The participants in a videoconference, held Tuesday in Geneva by the Support Group to Western Sahara, urged the United Nations (UN) to accelerate the holding of a self-determination referendum on occupied Western Sahara.
On the sidelines of the Geneva Conference themed “60th anniversary of UN Resolution 1514: Its implementation in Western Sahara,” a high-level panel brought together the President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) Brahim Ghali, Namibia’s Deputy Minister Nandi-Ndaitwah, the Foreign Minister of Timor-Leste Xavier Reis Magno and the Representative of South Africa to Geneva Mxakato-Diseko.
The former UN SG special Representative and former head of MINURSO, MEP Barrena Arza and the chairman of the Sahrawi human rights committee also attended the panel.
“The conference was an opportunity for the participants to reaffirm their full and inalienable support to the Sahrawi people for the enjoyment of their right to self-determination,” said the Support Group in a communiqué.
They also denounced “the multiple and recurrent maneuvers to postpone indefinitely the referendum on self-determination,” noting that the UN General Assembly had asked Spain to hold this popular consultation in 1966.
Speaking at the meeting, Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister Nandi-Ndaitwah said the UN could hold the referendum.
The General Assembly could not “maintain its expectant attitude, since inaction or indecisiveness perpetuates the illegal status quo and encourages the occupying forces to continue its human rights violations in the territory.”
The FM of Timor-Leste Xavier Reis Magno reaffirmed the constant support of his country to the Saharawi people in their struggle for freedom, recalling that his country led a struggle similar to that of the Sahrawis to achieve independence.
While expressing regret at the failure of the UN to organize this referendum, the minister encouraged the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to “give due attention to the territory of Western Sahara.” (Sumoud)