Category Archives: Political issues

Climate Colonialism: Why Was Occupied Western Sahara Excluded from COP26 U.N. Summit in Scotland?

Democracy Now Nov 17, 2021

Activists are criticizing the British government for excluding Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco since 1975, from the U.N. climate summit COP26 in Glasgow Scotland. Meanwhile, Morocco is counting renewable energy developments in Western Sahara towards its own climate pledges.

Negotiators from Western Sahara independently announced a plan to reduce carbon emissions outside COP26, as the climate crisis has brought extreme weather conditions including drought, extreme heat and flooding to the region.

In an interview last week in Glasgow, Scotland while COP26 was underway, Amy Goodman talked with Oubi Bouchraya Bachir, a representative of the Polisario Front for Europe and the European Union, and climate change consultant Nick Brooks, who has traveled to Western Sahara for decades to carry out archaeological and palaeo-environmental fieldwork and helped release the Sahrawi climate plan adjacent to the COP26.

Saharawi government launches climate plan to coincide with COP26

The Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria are regularly affected by floodings, sand storms and extreme heat

8 November 2021

The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) has today launched an indicative Nationally Determined Contribution (iNDC) for Western Sahara, outlining what actions it intends to undertake to contribute to global efforts to address the climate crisis.

The launch coincides with the COP26 negotiations in Glasgow, from which the Saharawi people and their government are excluded as a result of Morocco’s illegal occupation of their homeland. The Saharawi people’s contribution to the global fight against climate change, was presented at a side-event of COP26 today. (cont…)

Read more including the full iNDC for Western Sahara, launched at a side-event of COP26 today

UN renews peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, calls for talks


Morocco has proposed wide-ranging autonomy for Western Sahara, but the Polisario Front insists the local population has the right to a referendum on independence [File: Fadel Senna/AFP]

ALJAZEERA News, 29 October 2021

The United Nations Security Council resolution expresses concern over the breakdown of the ceasefire between Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front.
The United Nations Security Council has extended the UN peacekeeping mission in the disputed Western Sahara for a year, expressing concern at the breakdown of the 1991 ceasefire between Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front and calling for a revival of UN-led negotiations. (cont…)

ALJAZEERA article 29 October

The time is now: Western Sahara must gain independence

On October 6, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed a new special envoy for Western Sahara (image by Eric Bridiers via Flickr)

by Kamal Fadel, Polisario Representative in Australia and New Zealand
Independent Australia (IA), 28 October 2021

The question of Western Sahara is, anew, being examined by the UN Security Council. This is an opportunity to kickstart the peace process in a strategically important region.

Almost six decades after it was promised a referendum on its future, Western Sahara awaits its destiny. The UN has spent more than two billion dollars on its mission in Western Sahara and appointed several envoys without accomplishing the task of enabling the people of Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination….(cont.)

Read article

by Kamal Fadel, who


UN’s responsibility towards Western Sahara; statement by Kamal Fadel, Polisario Representative

Statement prepared by Kamal Fadel, Polisario Representative for the Australia Western Sahara Association online panel event Tuesday 12 October 2021


Prepared for the Australia Western Sahara Association online panel event Tuesday 12 October 2021

“First of all I would like to thank AWSA for organisation this event and also all the speakers for their time. Thanks also to all those who joined us over Zoom and Facebook from all around the world.
This event is being held on an important day for the people of Western Sahara as 46 years ago on 12 October 1975, Saharawi members of the Spanish Parliament, Chiefs and elders as Polisraio leaders and member met to express their unity behind Polisario as their sole representative and their desire to achieve independence….” (cont.)

Download
statement by Kamal Fadel

Australian Peacekeepers in Western Sahara

Corporals Colin Gamble and Greg Scanlon in the desert conditions of Western Sahara, December 1991. Photo: T. R. Dex

by David Sutton, Australian War Memorial Blog , 6 September 2021

On 6 September 1991 a group of Australian signallers in the remote Western Sahara desert strung an antenna to the roof of their hotel room, connected it to two “very sad looking” Moroccan radios in the Australian contingent commander’s bedroom, and established the Force Headquarters Radio Room for a major United Nations peacekeeping operation. It was an unglamorous start to Operation Cedilla, Australia’s contribution to the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). The rudimentary technical conditions were short lived….(cont.)

Article by David Sutton

US Senators letter to The Honorable Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State

The letter dated October 14, 2021 from a group of US Senators urges the State Department to prioritize engagement with the Moroccan government about human rights abuses, …

October 14, 2021
The letter concludes:
“The United States must be an advocate for human rights around the world. Yet, concerning abuses by Moroccan authorities, especially against Sahrawis, the administration has said little publicly. We urge you to reaffirm the right of the people of Western Sahara to self- determination, and to advocate for the release of political prisoners and protect freedom of expression for every Moroccan and Sahrawi.”

Online panel discussion: UN’s responsibility towards Western Sahara, Tuesday 12 October, 7pm (AEST)

Australia Western Sahara Association hosted this fantastic panel of Australian and international guests to discuss the United Nations role in the Western Sahara conflict

Panellists:

  • Jeremy Corbyn MP – Former Leader of the UK Labour Party
  • Francesco Bastagli – Former Head of the UN Mission in Western Sahara, MINURSO, and UN representative in Western Sahara
  • Senator Tim Ayres – Labor Senator for NSW
  • Golriz Ghahraman MP – Green Party of Aotearoa NZ
  • Kamal Fadel – Polisario Front Representative in Australia and New Zealand
  • Moderator Lyn Allison – Former VIC Australian Democrats Senator

When: Tuesday 12 October 2021
Time:  7pm  – Sydney (AEST)

The event was recorded for AWSA’s Facebook page

Why the Fight Over Western Sahara Is Heating Up Again

By Souhail Karam | Bloomberg
The Washington Post, September 30, 2021

In November 2020, the Polisario ditched a 30-year cease-fire with Morocco. The severing of diplomatic ties in August between Morocco and Algeria, Polisario’s historic backer, could escalate the tension. A ruling by a European Union court in September enforcing the bloc’s legal positions on Western Sahara as a separate and distinct territory from Morocco served to highlight the importance of finding a political solution to the crisis.

Washington Post article

EU court offers clear message to NZ phosphate importing companies

Voxy.co.nz, Thursday, 7 October, 2021

On September 29, the General Court of the European Union issued a landmark ruling, one of significant importance in international law for Western Sahara. Western Sahara is Africa’s last colony, occupied illegally by Morocco since 1975, and even in the face of a UN administered self-determination referendum agreed upon in 1991. New Zealand is a large-scale importer of high-quality phosphate rock from Western Sahara. In 2017-18, the High Court of South Africa noted that the Saharawi people are the rightful owner of the resource.

Read article