5 May 2008 – University of Sydney; Lecture on Western Sahara decolonization issue

The representative of the Polisario in Australia Mr. Kamal Fadel was invited by the Politics Society at the University of cimg0438.JPGSydney on 5 May 2008 to give a talk on Western Sahara: The talk was attended by a large group of students and the Australian public.

The talk was under the title: Western Sahara: The last colony in Africa, the role of the UN in decolonisation and conflict resolution.

The Saharawi representative gave an overview of the process of decolonisation in Western Sahara which begun during the Spanish period when the UN put the Territory on its list of Non-Self-Governing Territories in 1963.

The Polisario representative to Australia shed light on the struggle for freedom and independence in Western Sahara. He underlined that both East Timor and Western Sahara were abandoned by their former colonial occupiers and occupied by neighbouring countries, but while East Timor has gained its independence, Western Sahara is still on the UN’s list of Non-Self-Governing Territories waiting for the right to self-determination.

He mentioned that various UN resolutions and the International Court of Justice affirm the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence and that the Moroccan invasion and occupation of Western is a violation of UN resolution and the ICJ verdict.

The Saharawi representative informed the audience of the suffering faced by the Saharawi people during the past 33 years of live in the refugee camps and endurance and repression in the occupied areas where Saharawis have been facing human rights abuses.

He explained that the peace proposes is stalled because of Morocco’s obstruction and rejection of all UN initiatives.

The Saharawi representative talk focused on the lack of enforceability of UN resolutions, and the lack of political will of some influential members of the UN Security Council due to competing national interests and priorities, as impediments to ending Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara. He also touched on the relevance of the situation in Western Sahara to Australia, particularly as Australian companies are involved in the exploitative of phosphate from Western Sahara illegally and the fact that Australia has not played an active role on the the question of Western Sahara similar to what it did on East Timor.

The Saharawi representative stated that the Saharawi people have been preparing for the eventual independence by building viable state institution and that the Saharawi republic is already recognized by over 80 countries and is fully fledged member of the African Union (AU).

The Saharawi representative underlined that the only realistic, just and democratic solution to the conflict in Western Sahara is the organisation of a referendum that will the final word to the Saharawis to decide their future in accordance with UN decolonisation doctrine and resolutions.

During the talk a short documentary on Western Sahara was screened. The talk was followed by a session of questions and answers.