Skip to content
Accueil » Somalia

Somalia

Status of the embargoOngoing
EntityState
Organisation(s) imposing embargo(es)UN & EU
Restriction(s)Conventional weapons
ExceptionsYes, no prior notification or approval
Yes, prior notification
Yes, prior approval

Somalia is currently under EU embargo. The UN embargo to which Somalia had been subject since 1992 was lifted on December 1, 2023.

UN

Somalia has been under UN embargo since January 1992 (Resolution 733 (1992)). The UN Security Council has decided to lift the arms embargo on Somalia as of December 1, 2023 (Resolution 2714 (2023), para.1). However, a regime of targeted sanctions still applies to the Chabab militias in Somalia (Resolution 1844 (2008), Resolution 2713 (2023) and Resolution 2714 (2023)).

  1. Conventional weapons

Prohibitions

The current sanctions regime, as detailed in Resolution 1844 (2008), modified by Resolutions 2002 (2011), 2093 (2013), 2662 (2022), and updated by Resolutions 2713 (2023) and 2714 (2023), decides that :

  • all States shall, for the purposes of preventing Al-Shabaab and other actors intent on undermining peace and security in Somalia and th e region from obtaining weapons and ammunition, take the necessary measures to prevent all deliveries of weapons, ammunition and military equipment to Somalia, including prohibiting the financing of all acquisitions and deliveries of weapons, ammunition and military equipment (Resolution 2713 (2023), para.4). However, this measure does not apply to deliveries or supplies to the GFRS, the Somali National Army (SNA), the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), the Somali National Police Force (SNPF) and the Somali Custodial Corps (Resolution 2713 (2023), para.4).
  • “all States shall prevent the direct or indirect sale, supply or transfer of the items in part I of Annex C to this resolution to Somalia from their territories or by their nationals outside their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft if there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the item(s) will be used, or a significant risk they may be used, in the manufacture in Somalia of improvised explosive devices” (Resolution 2713 (2023), para.18).

The sanction regime asks to the GFRS, in cooperation with ATMIS, to document and register all weapons, ammunition and military equipment, captured from Al-Shabaab as part of offensive operations, or in the course of carrying out their mandate (Resolution 2713 (2023), para.6).

Exceptions

The sanction regime provides for several exceptions.

Requiring no prior approval or notification.

Paragraph 4 of Resolution 2713 (2023) does not apply to supplies of weapons, ammunition or military equipment intended solely for the support of, or use by:

  • GFRS;
  • SNA;
  • NISA;
  • SNPF; and
  • the Somali Custodial Corps (Resolution 2713 (2023), para.33) ; as well as
  • United Nations personnel, including UNSOM and UNSOS;
  • ATMIS and its Troop- and Police-Contributing Countries, as well as its strategic partners who are operating solely under the latest African Union Strategic Concept of Operations and in cooperation and coordination with ATMIS;
  • European Union training and support activities, Türkiye, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America, as well as any other Member State forces, with a status of forces agreement or a memorandum of understanding with the GFRS, provided that they inform the Committee, for information purposes only, about the existence of such agreements (Resolution 2713 (2023), para.34).

Paragraph 4 of Resolution 2713 (2023) does not apply to :

  • supplies of protective clothing, including flak jackets and military helmets, temporarily exported to Somalia by United Nations personnel, repr esentatives of the media, private security contractors and humanitarian and development workers and associated personnel for their personal use only;
  • the delivery of non-lethal military equipment by States, or international, regional or sub-regional organisations intended solely for humanitarian or protective use; and
  • entry into Somali ports for temporary visits of vessels carrying weapons and military equipment for defensive purposes provided that such items remain at all times aboard such vessels (Resolution 2713 (2023), para.44).

Paragraph 4 of Resolution 2713 (2023) does not apply to supplies of weapons, ammunition or military equipment intended solely for the support of, or use by Somalia’s FMS and regional governments or licenced private security companies operating in Somalia; except in relation to items in Annexes A and B to this resolution, which are subject to the procedures as set out in paragraphs 36 and 37 to this resolution (Resolution 2713 (2023), para.35).

