Misrecognition of Somaliland
Somaliland is a secessionist region of its parent sate Somalia which is considered a failed sate. Klosto (2006: 725) generalizes the relationship of quasi-states and their parent sates as follows: “they are quite often found on the same territory and relate to each other as parent state and secessionist region” and according to his opinion the parent state is mostly a failed state. Klosto (2006:724) names two reasons for misrecognition of a state and defines what region can be called a quasi-state.
First of all, international misrecognition can be a result of internal deficiencies that often manifest in the failure to control one’s own territory politically which is thus controlled by pirates or terrorist and a lack of social services such as welfare and medical care, i.e. a substantial lack of internal sovereignty which can be found in the internationally recognized parent state Somalia. Secondly, Klosto (2006: 724) names the lack of external sovereignty as another reason for misrecognition: the parent state refuses to recognize its secessionist because of the resulting loss of territory. Klosto (2006 ibid.) argues that although both reasons lead to the same result of international misrecognition, they are substantially distinct. As the case of Somaliland shows, the country seeks to maintain a democracy and to support its population whereas the only reason for its misrecognition is the parent state’s refusal along with the resulting hesitation of other states.
Klosto’s (2006: 725-726) definition of what deserves the title of a quasi-sate is as follows:
Its leadership must be in control of (most of) the territory it lays claim to, and it must have sought but not achieved international recognition as an independent state. Finally, to eliminate a whole spate of ephemeral political contraptions, I exclude those that have persisted in this state of non-recognition for less than two years.
Somaliland declared its independence on 18th May 1991 and has existed without international recognition until today. Additionally, the three elements of statehood defined by Jellinek can be applied to Somaliland: territoriality, (internal) sovereignty and nation. Sovereignty means that the state power is in control of the claimed territory which is the case in Somaliland. The fourth modern criterion of democracy can also be found there although not in the same sense of a European modern democracy.