mercredi, 23 octobre 2019


Statement of African National Congress

As a diverse group of South Africans representing political formations, NGOs and civil society associations wish to express our concern about the latest development in the Western Sahara territory under Moroccan occupation. We would like to call upon the attention of the international community to the situation of thousands of Saharawi citizens who are in grave danger in camps nearby the city of El Aaiun. This situation has already led to the death of the fourteen year old boy Nayem El Garhi, who was shot last week by the Moroccan military.

Around twenty thousand Sahrawi citizens left their homes in El Aaiun, Western Sahara, and set up a tent camp outside the city to protest their treatment as second class citizens in their own homeland. They are specifically protesting their living conditions, lack of employment, exploitation of their natural resources by Morocco as well as their right to decide their political future. The United Nations has repeatedly promised the Saharawis the right to self-determination, but Morocco has blocked efforts to hold a referendum that includes the option of independence.

It has been reported by various witnesses and media sources that the Sahrawis are now surrounded by the Moroccan military, which is preventing water and food from reaching them. The Moroccan authorities are also denying international observers and journalists access to this area.

To prevent an escalation of this potentially tragic situation, we call upon the Kingdom of Morocco : • To show respect for the Sahrawi people right to self-determination. • To allow the Saharawi citizens the freedom of expression, movement and association. • To lift the military blockade imposed upon El Aaiun camp. • To allow the media, NGOs and international observers full access to the camp

We also believe that this situation illustrates the importance of the humanitarian dimension of the conflict. In this context we also call upon the UN to :

• Include Human Rights Monitoring to the MINURSO mandate, which may currently be the only peacekeeping operation in the world that does not include a human rights component. • To protect the Saharawi citizens from the orchestrated hatred and xenophobic acts committed against them by the Moroccan settlers. Such acts are deliberately tolerated by the security apparatus. • Humanitarian organizations should immediately be deployed in the territory to assist with water, food and medical supplies to the camp.

As South Africans who have experienced the horrors of segregation and discrimination we express our unyielding commitment to freedom of expression, respect of human rights and the right to self-determination to all peoples.

African National Congress

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