Somalia: Security Council mandates action against pirates for another year

30 November 2009 – The Security Council today renewed for another 12 months the authorization for States and regional organizations fighting piracy off the Somali coast to enter the strife-torn country’s territorial waters and “undertake all necessary measures that are appropriate in Somalia” provided they have the transitional government’s consent.

In a resolution adopted unanimously under Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorizing the use of force, the 15-member body also noted with concern that escalating ransom payments and the lack of enforcement of the arms embargo imposed by the Council in 1992 are fuelling the growth of piracy.

It called on all States to fully cooperate with the monitoring group on the embargo and reiterated its appeal to countries and regional organizations with the capacity to do so to deploy naval vessels, arms and military aircraft in the fight again a scourge that has over the years frequently disrupted the delivery of UN humanitarian aid as well as routine shipping. This year the pirates have been operating ever further out to sea, sometimes hundreds of miles away from the coast.

Noting the “crisis situation in Somalia,” which has been without a functioning central government and plagued by factional conflict since 1991, “and the limited capacity of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG)” to interdict or prosecute pirates, the Council renewed earlier calls to those States fighting piracy off the Somali coast to help plug the vacuum.

They should do so by concluding arrangements whereby countries willing to take custody of pirates, particularly those in the region, would station law enforcement officials on the patrol ships to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of persons detained as a result of the international operations, provided the TFG consents.

The Council called on Member States at the request of the TFG “to strengthen capacity in Somalia, including regional authorities, to bring to justice those who are using Somali territory to plan, facilitate, or undertake criminal acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea.”

Earlier this month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that piracy would not be defeated by military means alone. “We will find a solution only by addressing the broader political and security situation,” he said in a message to the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO), stressing the need to support the “fragile” TFG.

He noted that since the start of the international naval escort system two years ago, not a single ship heading to Somalia with UN World Food Programme (WFP) aid has been attacked. “WFP has been able to scale up its operations, providing much-needed food assistance to nearly 3 million people,” he pointed out.


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