Requiring prior approval from the UN Sanction Committee:

  • deliveries of items in Annex A to this resolution to FMS and regional governments, or to licenced private security companies operating in Somalia, to provide security for international and commercial premises and personnel in Somalia, may be provided in the absence of a negative decision by the Committee within five working days of receiving a notification from the GFRS (Resolution 2713 (2023), para.36).

Requiring prior notification to the UN Sanction Committee:

  • deliveries of items in Annex B to this resolution to FMS and regional governments, or to licenced private security companies operating in Somalia, to provide security for international and commercial premises and personnel in Somalia, are subject to notification to the Committee, for information only, at least five working days in advance by the GFRS ‘(Resolution 2713 (2023), para.37).
  • If a State decides to transfer items listed in Part I of Annex C to Resolution 2713 (2023), it must first inform the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia. In addition, if an item listed in Part I of Annex C to Resolution 2713 (2023) is directly or indirectly sold, supplied or transferred to Somalia, the State must inform the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia and the Committee of the sale, supply or transfer no more than 15 working days after the date of the sale, supply or transfer (Resolution 2713 (2023), para.19,b).

Others

The Security Council authorizes Member States, acting nationally or through voluntary multinational naval partnerships, such as “Combined Maritime Forces”, in cooperation with the FGS and which the FGS has notified to the Secretary-General and which the Secretary[1]General has subsequently notified to all Member States, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo on Somalia […], to inspect, without undue delay, in Somali territorial waters and on the high seas off the coast of Somalia extending to and including the Arabian sea and Persian Gulf, vessels bound to or from Somalia which they have reasonable grounds to believe are […] carrying weapons or military equipment to Somalia, directly or indirectly, in violation of the current arms embargo (Resolution 2182 (2014), para.15). This measure also applies to to components of improvised explosive devices (Resolution 2607 (2021), para.5). This measure has been extended until December 15, 2024 (Resolution 2713 (2023), para.23).

The Security Council also decided to renew, until January 15, 2025, the Group of Experts, which will henceforth be known as the “Group of Experts established by resolution 2713 (2023)” and whose mandate will include tasks such as registering all weapons, ammunition and military equipment confiscated or seized from the Chabab (Resolution 2713 (2023), para.25).

The sanctions regime has no time limit. The Security Council remains actively seized of the matter.

EU

Somalia has been under EU arms embargo since December 2002 (Common Position 2002/960/CFSP). In order to mirror the UN arms embargo, the EU eased its sanctions in 2009 to facilitate Security Sector Reforms (SSR) in Somalia. 

The current sanctions regime, as detailed in updated versions of Council Decision 2010/213/CFSP and Regulation 147/2003, both sanctions with general scope and targeted sanctions against individuals and entities. 

  1. Conventional weapons

Prohibitions of general scope

The current sanctions regime, as detailed in updated versions of Council Decision 2010/213/CFSP and Regulation 147/2003, prohibits :

  • The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms and related material of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and spare parts for the aforementioned to Somalia (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.1).
  • The direct or indirect supply to Somalia of technical advice, financial and other assistance and training related to military activities, including in particular technical training and assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of the items aforementioned (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.2 and Regulation 147/2003, art.1).

Exceptions of general scope

However, the sanctions regime provides for several exceptions.

Requiring no prior approval or notification from/to the UN Sanctions Committee:

