Pro-Saharawi petitioners pleaded Thursday before the UN Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) in New York for an end to Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara, calling on the United Nations to “act without further delay.
The Polisario Front’s representative at the UN, Sidi Mohamed Omar, condemned Morocco’s “illegal occupation” of the Sahrawi territory since 1975 and its attempts to impose a “fait accompli” and to “oppose its decolonisation”.
The Polisario Front, the only legitimate representative of the people of Western Sahara, stated that “it is time for the Fourth Committee and the UN to speak out against the existence of the last colony in Africa”.
For the Saharawi diplomat, the illegal occupation of the territory by Morocco since 1975 and the attempts of the occupying state to impose a fait accompli and to oppose the decolonisation of Western Sahara are a “contempt” for all that this Committee represents.
“For almost three decades, the Polisario Front has been committed to a lasting and peaceful solution to the situation in the territory and we have made progress in this direction, notably with the holding of fair elections supported by the parties and the Security Council “, Sidi Mohamed Omar added.
However, in the absence of decisive action by the international community vis-à-vis “Morocco’s disregard” for UN mandates, this state continues to act “with impunity”, the Polisario Front representative deplored.
The population is the victim of an “injustice that should never have been allowed”, he denounced, referring to “unspeakable brutality” and stressing, once again, that the Front will never “give up its right to self-determination and will not renounce the legitimate means to achieve it”.
For his part, the petitioner Mr. Daniel Dart Richert, DEC Projects, declared that over the past five years he met all parties to the conflict and was “appalled” by Morocco’s actions in Western Sahara and by “the silence and complacency of the United Nations”.
Noting that the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has no human rights mandate, he drew attention to the massive human rights violations in the region. “What we are witnessing today is the rationalisation of colonialism,” he said, calling on the international community to “give the Saharawi people the rights they deserve and to immediately organise a referendum on self-determination.
For his part, the speaker Chris Sassi, president of S.K.C., criticised Morocco for “continuing to occupy a large part of its neighbour, Western Sahara, and for obstructing the decolonisation process”.
He added that the challenge of renewing MINURSO’s mandate “will be to bring the two parties to respect the ceasefire concluded in 1991 under the aegis of the UN and to enable the Mission to fulfil the mandate set for it by the Security Council, namely the organisation of a referendum on self-determination for the Saharawi people.