On 13 April 2016, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) SARChI Chair: African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy hosted an informative discussion on the ongoing crisis in Somalia on the theme: “Somalia – The Crisis Continues.”
In this discussion, Jordi Raich, Head of Delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Somalia delegation, probed the ongoing humanitarian crisis facing Somalia, as well as the role of the ICRC, in response. He provided an overview of the current humanitarian and security environment in Somalia, after which there was a discussion on the politics of Somalia’s enduring crisis, including the role to be played by the African Union (AU), United Nations (UN), and South Africa.
According to Dr Lesley Masters, Senior Researcher at the SARChI Chair: African Diplomacy & Foreign Policy the event demonstrated the role of non-state actors in international relations. “It provides current information, and on the ground experience from people actively engaged in areas of conflict,” said Dr Master.
She further added, “The event allows students to engage with practitioners in the field and supports UJ’s focus, through the SARChI Chair in building the field of research, analysis and engagement on issues relating to diplomacy.”
The ICRC has worked in Somalia since 1977 when war broke out between Ethiopia and Somalia. It has maintained its presence in Somalia since, responding to the needs of conflict victims, often aggravated by natural disasters. In Somalia, the ICRC supports emergency assistance for the most vulnerable, boosts livelihoods and works to restore family links between family members separated by conflict.