Abuja hosts international conference on Western Sahara decolonization in early June

Lagos (Nigeria), May 26, 2015 (SPS) - The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has announced the organization of an international conference on the decolonization of Western Sahara under the motto: “Towards the liberation of the Last Colony in Africa.”
In a press conference held at the Nigerian economic capital Lagos, ASUU said: “scholars, political scientists, historians, lawyers, economists, journalists, human rights activists and African studies experts from Africa, Europe, North and South America, Russia and the Middle East will gather at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Conference Centre, Abuja, to examine the question of the liberation of Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa.”
The conference aims to draw global attention to the continued colonial domination of the people of Western Sahara by Morocco and its allies in Europe and America, stated Dr. Oladipo Fashina, president of the preparatory committee.
Abuja conference will also tackle the continued subjugation of the Saharawi people by Morocco with a view to finding a pathway to end the historical aberration and injustice which the continued Moroccan colonialism and occupation represents.
“The question of Western Sahara is not new in the post-independence history of Nigeria. Every Nigerian government - since the first coming of the President-elect of Nigeria, H. E. Muhamadu Buhari, in the 1980s, up to the out-going President – Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has defended the right of the people of Western Sahara to sovereignty,” underlined Dr. Fashina.
Following is complete text of the press statement:
“TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (ASUU) HELD AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS ON MONDAY, 25TH MAY, 2015 AS PART OF ACTIVITIES FOR PREPARATION FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE DECOLONIZATION OF WESTERN SAHARA
Protocol
Comrades of the Press,
Today is the African Liberation Day. However, there is still a colony in Africa. That colony is in Western Sahara, and the colonizer is a fellow African nation, Morocco. From 2nd to 4th June, 2015, scholars - political scientists, historians, lawyers, economists, journalists, human rights activists and African studies experts – from Africa, Europe, North and South America, Russia and the Middle East will gather at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Conference Centre, Abuja to examine the question of the liberation of Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is organising this International Conference to contribute to efforts going on in different parts of the world, aimed at freeing the last colony on the continent. ASUU is using the avenue of the Conference to, once more, draw global attention to the continued colonial domination of the people of Western Sahara by Morocco and its allies in Europe and America. At the Conference, scholars will interrogate the history and trajectory of the liberation struggle in the colony. The Conference will galvanize support for collective action at the regional and global levels for the speedy liberation of Western Sahara.
Our Union holds it to be true that colonial subjugation is a historical anachronism that must be expunged from the world. We believe in the legacies of the struggles of Pan-Africanists and African liberation fighters such as, Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Field Castro, Che Guevera, Ausgtino Neto, Franz Fanon, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Amilcar Cabral, Samora Machel, Eduardo Mondlane, Partrice Lumumba, Gamel Abdel Nasser, Harry Boumedien, etc – that colonialism must be thoroughly defeated.
At the Abuja conference, scholars from Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, France, Hungary, Argentina, Germany, Poland, America, Russia, Egypt, Algeria, Kenya, Ghana and from other countries will gathered to discuss and analysis the continued subjugation of the Saharawi people by Morocco with a view to finding a pathway to end the historical aberration and injustice which the continued Moroccan colonialism and occupation represents.
The question of Western Sahara is not new in the post-independence history of Nigeria. Every Nigerian government - since the first coming of the President-elect of Nigeria, H. E. Muhamadu Buhari, in the 1980s, up to the out-going President – Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has defended the right of the people of Western Sahara to sovereignty.
The Origin of the Moroccan Colonialism in Western Sahara:
The Western Sahara is one of the painful legacies of colonialism in Africa which have continued to create misunderstanding, confusion and, in many cases, conflict across the length and breadth of Africa. Western Sahara, known as Spanish Sahara during the colonial era, is situated between Morocco to the North, Mauritania to the South, and Algeria to the East. To this day, the territory is the only one in Africa on the UN list of the remaining 16 dependent territories in the world.
The territory now known as the Western Sahara became a Spanish possession in 1881 in the era of the colonial scramble for Africa in the late 19th century. However, as other territories were being decolonized in the 1950s and 1960s, Spain was reluctant to decolonize the territory. Hence, in 1963, the territory was listed as a non-self-governing by the United Nations after a demand by Morocco, which claimed it as part of its territory since 1957. This was followed in 1965 by a UN General Assembly resolution No. 2072 (XX), which asked Spain to decolonize the territory. But Spain did not relinquish the territory till 1975, when control was handed over to a joint Morocco/Mauritania administration.
This arrangement was challenged by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia al-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO), the Sahrawi National Liberation Movement, which proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and established a government in exile in Tindouf, Algeria. In 1979, Mauritania withdrew from the Joint Administration and Morocco established effective control over the territory. Presently, Morocco occupies 80% of the Western Sahara, and considers the region its three southern provinces. So, the oppressive colonial regime of Morocco has continued over Western Sahara.
