INTERVENTION OF THE F.POLISARIO TO THE IV COMMITTEE
69 SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York, October 10, 2014
I address this important Committee on behalf of the Polisario Front, the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people. The Western Sahara is still the last colony in Africa, and its continued occupation by Morocco for the past forty years is, above all, a direct challenge to the position set by the international community that has repeatedly proclaimed the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence. This challenge has dragged on for too long and it is time for it to come to an end.
Some recent developments provide a new opportunity. On the one hand, the African Union has appointed former President of Mozambique, Mr. Chissano, as its Special Envoy for Western Sahara, reflecting the legitimate interests of our continent to revive its historic cooperation with the UN in the Western Sahara decolonization process. On the other hand, the Secretary General of the UN declared in his report to the Security Council in April 2014 that in April 2015 he will make a final assessment of the relevance of the peace process that is currently blocked by Morocco, so as to make the Security Council fully shoulder its responsibilities. To that end, he announced that his Personal Envoy, Ambassador Ross, would travel to the region once every month. Ambassador Ross asked in May, June and September, for the cooperation of the parties to carry out his mission. He received a positive response from the Polisario but has not yet been able to go to the region on three occasions because Morocco, under the guise of maneuvers and delay tactics, has decided not to cooperate, thus obstructing the continued UN mediation effort. For the same reasons of obstruction, Morocco has publicly decried the appointment of President Chissano by the African Union and has not allowed the new Special Representative and Head of MINURSO to travel to Western Sahara to take office in the Territory.
MINURSO came to the Western Sahara 23 years ago to organize a referendum on self-determination that was accepted and signed by Morocco. The facts prove that Morocco has increasingly, step by step, transformed it into the umbrella of a colonial occupation. The decolonization of Western Sahara cannot be mistaken or limited to the replacement of a European colonizer for an Afro-Arab neighbor colonizer.
You and particularly the members of the Security Council should clarify if that’s the mission you wanted for MINURSO. Is MINURSO simply to be the guardian of an illegal occupation and turn a blind eye to the large-scale theft of the resources of our country? Is it to ignore the continuing human rights violations? The latest victim was a political prisoner, Hassana Elwali, who died less than a week ago because he was denied medical care while being detained in prison in the occupied city of Dakhla. The people of Western Sahara, who have trusted the UN for so many years, deserve and need that clarification. After over 40 years, silence or patience to the imposed injustice on the Saharawi people and to what the MINURSO has become means renunciation of responsibilities and is no longer a compelling option.
Thank you very much