Maritime Piracy has emerged as a major security threat since the turn of the 21st century. United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS) defines Piracy as any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft or against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping, defines Maritime Piracy as any illegal act of violence or detention or any act of depredation, or threat thereof, other than an act of piracy, committed for private ends and directed against a ship or against persons or property on board such a ship, within a State’s internal waters, archipelagic waters and territorial sea.

Pirate Attacks have been frequent in the ‘Horn of Africa’ region. The Coast of Somalia, especially in the Gulf of Aden, has seen the largest share of global piracy attacks in recent years. The Non-Aligned Movement has expressed concerns at the rising frequency of such attacks. At the 17th NAM Summit held in 2016, NAM leaders condemned the continuing acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia and Gulf of Aden, which hampered the delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia and pose a threat to commercial maritime and international navigation in the region.

NAM has welcomed the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2184 (2014) under Chapter VI of the UN Charter which calls upon States and regional organizations that had the capacity to do so to fight on-going sea crimes by deploying naval vessels, arms and military aircraft and through seizures of boats, vessels and weapons used in the commission of those crimes. NAM has reiterated that this resolution should be implemented in a manner fully consistent with International Law, including the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea. NAM has commended the efforts of the Federal Government of Somalia and the international community to fight piracy, while reiterating the need to address the root causes of piracy on the mainland, including the illegal dumping of toxic waste and illegal fishing of the territorial waters of Somalia.

On 9th November 2016, when the Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 2316 (2016), for “Renewing Authorization for International Naval Forces to Combat Piracy off Somali Coast”, Mohamed Rabi A. Yusuf, representative of Somalia, thanked the Security Council for its valuable support to his country in all areas, including addressing piracy, and asked for continued support from the international community. A number of NAM Member States have also deployed their naval vessels in the territorial waters of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, to assist in countering acts of piracy and armed robbery. It may be mentioned here that Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania, and Seychelles have undertaken strict efforts to prosecute suspected pirates in their national courts.

NAM has emphasised that that peace and stability within Somalia, the strengthening of state institutions, economic and social development, and respect for human right and the rule of law are necessary to create the conditions for a durable eradication of piracy and armed robbery at the sea off the coast of Somalia, and further emphasizing that Somalia’s long-term security rests with the effective development by Somalia authorities of the Somalia national security forces, the Heads of State or Government emphasized the need to focus attention on the illicit financial flows associated with piracy, with a view to disrupting the financing and planning of piracy attacks. NAM has also called for the need to focus attention on the illicit financial flows associated with piracy, with a view to disrupting the financing and planning of piracy attacks.