Morocco promoted its autonomy plan for the territory while POLISARIO insisted on self-determination and independence. This development adversely affected Morocco’s relationship with the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and its successor, the African Union (AU). Indeed, with the admission of SADR as a full member of the Organisation in 1984, Morocco formally withdrew from the OAU. While SADR claims sovereignty over the whole Western Sahara territory, Morocco has continued to insist on its ownership, a position unacceptable to the AU.
In 1960, the UN’s commitment to the process of the decolonization of occupied lands led to the adoption of a resolution that called for the independence and self-determination of occupied territories. On 16 December 1965, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution requesting that Spain grant independence to the Western Sahara. On 20 December 1966, the General Assembly passed another resolution urging Spain to organize a referendum, under the auspices of the UN, to determine the status of Western Sahara. In June 1966 the UN Special Committee on Decolonization held a meeting, at which Morocco and Mauritania supported the independence of Western Sahara, Spain, the former colonial power, decided in 1970 to recognize this right while a regional consensus was growing with the objective of spending up the decolonization process.
Dynamics of the Struggle:
In the mid-1970s, Spain prepared to decolonize the region, intending to transform it into a closely aligned independent state after a referendum on self-determination. This plan was, however, opposed by Morocco and Mauritania. Both of them laid historical claims to the territory, at Morocco’s initiative, the U. N. General Assembly referred the question to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which, on October 12, 1975, ruled in favour of self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.
On 26 February 1976, the colonial power, Spain, officially withdrew from the territory. The following day, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO), founded in May 1973 in Mauritania by students from Spanish Sahara, proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as a government-in-exile currently located in Tindouf, Algeria. SADR is recognized by Eighty-Four countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. A total of forty states, including Nigeria, currently maintain diplomatic relations with SADR, while the AU has admitted it as a member since 1984.
On 10 July 1978, the POLISARIO Front declared a cease-fire, which led to the signing of the Algiers Agreement between the POLISARIO and Mauritania on 5 August 1979. Mauritania subsequently withdrew from Western Sahara leaving Morocco as the only obstacle to its independence.
The OAU recognized Western Sahara in 1982. In response, Morocco immediately suspended its participation in the OAU. Two years later, when Western Sahara was admitted into full membership of the OAU in November 1984, Morocco officially withdrew from the Organization. In November 1984, Nigeria in line with its national liberation and anti-colonial policy recognized SADR and established diplomatic relations with it.
In 1991 the O.A.U. and U. N. sponsored Settlement Plan intended to culminate in a referendum for Saharawi self-determination from early 1992. This has been repeatedly postponed because of stiff opposition from Morocco.
Since 2004, according to Christopher Ross, who was appointed the personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General as a mediator and facilitator, direct negotiations between both parties with the strong encouragement of the UN Security Council, which has every year passed resolutions urging agreement on a “just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution which will provide for self-determination of the people Western Sahara”. The UN supports refuges, maintains a Peacekeeping Force, the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). It must be stated clearly, that the MINURSO mandate is too narrow, hence must be expanded to include monitoring the violation of human rights in the Saharawi’s territory occupied by Morocco.
Western Sahara Must Be Free:
The AU Executive Council, at its 22 Ordinary Session, held in Addis Ababa between 24 and 25 January 2013 requested the Commission to take all necessary measures for the organization of a referendum for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, in compliance with the earlier relevant decisions of the OAU and UN resolutions.
The AU Chairperson, in her Report to the Executive Council, affirmed AU’s commitment declaring that, the OAU-AU, which played such a critical role in the early phase of the peace efforts, should step up its involvement. On the basis of current consultations, the AU should join efforts with the United Nations to facilitate the search for a solution, through the free expression of the will of the people of the Western Sahara. A solution to the crisis will go a long way in enhancing Africa’s unity and integration and upholding the values which made the contemporary history of the continent, Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance demand no less.
As the United Nations prepares for another round of discussions on the Western Sahara come the General Assembly 2015, all people of goodwill are enjoined to join forces for the achievement of a just resolution of the conflict. This Conference being organized by ASUU is in furtherance of this objective of promoting the cause of Saharawi people for decolonization, self-determination, independence, peace and development.
Comrades, we thank you for your patient listening. We invite you to the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua International Conference Centre, Abuja June 2-5, 2015 for the Conference.
Dr. Oladipo Fashina
Convener,
International Conference on the Decolonization of Western Sahara
25th May, 2015. » (SPS)

