DECLARATION: WEST SAHARA – SELF-DETERMINATION REFERENDUM FOR THE LAST AFRICAN COLONY

WESTERN SAHARA STATEMENT: SELF-DETERMINATION REFERENDUM FOR THE LAST AFRICAN COLONY

As civil society organizations, we wish to reaffirm, on the occasion of the XIII Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (Luanda, 16-17 July 2021), our firm support for the inalienable rights of the people of Western Sahara, starting with its right to self-determination, and independence, if that is their freely expressed choice.

We are indignant at the fact that 46 years have passed since Morocco invaded and occupied by force in 1975, in defiance of all United Nations resolutions and the Opinion issued by the International Court in The Hague, the then Spanish colony of Western Sahara, without that the agreement between all parties was fulfilled exactly 30 years ago (1991): the holding of a referendum through which the Saharawi people could decide on their future.

We are inspired by enormous respect for the determined and courageous way in which the Saharawi people have survived and continued to struggle during these more than four decades, in extreme conditions: separated families, systematic violations of human rights, looting of the territory’s natural resources, temporary life in climatically inhospitable places, discriminated generations deprived of constructive horizons.

We do not accept the compromise of part of the international community, and the United Nations, with the political, diplomatic, economic and security practices of Morocco, the occupying power of a territory acquired by force, whose increasingly aggressive action deserves condemnation, challenge and opposition, through the adoption of fair measures that guarantee the rights of the Saharawi people.

We recognize governments that, in keeping with the principle of self-determination of all colonial countries and peoples, in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) of 1960, have demonstrated their political, diplomatic and economic support for demands of the struggle of the people of Western Sahara and their legitimate representative, the Frente POLISARIO. In particular, we welcome the positions of the African Union and urge all its members to respect and include them in their practice.

We welcome the progressive awareness of international bodies, companies, academic and citizenship institutions that refuse short-term realpolitik, prioritize the rights of the Saharawi and Moroccan peoples, denounce the constant attacks on freedom of information and association, that abandon the exploitation of natural resources because their interlocutors are not legitimate, that worry about the rampant discrimination and inequality and understand the dangers of a serious regional destabilization that is already on the ground.

We want to be an increasingly active part of the movement in solidarity with the people of Western Sahara. We demand justice in international relations, because it is the basis for peace and development. We believe that ending Western Sahara’s unfinished decolonization process is vital, and that international law points to a clear path: as in the case of East Timor, a free and fair referendum is held, under UN supervision. May the Saharawis choose their future.

July 2021

  • AAPSO – Associação de Amizade Portugal-Sahara Ocidental (Portugal)
  • Associação In Loco (Portugal)
  • AJPD – Associação Justiça Paz e Democracia (Angola)
  • Associação Omunga (Angola)
  • ACEP – Associação para a Cooperação entre os Povos (Portugal)
  • CEBRAPAZ – Centro Brasileiro de Solidariedade aos Povos e Luta pela Paz (Brasil)
  • CEAUP – Centro de Estudos Africanos da Universidade do Porto (Portugal)
  • CIDAC – Centro de Intervenção para o Desenvolvimento Amílcar Cabral (Portugal)
  • CooLabora, CRL (Portugal)
  • FONGTIL – Forum ONG Timor Leste (Timor Leste)
  • FORDU – Fórum Regional de Desenvolvimento Universitário (Angola)
  • Friends of Angola (Angola)
  • Graal (Portugal)
  • JOINT Liga de ONGs em Moçambique (Moçambique)
  • OHI – Organização Humanitária Internacional (Angola)
  • PMA – Plataforma Mulheres em Acção (Angola)
  • PPONGD – Plataforma Portuguesa das ONG de Desenvolvimento (Portugal)
  • Rede da Criança de Moçambique (Moçambique)
  • Rede Terra (Angola)
  • SOS-Habitat (Angola)
  • Tiniguena-Esta Terra É Nossa (Guiné-Bissau)
  • UMAR – União de Mulheres, Alternativa e Resposta (Portugal)