An Open Letter from CODESA urges cancellation of the Crans Montana Forum

Laayoune /Western Sahara, 9 February 2015

CODESA (the Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders, of which Aminatou Haidar is president) has written an open letter to the President of the Crans Montana Forum urging the Forum President to cancel its planned meeting on 12th to 14th March 2015 in Dakhla city /Western Sahara to discuss the issue of ” Africa and south–south cooperation.
The decision to hold the meeting in Western Sahara which is known internationally as a disputed territory is an affront to the Saharawis who continue to be subjected to human rights abuses and oppression under the Moroccan regime.  (Continue to read CODESA letter)

CODESA letter

Mr president ;
The executive bureau of the collective of human rights defenders in the western sahara was compelled to write to you concerning your forum decision to hold his annual meeting in the period between 12th and 14th March 2015 in Dakhla city /western sahara to discuss the issue of ” Africa and south –south cooperation “.

Bearing in mind that although we respect your forum initiation to establish peace and stability for different peoples and and your efforts to build a more human and fair world throughout three decades , we , at the same time ; feel surprised by your decision to hold your annual meeting for 2015 in a city situated in western Sahara which is known internationally as a disputed territory between the polisario front and the Moroccan kingdom .Besides, from 1991 a UN mission for the referundum in western Sahara(MINURSO ) is in the territory as a part of a united nation’s process to end the conflict.
we were expecting instead of that the Crans-Montana forum pay a visit to the disputed territory so as to meet the human rights organisations and associations that are dnied their right assembly , association and organisation and to look into the various violations committed by the Moroccan state against the Sahrawi civilians .These violations which have been a matter of worry and interest for the human rights organisations at the international level . These organisations call in their reports for the imperative of respecting the sahrawi people right in self –determination ,the protection of Sahrawi civilians and creating a mechanism to monitor , watch and report human rights in western sahara.

The Moroccan state instead of complying with the recommendations , respecting and implementing its international commitments in human rights field , it went on tendentious extensive campaings blaming organisations such as Human Rights Watch, Robert Kennedy Center For Justice and Human Rights , Front Line And The Moroccan Association For Human Rights of lack of objectivity and being aligned . Moreover , they blamed them of receiving money as a bribe to tarnish and debase the reality of what they called ” Moroccan achievements in human rights field”.

Conversely, your forum (Crans-Montana) invited to his annual meeting ” state leaders , governments ,ministers,internatinal and regional organisations ,parliament deputies , fiscal institutions , employers organisations and professionals”. all that can attribute to that meeting an international nature which will serve the Moroccan state and display a falsified image about her exercising the sovereignty on the disputed territory in dicordance with the U.N resolutions .
The intention of the Crans- Montana Forum to organize its annual meeting in Western Sahara is a dangerous unprecedented step affecting the principle of neutrality. Moreover , it is a strange and illogical step to whiten the black history of the Moroccan state in the field of human rights . It will be fortified with the opportunities to propagate to serve a political agenda .While the Saharawi people still suffer from violations of their basic rights, and especially the right to self-determination for more than four decades.

For these considerations, and out of respect and in deference to the fair and legitimate cause of the Sahrawi people and in consistency with international law and international legitimacy, we urge you to cancel your annual meeting in Dakhla / Western Sahara. Considering that many renowned personalities , international organizations and federations denounced the unlawful and illegitimity of the meeting. on top comes the African Union, which asked for cancelling this meeting, although the Crans- Montana Forum will held this meeting on the theme “Africa and South-South cooperation”.
in the end ,please accept our sincere regards and respect”