At various roadside junctions in central Hargeisa currency vendors sit at battered metal containers piled high with brick-size wedges of Somaliland shillings, US dollars and Euros. Wedged into these stacks of cash are Somali passports.Anyone interested in traveling to the horn of Africa?
“We sell these passports because our government is not recognised, so if we want to do business outside Somaliland we have to use this document”, 26 year old Hussein told me flicking through the front pages of a pristine Somali passport. Adding ones details is no sweat – simply glue a photo over the box that says ‘picture’ and fill in your details by hand. A minister’s signature is required from Mogadishu – if indeed there is a Minister of Immigration -but that is easily circumvented.
“We just forge the signature”, Hussein said nonchalantly.
“And the Somaliland officials turn a blind eye?” I asked. “Of course they do”, smiled Hussein, “They have to travel on these passports too”.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Circumventing International Recognition
In 1991 Somaliland declared independence from Somalia. Unlike the rest of Somalia, Somaliland has managed to establish a degree of peace in the time since. It prints it's own currency, the Somaliland shilling, and issues passports. The problem: Somaliland is not recognized by the international community. The solution: