Global Policy Forum

Negotiations on a Somalia Piracy Resolution

Members of the Security Council are working on a new resolution on piracy off the coast of Somalia. This text reflects the will of the Security Council to take a tougher stance on the issue as it authorizes states and regional organizations to enter Somalia’s territorial water and take action on land. New issues are addressed, such as the prosecution of pirates, but no reference is made regarding illegal fishing and the dumping of toxic waste off the coast of Somalia.

What’s in Blue

Council members began negotiations yesterday (16 November) on a draft resolution on piracy off the coast of Somalia. The draft, which was circulated by the US on Tuesday, would renew the anti-piracy provisions of resolution 1950, which expire on 23 November. There is general agreement in the Council on the current approach and it appears that the first round of negotiations went smoothly. Another meeting at experts’ level may not be necessary before the scheduled adoption of the resolution on 22 November.

It seems most of the language in the US draft is the same as in resolution 1950. If the draft resolution is passed as anticipated, the anti-piracy provisions, which authorize states and regional organizations to enter Somalia’s territorial waters as well as take action on land in Somalia to combat piracy, would likely be renewed for another 12 months (they have been in place since 2008).

Some new language also seems to have been added from the recently adopted 2015 resolution on issues related to prosecution. The US draft emphasizes the importance of prosecution of all who are involved in piracy activities, including those who finance or in other ways facilitate piracy. It also reiterates the Council’s intention to urgently consider the establishment of anti-piracy courts. The draft also contains new language condemning kidnapping and hostage-taking by pirates. There is no reference, however, to the problem of illegal fishing and dumping off the coast of Somalia, which was addressed in resolution 1950. (That resolution requested a report on this issue from the Secretary-General, submitted on 25 October (S/2011/661).)

The Somalia piracy problem will also be discussed at a plenary meeting of the International Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which is taking place today in New York under the chairmanship of the Netherlands. The Group is expected to issue a communiqué at the end of the meeting.


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