  • the supply, sale or transfer of arms and related material of all types, and the direct or indirect supply of technical advice, financial and other assistance and training related to military activities, intended solely for the support of or use by United Nations personnel, including the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.3, a and Regulation 147/2003, art. 3, para.1, a).
  • the supply, sale or transfer of arms and related material of all types, and the direct or indirect supply of technical advice, financial and other assistance and training related to military activities, intended solely for the support of or use by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and its strategic partners, operating solely under the latest African Union (AU) Strategic Concept of Operations, and in cooperation and coordination with ATMIS (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.3, b and Regulation 147/2003, art. 3, para.1, b).
  • the supply, sale or transfer of arms and related material of all types, and the direct or indirect supply of technical advice, financial and other assistance and training related to military activities, intended solely for the support of or use by: the European Union training and support activities, Türkiye, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America, as well as any other State forces that are either operating within the Somalia Transition Plan (STP), or have a status of forces agreement or a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) to serve the purposes of UN Resolution 2662 (2022) (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.3, c and Regulation 147/2003, art. 3, para.1, c).
  • the supply, sale or transfer of protective clothing, including flak jackets and military helmets, temporarily exported to Somalia by United Nations personnel, representatives of the media and humanitarian and development workers and associated personnel for their personal use only (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.3, e and Regulation 147/2003, art. 3, para.5, a).
  • the supply, sale or transfer of non-lethal military equipment by the Member States, international regional or subregional organisations intended solely for humanitarian or protective use (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.3, f and Regulation 147/2003, art. 3, para.5, b).
  • the supply, sale or transfer of arms and related material of all types and the supply of technical advice, financial and other assistance and training related to military activities, intended solely for the development of Somalia’s security and police institutions at the national and local level, to provide security for the Somali people (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.3, d and Regulation 147/2003, art. 3, para.1, d). However, this does not apply to goods listed in Annexes II and III of Decision 2010/231/CFSP (corresponding to items listed in Annexes IV and V of Regulation 147/2003), and related services, which are subject to approval or notification requirements as indicated below. Furthermore, the regime prohibits to supply, resell, transfer, or make available for use any weapons or military equipment, sold or supplied in accordance with Article 1(3)(d) solely for the development of Somalia’s security and police institutions, to any individual or entity not in the service of Somalia’s security and police institutions to which it was originally sold or supplied, or to the selling or supplying Member State or international, regional or subregional organisation (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.5).
  • the supply, sale or transfer of improvised explosive devices components as listed in Annex III to Somalia, unless there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the items will be used, or there is a significant risk they may be used, in the manufacture in Somalia of improvised explosive devices. (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1c, para.2 and Regulation 147/2003, art.3c).

Requiring prior approval and notification from/to the UN Sanctions Committee :

  • the supply, sale or transfer of arms and related material of all types set out in Annex II of Decision 2010/213/CFSP and in Annex IV of Regulation 147/2003, intended solely for the development of Somalia’s security and police institutions, to provide security for the Somali people, may be provided in the absence of a negative decision by the Sanctions Committee within five working days of receiving such notification from Somalia, the Member States or international, regional and subregional organisations delivering assistance (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.3, d, i and Regulation 147/2003, art.3, para.2, a). The items listed in Annex II of Decision 2010/213/CFSP and in Annex IV of Regulation 147/2003 are :

1. Surface to air missiles, including Man-Portable Air-Defence Systems (MANPADS).

2. Weapons with a calibre greater than 14,7 mm, and components specially designed for these, and associated ammunition. (This does not include shoulder fired anti-tank rocket launchers such as RPGs or LAWs, rifle grenades, or grenade launchers.)

3. Mortars with a calibre greater than 82 mm and associated ammunition.

4. Anti-tank guided weapons, including Anti-tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) and ammunition and components specially designed for these items.

5. Charges and devices specifically designed or modified for military use; mines and related materiel.

6. Weapon sights with a night vision capability greater than generation 2.

7. Fixed wing, swivel wing, tilt rotor or tilt wing aircraft, specifically designed or modified for military use.

8. ‘Vessels’ and amphibious vehicles specifically designed or modified for military use. (‘Vessel’ includes any ship, surface effect vehicle, vessel of small water plane area or hydrofoil and the hull or part of the hull of a vessel.)

