7 October 2008
Security Council
SC/9467

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5987th Meeting (AM)


SECURITY COUNCIL ASKS NATIONS WITH MILITARY CAPACITY IN AREA


TO ‘ACTIVELY FIGHT PIRACY’ ON HIGH SEAS OFF SOMALIA

 


Unanimous Resolution 1838 (2008) Seeks Repressive Action

In Manner Consistent with United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea


Condemning and deploring all acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia, the Security Council today called upon States interested in the security of maritime activities to deploy naval vessels and military aircraft to actively fight piracy on the high seas off the coast of Somalia.


Unanimously adopting resolution 1838 (2008) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council called upon States with naval vessels and military aircraft operating in the area to use, on the high seas and airspace off the coast of Somalia, the necessary means to repress acts of piracy in a manner consistent with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


The Council urged States that had the capacity to do so to cooperate with Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government in conformity with the provision of resolution 1816 (2008) of 2 June, which allowed States cooperating with the Government, for a period of six months, to enter Somalia’s territorial waters and use “all necessary means” to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea in a manner consistent with international law (see Press Release SC/9344).  Today, the Council expressed its intention to consider renewing that provision for an additional period.


States and regional organizations were urged to continue to take action to protect the World Food Programme (WFP) convoys, which was “vital” to bring humanitarian assistance to the affected populations in Somalia.


The draft resolution was sponsored by Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.


After the vote, the representative of South Africa said he had voted in favour of the resolution, because the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia had issued a call for the international community to assist with the piracy issue.  The threat to international peace and security in Somalia, however, originated from the conflict that had ravaged the country for decades. 


He said that, in the same letter that had conveyed the request for help against piracy, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia had also asked for help regarding the transition to a permanent Government, urging the Security Council to seriously consider such help.  He, therefore, reiterated the call of the African Union for deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation and for United Nations support for African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).  In resolution 1814 (2008), the Council had committed itself to consider a peacekeeping operation to take over from AMISOM.  He hoped the Council would also consider the second request the Government of Somalia had submitted.


The representative of France said the Somali pirates were a global threat.  The international community must respond in line with international law and in particular with the Law of the Sea.  It would be essential that in November the Council would extend the provisions of resolution 1816 (2008).  He agreed that the Council must not lose sight of the situation in Somalia itself.    The Council had asked the Secretary-General in November to offer recommendations on the matter, but that should not stop the Council from taking action now.  Every day, the pirates were slowly killing the people of Somalia.  It was therefore a matter of urgency to act now.


Indonesia’s representative said his country’s favourable vote reflected its concern over the threat posed by piracy, but such piracy was not a “stand-alone problem”.  It was part of the instability of Somalia in general.  He urged the international community to redouble its efforts to achieve stability in the country.  He also stressed that the resolution must be seen as applying only to the situation at hand and did not establish new international law.


The representative of Italy joined other members in welcoming the resolution, expressing hope that it would spur new action to fight piracy for the benefit of Somalia and the entire international community.  He also underlined the need, however, for the Council to address the entire crisis in Somalia with urgency.


The meeting started at 10:10 a.m. and adjourned at 10:30 a.m.


Resolution


The full text of resolution 1838 (2008) reads as follows:


The Security Council,


Recalling its resolutions 1814 (2008) and 1816 (2008),


Gravely concerned by the recent proliferation of acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea against vessels off the coast of Somalia, and by the serious threat it poses to the prompt, safe and effective delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia, to international navigation and the safety of commercial maritime routes, and to fishing activities conducted in conformity with international law,


Noting with concern also that increasingly violent acts of piracy are carried out with heavier weaponry, in a larger area off the coast of Somalia, using long-range assets such as mother ships, and demonstrating more sophisticated organization and methods of attack,


Reaffirming that international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (“the Convention”), sets out the legal framework applicable to combating piracy and armed robbery at sea, as well as other ocean activities,


