PUSL.- On September 17, a CGTP-IN (General Confederation of Portuguese Workers) delegation headed by João Barreiros, from the Executive Committee of the National Council and responsible for the Department of International Relations, delivered a letter to the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Lisbon, about the situation of Saharawi workers in the occupied territories.
With this initiative, to which the CPPC – Portuguese Council for Peace and Cooperation has joined, CGTP-IN denounced the systematic, serious and persistent violations of labor and other social rights of workers and the Saharawi people in the territories occupied by Morocco in the Western Sahara.
In the context of the epidemic outbreak of COVID-19, the persecutory and repressive action of Morocco is accentuated, which dismisses arbitrarily, suspends wages and economic aid, deepens racist segregation, prohibits the right of organization and union action to Saharawis and denies union organizations the right to enter the occupied territories.
In this context, CGTP-IN considers that Portugal should develop a transversal action as a Member State of the UN, the EU and the International Labor Organization (ILO), in compliance with International Law and the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, legal instruments that recognize the “right of peoples to self-determination and independence”. CGTP-IN also highlights the complaints of the Committees for the Defense of the rights of the Saharawi people, which report:
– Violations of the right to health and to demonstrate in the occupied cities of Western Sahara, where health care is blackmailed by health professionals and anyone who participates in protests and demonstrations and has been injured by the police;
– Violations of the right to education, with educational institutions being used to impose programs contrary to the social, cultural and linguistic identity of the Saharawi population;
– Violations of freedom of expression, movement, the right to housing and culture;
– Frequent kidnappings, political prison, physical and psychological torture, disrespect for the rights of political prisoners in Moroccan prisons;
– The prey of the immense natural and fishing resources and the degradation of the lands and the environment in the occupied territories, a situation that does not have the consent of the legitimate representative of this people, the POLISARIO Front, and harms the Saharawi people and the right of self-determination due to the agreements between the latter and Morocco.
According to CGTP-IN, the deterioration of the situation makes it urgent to apply international law and the relevant UN resolutions that recognize the right to self-determination in Western Sahara. Without this decisive step, these and other serious violations of the rights of the Saharawi people will persist.
The organization also considers it essential that Portugal takes the initiative and develops all efforts to realize these inalienable rights, starting by supporting the mandate of MINURSO, the UN Mission for the organization of the self-determination referendum, thus giving the Saharawi people the floor to decide their future and the future of their country.
They end the appeal to the Portuguese government by stating that “In coherence, Portugal must strive for the repeal of the existing agreements between the EU and Morocco, which in addition to the illegal inclusion of the non-autonomous territory of Western Sahara in the scope of Morocco with a view to the plunder of resources of the Saharawi people, favors capitalist concentration to the detriment of employment, income and rights of Portuguese, Saharawi and Moroccan workers.”