diaspora organizations from across Europe. Drawing on the Diaspora resources and expertise, SSE aims to contribute to the cultural, economic and social development in Somaliland.

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