Commending the contribution made by some States since November 2007 to protect the World Food Programme (“WFP”) maritime convoys, and, the establishment by the European Union of a coordination unit with the task of supporting the surveillance and protection activities carried out by some member States of the European Union off the coast of Somalia, and the ongoing planning process towards a possible European Union naval operation, as well as other international or national initiatives taken with a view to implementing resolutions 1814 (2008) and 1816 (2008),


Noting recent humanitarian reports that as many as three-and-a-half million Somalis will be dependent on humanitarian food aid by the end of the year, and that maritime contractors for the WFP will not deliver food aid to Somalia without naval warship escorts, expressing its determination to ensure long-term security of WFP deliveries to Somalia and recalling that it requested the Secretary-General in resolution 1814 (2008) to provide his support for efforts to protect WFP maritime convoys,


Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia,


Taking note of the letter dated 1 September 2008 of the President of Somalia to the Secretary-General of the United Nations expressing the appreciation of the Transitional Federal Government (“TFG”) to the Security Council for its assistance and expressing the TFG’s willingness to consider working with other States, as well as regional organizations, to provide advance notifications additional to those already provided, in accordance with paragraph 7 of resolution 1816 (2008), to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia,


Recalling that in the statement of its President dated 4 September 2008 (S/PRST/2008/33) it welcomed the signing of a peace and reconciliation agreement in Djibouti and commended the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, for his ongoing efforts, and emphasizing the importance of promoting a comprehensive and lasting settlement in Somalia,


Recalling also that in the statement of its President dated 4 September (S/PRST/2008/33) it took note of the parties’ request in the Djibouti Agreement that the United Nations, within a period of 120 days, authorize and deploy an international stabilization force and looking forward to the Secretary-General’s report due 60 days from its passage, in particular a detailed and consolidated description of a feasible multinational force, as well as a detailed concept of operations for a feasible United Nations peacekeeping operation,


Emphasizing that peace and stability, the strengthening of State institutions, economic and social development and respect for human rights and the rule of law are necessary to create the conditions for a full eradication of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia,


Determining that the incidents of piracy and armed robbery against vessels in the territorial waters of Somalia and the high seas off the coast of Somalia exacerbate the situation in Somalia which continues to constitute a threat against international peace and security in the region,


Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,


“1.   Reiterates that it condemns and deplores all acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea against vessels off the coast of Somalia;


“2.   Calls upon States interested in the security of maritime activities to take part actively in the fight against piracy on the high seas off the coast of Somalia, in particular by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, in accordance with international law, as reflected in the Convention;


“3.   Calls upon States whose naval vessels and military aircraft operate on the high seas and airspace off the coast of Somalia to use on the high seas and airspace off the coast of Somalia the necessary means, in conformity with international law, as reflected in the Convention, for the repression of acts of piracy;


“4.   Urges States that have the capacity to do so to cooperate with the TFG in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea in conformity with the provisions of resolution 1816 (2008);


“5.   Urges also States and regional organizations, in conformity with the provisions of resolution 1814 (2008), to continue to take action to protect the World Food Programme maritime convoys, which is vital to bring humanitarian assistance to the affected populations in Somalia;


“6.   Urges States, as requested in particular by International Maritime Organization resolution (“IMO”) A-1002(25), to issue to ships entitled to fly their flag, as necessary, advice and guidance on appropriate precautionary measures to protect themselves from attack or actions to take if under attack or the threat of attack when sailing in waters off the coast of Somalia;


“7.   Calls upon States and regional organizations to coordinate their actions pursuant to paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 above;


“8.   Affirms that the provisions in this resolution apply only with respect to the situation in Somalia and shall not affect the rights or obligations or responsibilities of member States under international law, including any rights or obligations under the Convention, with respect to any situation, and underscores in particular that this resolution shall not be considered as establishing customary international law;


“9.   Looks forward to the report of the Secretary-General requested in paragraph 13 of resolution 1816 (2008) and expresses its intention to review the situation with respect to piracy and armed robbery at sea against vessels off the coast of Somalia with a view, in particular, upon the request of the TFG, to renewing the authority provided in paragraph 7 of resolution 1816 (2008) for an additional period;


“10.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.”


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For information media • not an official record