Security Council votes to expand mandate of monitoring group for Somali sanctions

19 March 2010 – The Security Council today agreed to extend the United Nations panel of experts monitoring compliance with sanctions related to the conflict in Somalia for another year and to expand its mandate to try to maintain the arms embargo imposed in the region.

Council members voted unanimously to adopt a resolution re-establishing the Monitoring Group for 12 months and to add three members to the five-member panel so that it can handle its extra workload.

The panel, which has monitored compliance with embargoes on the delivery of weapons and military equipment to Somalia and Eritrea, is now also tasked with probing activities – financial, maritime or in another field – which generate revenue used to violate those embargoes.

It is also now required to investigate “any means of transport, routes, seaports, airports and other facilities” used to break the embargoes, and to also identify ways in which the capacities of the region’s States can be strengthened to better implement the arms embargo.

Violent conflict between Government forces and Islamist militias continues to grip Somalia, almost two decades since the collapse of its last functioning national government. Much of the population remains either internally displaced or based in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

Today’s resolution, which condemns the politicization, misuse and misappropriation of humanitarian assistance by armed groups, follows a report from the Monitoring Group claiming that some local contractors used by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) have diverted aid for military use.

WFP has said it is ready to provide full assistance to any independent investigation into its food distribution operation in Somalia, and today the Council called upon Member States and the UN “to take all feasible steps to mitigate” any misuse of humanitarian aid.

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