Africa cannot achieve sustainable development while SADR pleeding (Culture Minister)

Johannesburg, May 26, 2015(SPS) - Minister of Culture Ms. Jadija Hamdi said “Africa cannot achieve sustainable development while part of it is still pleading, as is the case of the Sahrawi Republic (SADR).”
“A free Africa cannot develop or achieve sustainable development, while part of it still pleading,” stated the Minister, in a speech delivered at the Fourth African Conference on Culture, held from 25 to 27 May 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The minister point out that defending cultural diversity is a moral necessity inherent in human dignity, underlining that without respecting these requirements, Africa will remain hostage to the colonial past.
The conference was attended by delegations from many African countries, including of which that of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) led by the Minister of Culture Mr. Jadija Hamdi. (SPS)

UN Committee of 24 calls for decolonization of Western Sahara

Managua (Nicaragua), May 25, 2015 (SPS) - The participants in the regional Conference of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization (the Committee of 24,) held recently in Managua, Nicaragua, has renewed called for the completion of the decolonization process in Western Sahara through the organization of a free and transparent referendum allowing the people of Western Sahara to exercise freely their right to self-determination.

 Refuting the Moroccan attempts to misrepresent the question of Western Sahara, the representatives of Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea recalled "the colonial character" of the current status of Western Sahara.

 They insisted on "the UN's responsibility to end this situation of occupation and colonization."

 The UN was also called upon "to ensure without delay the implementation of relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, which enshrine the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and independence."

Violations of human rights in the occupied territories of Western Sahara and the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the territory were the focus of attention of the participants in the Conference, who stressed the particular responsibility of the UN in this regard.

Finally, the participants demanded the Committee of Decolonization to put into practice resolution 1514 (XV) on the issue of Western Sahara, containing a declaration on the Granting of Independence to colonial Countries and Peoples and supported. (SPS)

Saharawi Association takes part in 88th Congress of Human Rights League in Le Mans

Le Mans (France), May 24, 2015 (SPS) - The Association of Families of Saharawi prisoners and disappeared (AFAPREDESA) participated in the 88th Congress of the League of Human Rights, held from 23-25 May, in Le Mans, France.

On the sidelines of the Congress, AFAPREDESA representative Bouzeid Oumar held meetings with the deputy mayor of Le Mans and the league executives from other French cities, where he discussed with them the latest developments related to the question of Western Sahara and the grave situation of human rights in the occupied territories by Morocco.

Speakers during the first day of the Congress emphasized the need of respect for human rights worldwide. (SPS)