dimanche, 20 août 2017
 

Morocco V The Western Sahara

The Western Sahara is a country on the Atlantic Ocean coast of North Africa with the dubious distinction of being the “Last Colony” in Africa. Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975 following the withdrawal of the then colonial ruler, Spain. That military invasion was followed by Morocco’s sending of hundreds of thousands of settlers into the country.

The Saharawi people, the indigenous population of the Western Sahara, want an independent nation, while Morocco has offered the Saharawi only autonomy under Moroccan control. It sparked a war with the Saharawi which wound down to a stalemate with Morocco controlling 80 percent of the country, including its fishing rich coast line, vast mineral deposits and major cities. The remainder of the country has been controlled by the Polisario Front, the main political force in the struggle for independence.

“Morocco confiscated our land. Built a wall dividing our country. It violates human rights while plundering our natural resources,” Mohammed Abdelaziz, the President of the Western Sahara.

The United Nations approved a referendum on the future status of the Western Sahara in the early 1990s but Morocco has balked, refusing to permit the U.N. to conduct a vote. Morocco’s occupation is strongly backed by France, and has the tacit support of the United States. While the U.S. does not formally recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over what Morocco calls it’s “Southern Provinces,” it has not forcefully demanded that its ally comply with international law. Morocco enjoys support on Capitol Hill, ranging from conservatives to members of the liberal-leaning Black Congressional Caucus. American human rights activist Susan Scholte, who has worked on the Western Sahara issue since 1993, said most American supporters of Morocco’s position on the Western Sahara either don’t know the facts or are getting paid by Morocco. Morocco spent $3.5-million on lobbying inside the U.S., in 2013 alone. Morocco contends its claim on the Western Sahara predates Spanish colonization, a position rejected by the International Court of Justice in 1975, months before Morocco’s invasion.

Morocco officially denies brutality in the Western Sahara but a U.S. State Department human rights report released in February 2014 listed violations including “physical/verbal abuses” of Saharawi people “during arrest and imprisonment.” That report also listed a lack of democracy, corruption and “widespread disregard of the rule of law” by Moroccan security forces — violations that report stated also occur inside Morocco — a monarchy ruled by a king. Saharawi people described arbitrary beatings, arrests and torture suffered while they were imprisoned for terms ranging from few months to years.

Source from http://socialistbanner.blogspot.fr

 
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