We are joining forces with Western Sahara Action Forum (WSAF) and the global solidarity movement to write to the UN Security Council ahead of the annual vote to renew MINURSO at the end of April.
See below for the call to action from WSAF:
CRACKS OPENING IN MOROCCO’S POSITION ON WESTERN SAHARA
Events of the last year have weakened Morocco’s political position, and give hope for progress towards ending the conflict:
· The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the EU-Morocco trade agreement does not include Western Sahara – weakening Morocco’s economic hold.
· Morocco re-joined the African Union, tacitly admitting that its boycott of the AU over the inclusion of Western Sahara has not worked.
· Morocco’s aggressive violation of the ceasefire by sending its forces into the neutral ‘buffer zone’ backfired, when the UN forced it to withdraw.
Whilst the above raises cautious optimism, Morocco continues to oppress the rights of Saharawi men, women and children. In January an 11-year old boy was detained for drawing a Western Sahara flag, and 24 Saharawi juveniles were detained in relation to political protests in the last quarter of 2016.
HELP US DRIVE FORWARD THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THIS YEAR
Please write to the President of the Security Council asking that your letter is circulated to all members. You can copy and paste (and adapt) the text below. A hard copy letter is best but if you do not have time please send an email to all members of the Security Council using the list of UN contacts. You can read the briefing for this year for further information: ‘Cracks opening in Morocco’s position on Western Sahara’.
(please adapt it if you can; it makes it much stronger)
Address : His/Her Excellency; name; the X Ambassador
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Please act for Western Sahara/Stop Moroccan Impunity in Western Sahara/Human rights monitoring in Western Sahara (please delete as necessary)
In the absence of any legitimate claims to Western Sahara, Morocco uses fear, repression, and torture to maintain its occupation. Even children are targets of Moroccan aggression. In January this year an 11-year old boy was detained for drawing a Western Sahara flag. This must stop.
In addition to protecting human rights, the ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union on the EU-Morocco trade agreement must be respected.
The UN Security Council has both the power and a duty to protect the rights and the resources of the Saharawi, and to end the conflict. I write to ask you to:
· Set a date for a free and fair referendum to be carried out in Western Sahara;
· Place sanctions on Morocco for exploiting natural resources in Western Sahara in violation of international law and issue clear guidelines to companies to ensure they do not undertake any illegal activities;
· Expand MINURSO’s mandate to include monitoring human rights.