Putting an end to the tragedy and suffering of the Saharawi refugees and the strength of their integration depends on the need to return to the occupied homeland while respecting the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination.
Every year on 20 June, the countries of the world commemorate World Refugee Day, in accordance with Resolution 55/76 issued on 4 January 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly, in recognition of the strength and courage of people forced to flee their homeland to escape political persecution, and in search of international sympathy and understanding for the plight and suffering of millions of refugees, with the emphasis in 2023 on finding solutions for them and on the power of their integration.
And by virtue of the fact that the Saharawi people were subjected, on 31 October 1975, to a military invasion by the Moroccan occupying force, which led to the occupation of their land, Western Sahara, after thousands of Saharawi civilians fled their tents and homes for fear of political persecution, crimes against humanity and war crimes, which affected different age groups,
Given that only separate groups of Sahrawi civilians were lucky enough to manage to take refuge on Algerian soil after the vast majority had been bombarded with internationally banned napalm and white phosphorus by warplanes of the Moroccan occupation force,
Considering that, since 1991, the Sahrawi people have been waiting for the realisation of their right to self-determination through a free, fair and impartial referendum under the supervision of the United Nations, which has continued for 30 years to monitor the ceasefire process, waiting for the Sahrawi people to be able to fully enjoy their rights and decide their political future before the military forces of the Moroccan occupation violate the ceasefire on 13 November 2020,
Considering that the Saharawi people are no longer suffering solely as refugees in the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf/South-West Algeria, but that thousands of these people are now living in refuge and diaspora in various countries because of the lack of international will to decolonise the Western Sahara and because of the resumption of the war and because of the suffering of Saharawi civilians because of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Moroccan occupying force,
The Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders in Western Sahara, CODESA, declares :
1/ Its absolute solidarity with the refugees in various countries of the world, and with the Saharawi refugees who have been present for more than 47 years in the camps in south-west Algeria.
2/ Its denunciation of the humanitarian tragedies suffered by refugees in various countries of the world by a group of countries that refuse to welcome them and grant them their full and legitimate rights guaranteed in the relevant international covenants.
3/ Its demand of the need to provide international humanitarian, social and economic support to the Saharawi refugees in the Tindouf camps and to work hard to integrate them and meet their just and legitimate demands, in accordance with international humanitarian law.
4/ Its appeal to the international community to assume its responsibility in accordance with international humanitarian law and United Nations resolutions to decolonize Western Sahara and guarantee the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and the right of the Sahrawi refugees to return to their homeland, Western Sahara, in order to guarantee the full enjoyment of their just and legitimate rights, instead of keeping them for more than 04 decades suffering from human tragedies, harsh climatic conditions and subsistence thanks to international humanitarian aid.
5/ Its appeal to the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to work for the protection of Sahrawi civilians against various crimes against humanity committed by the Moroccan occupying forces because of their participation in peaceful demonstrations demanding independence, self-determination and the right of sovereignty over the natural resources of Western Sahara.
El-Aaiún / occupied Western Sahara, 20 June 2023
Executive Bureau of the Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders
in Western Sahara