9. Unmanned combat aerial vehicles (listed as Category IV in the UN Register of Conventional Arms).

The Somali authorities have the primary responsibility to notify the Sanctions Committee of any delivery of arms and related material of all types set out in Annex II  of  Decision 2010/213/CFSP and in Annex IV of Regulation 147/2003 to Somalia’s security and police institutions (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.4 and Regulation 147/2003, art.3, para.2, b). Furthermore, notifications shall include details of the manufacturer and supplier of arms and related material of all types, a description of the arms and ammunition including the type, serial numbers, calibre and quantity, the proposed date and place of delivery, and all relevant information concerning the intended destination unit, or the intended place of storage (Regulation 147/2003, art.3, para.3).

Requiring prior notification to the UN Sanctions Committee :

  • the supply, sale or transfer of arms and related material of all types set out in Annex III of Decision 2010/213/CFSP and in Annex V of Regulation 147/2003, intended solely for the development of Somalia’s security and police institutions, to provide security for the Somali people (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.3, d, ii and Regulation 147/2003, art.3, para.2, b). The items listed in Annex III of Decision 2010/213/CFSP and in Annex V of Regulation 147/2003 are :

1. All types of weapons with a calibre up to 14,7 mm, and associated ammunition.

2. RPG-7 and recoilless rifles, and associated ammunition.

3. Weapon sights with a night vision capability generation 2 or lower.

4. Rotor wing or helicopters specifically designed or modified for military use.

5. Hard body armour plates providing ballistic protection equal to or greater than level III (NIJ 0101.06 July 2008) or national equivalents.

6. Ground vehicles specifically designed or modified for military use.

7. Communication equipment specifically designed or modified for military use.

The notification must be submitted five working days in advance by Somalia, the Member States or international, regional and subregional organisations delivering assistance (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.3, d, ii and Regulation 147/2003, art.3, para.2, b). The Somali authorities have the primary responsibility to notify the Sanctions Committee of any delivery of arms and related material of all types set out in Annex III  of  Decision 2010/213/CFSP and in Annex V of Regulation 147/2003 to Somalia’s security and police institutions (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1, para.4 and Regulation 147/2003, art.3, para.2, b). Furthermore, notifications shall include details of the manufacturer and supplier of arms and related material of all types, a description of the arms and ammunition including the type, serial numbers, calibre and quantity, the proposed date and place of delivery, and all relevant information concerning the intended destination unit, or the intended place of storage (Regulation 147/2003, art.3, para.3).

Prohibitions on targeted application to certain persons or entities

The current sanctions regime, as detailed in updated versions of Council Decision 2010/213/CFSP and Regulation 147/2003, decides that Member State shall take the necessary measures to prevent :

  • the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons and military equipment and the direct or indirect supply of technical assistance or training, financial and other assistance including investment, brokering or other financial services, related to military activities or to the supply, sale, transfer, manufacture, maintenance or use of weapons and military equipment, to persons or entities referred to in Article 2 and designated by the Sanctions Committee (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art.3). The relevant persons and entities are listed in Annex I of Decision 2010/213/CFSP.

Others

Member States are called upon to exercise vigilance over the supply of items not subject to the measures set out in the embargo measures and over the supply of technical advice, financial and other assistance and training related to military activities related to those items (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 1c).

Moreover, aircrafts and vessels transporting cargo to and from Somalia and brought into or out of the Union shall be subject to the requirement of additional pre-arrival or pre-departure information for all goods from  the relevant Member State (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 4, para. 2 and Regulation 147/2003, art. 3a).

Furthermore, Member States shall inspect all cargo to and from Somalia in their territory if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo contains items the supply, sale, transfer or export of which is prohibited. Member States shall seize and destroy, if appropriate, the items prohibited from the cargo. (Decision 2010/213/CFSP, art. 4, para. 1 and 3).

The sanctions provided for in Decision 2010/213/CFSP are indefinite. However, they may be reviewed, amended or repealed, as appropriate, in accordance with relevant decisions of the UN Security Council. 

Somalia has been under UN embargo since January 1992 (Resolution 733 (1992)). However, the UN Security Council has decided to lift the arms embargo on Somalia as of December 1, 2023 (Resolution 2714 (2023), para.1).

Restrictions diagram:

Conventional weapons