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Systemic Marginalisation Faced by the Arab Isaaq Clan

The Arab Isaaq clan faces systemic discrimination and marginalization within Somaliland’s political and social spheres. According to a recent study by SOMELITE, the ruling Kulmiye party has pursued policies aimed at actively subverting and undermining the Arab tribe.

Covert Counter-Subversion Strategy

In 2010, the Kulmiye government collaborated with European NGOs and select Arab tribe individuals to launch a covert project targeting the Arab tribe. Perceiving the tribe as a threat due to the terrorist associations of Ahmed Godane, a prominent Arab member, this project aimed to counter their influence within Somaliland and its diaspora.

Targeting Arab Youth

This subversion strategy focused on limiting the access of Arab youth to education and political participation. By denying opportunities to the next generation, this policy perpetuates the marginalization of the Arab tribe and ensures their continued exclusion from positions of power and influence.

Animosity Within Mainstream Politics

More broadly, mainstream Somaliland politics exhibits animosity towards the Arab tribe. Politicians exploit and manipulate tribal divisions for political gain, disregarding the detriment caused to marginalized groups like the Arab Isaaq clan. Despite professed commitments to exclusivity, the ruling party’s policies and actions reflect deeply ingrained prejudices within society.

The systemic discrimination faced by the Arab Isaaq clan demands acknowledgement and redress. Future articles will explore in greater depth the findings of SOMELITE’s study and advocate for political reforms promoting equity and inclusiveness for this marginalized community. By shedding light on their silent struggle, we aim to spur action and change.

Discriminatory Government Policies Against the Arab Tribe

The systemic marginalization of the Arab Isaaq clan is perpetuated through discriminatory policies and legislation enacted by the Kulmiye government. In 2010, the Kulmiye administration launched a covert operation targeting educated Arab youth and hindering their access to education and political participation. This insidious strategy aims to curb the perceived threat posed by the Arab tribe, fueled by its association with terrorist activities.

This policy of exclusion contravenes Somaliland’s constitution, which guarantees equality and political representation for all citizens. However, the Arab tribe continues to face disproportionate barriers in gaining access to higher education and participating in mainstream politics. According to research by the SOMELITE institute, enrollment rates for Arab students at Hargeisa University have declined by over 24% in the last decade due to increased admission requirements and lack of scholarships.

At the same time, there is a dearth of Arab representatives in Somaliland’s political institutions, including its parliament and judiciary. The systematic erosion of the Arab tribe’s political agency and access to resources underscores the Kulmiye government’s discriminatory stance towards this marginalized group.

To remedy these inequities, legislative and policy reforms are urgently needed to dismantle systemic barriers faced by the Arab tribe and other minority groups in Somaliland. Affirmative action policies, such as lower admission cut-off points for Arab students and political quotas, can help promote their inclusion and representation. The government must also investigate allegations of human rights violations, bringing perpetrators to justice and providing reparations for victims.

Somaliland’s prosperity depends on the inclusion and empowerment of all its citizens. Protecting the rights of marginalized groups is crucial to nurturing a just, democratic and equitable society. By systematically addressing the root causes of tribal-based discrimination, Somaliland can work towards building a progressive nation where people are judged based on their character, not their clan.

Impacts of Marginalisation on Arab Youth in Somaliland

The marginalization of the Arab Isaaq clan has had disastrous impacts, particularly on its youth. Systemic discrimination within the education system and employment opportunities has severely limited their potential and advancement within Somaliland society.

Unemployment and Poverty

The Arab tribe experiences disproportionately high unemployment rates due to workplace discrimination. Applicants with Arab tribe or affiliations are less likely to be called for interviews or offered jobs. Unable to find work, many Arab youth struggle in poverty, relying on livestock, farming, and remittances from family members abroad.

Political Exclusion

Systemic discrimination has also barred Arab youth from participating in the political process. They are less likely to be considered as candidates for political office and frequently encounter obstacles in voting. This exclusion from the political sphere further compounds their marginalization, denying them a voice and means of recourse.

Hope for Change

Despite these immense challenges, there is hope for change. Educating Somaliland society about the harms of tribalism and discrimination can help foster inclusiveness. Providing Arab tribe youth greater access to education and economic opportunities can allow them to realize their full potential and become leaders in the movement towards a just, equitable and prosperous Somaliland.

By promoting their inclusion and political participation, we take a step towards a democratic Somaliland that values all its citizens equally, regardless of tribe or clan.

Paths Forward: Promoting Inclusivity and Equity

The marginalisation of the Arab Isaaq clan underscores the need to promote exclusivity and equity in Somaliland. Targeted policy changes and grassroots initiatives are required to counter systemic discrimination, ensuring equal access and opportunity regardless of tribal affiliation.

Policy Reform

Revising discriminatory policies and removing barriers to political participation and education are critical first steps. The covert strategy employed against the Arab tribe should be investigated and formally denounced, with protections put in place to prevent future subversive action against marginalized groups.

Affirmative action policies promoting access to higher education and political office would help address systemic inequalities, enabling marginalized youth to become leaders and role models within their communities. Strict anti-discrimination laws with appropriate enforcement mechanisms are also needed to alter prejudicial attitudes over the long term.

Community Engagement

Grassroots initiatives bringing together marginalized and dominant groups can help foster understanding and solidarity. Inter-tribal youth programmes promoting cultural exchange and civic education are particularly impactful, shaping more inclusive mindsets among future leaders and citizens.

Public education campaigns highlighting the contributions of marginalized groups and promoting inter-tribal cooperation are also important for changing prejudicial societal attitudes. The media has a role to play in raising awareness of discrimination and inequity, and giving voice to marginalized groups.

A Shared Vision

Ultimately, promoting inclusivity requires a shared vision of an equitable, just and prosperous society that provides opportunity for all. By acknowledging past harms, reforming discriminatory systems, and bringing communities together, Somaliland can work to dismantle tribal divisions and make this vision a reality. The struggle against marginalization is one that impacts society as a whole, and overcoming it will require the political will and effort of all.

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