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

Frente POLISARIO press release: The appointment by the UN Secretary-General of Mr Staffan de Mistura as his new Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.

New Personal Envoy, Mr. Staffan de Mistura.

Bir Lehlou, Sahrawi Republic, 6 October 2021

The Press release stressed that “the only way forward to achieve a peaceful, just, and enduring solution to the decolonisation of Western Sahara is to enable the Sahrawi people to exercise freely and democratically their inalienable and non-negotiable right to self-determination and independence in accordance with the precepts of international legality and relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the African Union.”

Press Release, 6 October 2021

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

BREAKING: Court annuls EU fisheries and trade deals in occupied Western Sahara!

29 September 2021

Polisario’s representative to Europe, Oubi Bachir, with Manuel Devers from Polisario’s legal team

Today, the EU Court of Justice has struck a blow to the EU’s practice of applying trade and fisheries agreements with Morocco to occupied Western Sahara.

The press release from the Court today specifically states that Polisario is able to represent the Saharawi people before European courts.

The right of the Saharawi people to consent has not been respected, the court stated. It states that the Union could not have replaced the “consent” of the Saharawi people with the argument of “benefits”.

Read more.

Western Sahara, the Biden Administration and Human Rights

By Amit Dadon, Janna Ramadan
Lawfareblog.com, September 21, 2021

U.N. Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) conduct a ceasefire monitoring patrol near Oum Dreyga.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Martine Perret via Flickr; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In December 2020, then-President Trump drastically broke from established U.S. policy, international consensus, and U.N. resolutions to formally recognize Morocco’s control of Western Sahara in a quid pro quo for Morocco to normalize relations with Israel.

So far President Biden has done nothing to reverse this policy……Implicitly allowing and abetting continued violations of Sahrawi rights and international law diminishes the Biden administration’s credibility when it criticizes abuses committed by other countries. (cont.)

Lawfareblog article

Physical assault and sexual harassment of woman human rights defender Sultana Khaya and her family

Front Line Defenders, 25 August 2021

Sultana Khaya

On 22 August 2021, Moroccan security agents raided the house of woman human rights defender Sultana Khaya and physically assaulted her, her sister Laura Khaya and other members of her family. The security agents destroyed the furniture in Sultana Khaya’s house, causing damage to parts of the house and seizing the family’s belongings. Sultana Khaya and her sister were also subjected to sexual harassment by male security agents during the raid.

Full report

Open Letter to UN Security Council and to the UN Secretary-General New York

New York Support Group for the Independence of Western Sahara
New York, 1 September 2021

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the deployment of the first MINURSO contingent in Western Sahara, the New York Support Group for the Independence of Western Sahara with its 298 member-organisations, including Australia Western Sahara Association, recalls the terms of the Settlement Plan submitted jointly by the UN Secretary-General and the Chairman of the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, and approved by the Security Council. The plan provided  that “the people of  Western Sahara will choose, freely and democratically, between independence and integration  with Morocco” and that “The referendum should be held 24 weeks after the cease-fire comes into effect”.

Rather than 24 weeks, It is now 30 years since that cease-fire Settlement Plan was approved and still there is no resolution of the conflict. This excellent letter identifies the reasons MINURSO and the UN are failing in their mission.

Letter from New York Support Group to UN

US Senator James Inhofe speaks out on Western Sahara

US Senate, 11 August 2021

On 11 August 2021 Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma spoke on the Senate floor about the continuing plight of the people of Western Sahara.

He and others in the Senate have on a bi-partisan basis continued to stand up for the Saharawis and their right to determine their own future for years and continue to call on their country and the world to do the right thing.

Watch YouTube video of Senator Inhofe speech

President of CODESA and his 2 colleagues kidnapped from Khaya family’s house

10 May 2021

On the morning of 10 May 2021 Moroccan occupying forces broke into the house of Khaya family in Boujdour/occupied Western Sahara.
They captured the President of the Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders in Western Sahara – CODESA, Babouzaid Mohamed Saeed (34 years) and his two colleagues (Khalid Boufraywa and Salec babir).
The whole family was living under house arrest and constant terror for more than 5 months.

The aftermath of this harrowing and brutal incident was captured in this short video made by the HR activist Sultana Khaya.

Sultana Khaya – YouTube video