Bahian Committee for the Recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
To His Excellency
Mr Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,
President of the Federative Republic of Brazil
Subject: Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic
Salvador, 26 September 2023
The Bahian Committee for the Recognition of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, meeting at its Founding Assembly on 18 September 2023, at the headquarters of the Bahia State Treasury Servants’ Union – Sindsefaz-Bahia, on which occasion we present our cordial and respectful greetings, hereby express the following to Your Excellency:
– The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic – SADR (formerly known as Spanish Sahara) occupies an important space in north-west Africa. It is the only Arab country with Spanish as its second official language. SADR advocates a world of peace, democracy, respect for human rights and social justice. It was proclaimed on 27 February 1976, when the last Spanish soldier left the country.
– The legal and political arguments that clearly justify the need to recognise SADR are sustained as a fundamental basis for stability, peace and justice in North Africa, which can be summarised in the following points, although they are not the only ones.
1- Western Sahara is considered by the United Nations to be a non-autonomous territory pending decolonisation in accordance with the historic and current Resolution 1514 (XV) of 1960, which enshrines the right to independence and sovereignty of countries and peoples subjected to colonialism.
2- The opinion of the International Court of Justice of 16 October 1975 resolved the doubt raised by the UN General Assembly by clarifying in its conclusions (paragraph 162) that neither Morocco nor Mauritania had exercised sovereignty over Western Sahara. Therefore, the Court confirmed that there were no legal links capable of modifying the application of Resolution 1514 (XV) in relation to the decolonisation of Western Sahara and, in particular, the application of the principle of self-determination through the expression of the political will of the indigenous population of this territory.
3 – United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2625 (XXV) establishes that “no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognised as lawful”, reaffirming that the UN rejects the military occupation of Western Sahara and does not recognise the illegal Moroccan annexation of any part of this territory. More precisely, in its Resolutions 34/37 of 21 November 1979 and 35/19 of 11 November 1980, it states that: “the General Assembly deeply regrets the worsening condition resulting from the continued occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco”.
4 – The United Nations General Assembly resolution of 21 November 1979 (A/RES/34/37) says: reaffirms the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and independence in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity and the objectives of General Assembly resolution 1514
(XV) of the General Assembly, as well as the legitimacy of the struggle it is waging to exercise that right in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity.
5 – The Moroccan King, Hassan II, undertook before the OAU/AU on 24 June 1981 “to accept that a referendum be held in Western Sahara so that the people of that territory could exercise their right to self-determination” [AHR/RES. 103 (XVIII) (1981), which was approved as an official UN document (E/CN.4/1982/17)].
6 – The United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 690 (1991) on 29 April 1991, in which, after recalling that “on 30 August 1988, the Kingdom of Morocco and the POLISARIO Front expressed their agreement in principle with the proposals of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President-in-Office of the General Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organisation for African Unity, within the framework of their joint mission of good offices”, also referring to its Resolution 658 (1990) of 27 June 1990, which “contained the full text of the proposals for agreement accepted by the two parties on 30 August 1988”, agreed to “establish under its authority a United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara”, MINURSO. This decision paved the way for the two parties to the conflict to subsequently decree a ceasefire agreement on 6 September 1991, which ended 16 years of war, as a prior step to holding the Referendum on Self-Determination in Western Sahara.
7 – The legal bodies of the African Union recognised, in August 2015, the unquestionable and inalienable right of the People of Western Sahara to a referendum on self-determination (paragraphs 53-54), concluding that Morocco is not an administering power of Western Sahara and does not have sovereignty over it, under the terms of Article 73 of the United Nations Charter.
8 – In its ruling of 22 September 2022, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights concluded that “the UN and the AU recognise the situation of SADR as one of occupation and consider its territory as one of the territories whose decolonisation process has not yet been completed”.
9 – On 10 December 2015, the General Court of the European Union issued a ruling annulling trade cooperation between Morocco and the EU, since this cooperation included Western Sahara as if it were Moroccan territory. The Court recognised the POLISARIO Front as the sole representative of Western Sahara. The Court later passed several rulings in favour of the Frente POLISARIO, on 21 December 2016, 27 February 2018 and 29 September 2021, which made clear the relationship between the occupied country and the occupying country.
10 – After three decades of impunity and continuous attempts to block and sabotage the efforts of the international community, Morocco unilaterally violated Military Agreement No. 1 on 13 November 2020. This violation of the ceasefire agreements led to the resumption of a war imposed on the Saharawi people, whose civilian victims already number in the dozens.
11 – The Saharawi Republic, as a founder and full member of the African Union, currently recognised by 84 nation states, has embassies in more than a dozen African capitals. It also has embassies in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador,
Peru, Bolivia and Uruguay, as well as a simultaneous ambassador in Belize. Most of these countries maintain relations and embassies with both SADR and the Kingdom of Morocco.
Your Excellency, Mr President.We have been following the situation of the Saharawi people very closely, victims of an occupation that persecutes and represses its people and steals their wealth. It is important to remember Article 4 of the Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil, which defends the sovereignty and self-determination of peoples, even more so at this time when the country is once again occupying its space and visibility worldwide, as a defender of International Law, Peace and the self-determination of peoples, a constitutional norm that shows the need to act in the search for peace and stability in North Africa, a region with which we have historical political, cultural and economic ties.
Considering its historic position in defence of the sovereignty of the Palestinian people and seeing the similarity with the long struggle of the Saharawi people, we defend the need for the Brazilian government to recognise the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic as an important contribution to peace in North Africa and the world.
In order to avoid any setbacks in the diplomatic advances made by the Brazilian state, which even included expressions of support for the recognition of the Sahrawi Republic by Senators and Federal Deputies in 2014, including the former Brazilian President, Senator José Sarney, it is essential that the SADR be recognised.
Taking into account the principles that we have heard from you on several occasions, Brazil has a historic role in the defence of justice and world stability, and its contribution to the liberation of the last colony in Africa is fundamental.
Cebrapaz – Centro Brasileiro de Solidariedade aos Povos e Luta pela Paz ACJM-Bahia – Associação Cultural José Martí Bahia
CTB- Ba – Central dos Trabalhadores e Trabalhadoras da Bahia
CUT – Bahia – Central Única dos Trabalhadores – Bahia
Sindsefaz – Sindicato dos Servidores da Fazenda Estadual da Bahia
APLB Sindicato – Sindicato dos Trabalhadores da Educação do Estado da Bahia UJS – União da Juventude Socialista – Bahia
Sindicato dos Bancários da Bahia
Partido Comunista do Brasil – Seção Bahia
Antonio Barreto de Souza – Presidente
Maria Ivone Souza – Secretária Geral