The UN Security Council must support the Secretary General’s new Personal Envoy to Western Sahara.
After several years of paralysis, the appointment of Staffan de Mistura as the new Personal Envoy of the Secretary General to Western Sahara is an opportunity to revive the peace process. However, he needs support from the UNSC to make progress. His proposed visit to Western Sahara in July 2022 was blocked by Morocco. Western Sahara now hosts violent conflict; severe limitations on Saharawi people’s freedom of information, freedom of assembly, and freedom of movement and attacks on Saharawi women. Despite the rise of human rights violations by the Moroccan government, MINURSO still has no mandate to monitor and report on human rights in Western Sahara. The Saharawi people’s right to self-determination remains unrealised despite the presence of MINURSO, which was explicitly established to organise a referendum on self-determination. Morocco continues to test the patience of the Saharawi people by obstructing the peace process. Morocco continues to violate the ceasefire and Military Agreement No. 1 through its illegal breach in Guerguerat. The US, the UK and the EU all condemn Russia's invasion and occupation of part of Ukraine, and have imposed sanctions. But when it comes to Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara the silence is deafening. The UN—if it aims to abide by its founding principles—must pursue a robust peace process to achieve a just and lasting solution rooted in full respect for the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination.
You Can Make a Difference!
Please write to your MP and ask them to write to Gillian Keegan MP, Minister of State, FCDO. Find your MP here.
You can also write, e-mail or call members of the UNSC to express your views on the need for international public support for the Saharawi people. You can prioritise the UK Ambassador; also consider the Gabonese ambassador, as Gabon holds the Security Council Presidency in October 2021. In his capacity as President for October, you can ask the Gabonese ambassador to circulate your letter to the other members. Contact details are below and in the attached document.
Use your own words in these communications if possible to maximize your impact.
For guidance, you can consider the following key points of emphasis; make some of the points – don’t try to make them all. The UN Security Council should:
Bring new momentum to the political process, by
-moving to formal reports every six months (instead of annually) from the Secretary General’s Personal Envoy; these reports to cover the situation on the ground, MINURSO’s progress and new confidence-building measures.
-Remove the role of the Friends of Western Sahara Group in drafting the text of Security -Council resolutions on Western Sahara. The Group is biased in favour of Morocco, and the resolutions about other peacekeeping forces are not drafted in this way.
Uphold international law, by
-granting MINURSO the legal mandate to monitor and report on human rights in the territories controlled by both the Kingdom of Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO.
-demanding an end to the illegal extraction of natural resources from Western Sahara, which disregards the interests and wishes of the indigenous Saharawi.
-maintaining a focus on self-determination, which is the legal right of the Saharawi people, and setting a date for a free and fair referendum to be carried out in Western Sahara with an option for independence.
Incorporate climate change considerations into MINURSO’s mandate, by
-Monitoring the impacts of increased desertification and flooding on the livelihoods of Saharawi refugees.
-Considering how Moroccan dominance of Saharawi natural resources impacts GHG emissions.
Combat the COVID-19 pandemic, by
-advocating for the release of Saharawi civilian prisoners in Moroccan prisons, which are notorious for overcrowding and unhygienic conditions.
Please see the documents attached for contact details of the UNSC, and also the briefing.
WESTERN SAHARA CAMPAIGN UK
The Western Sahara Campaign works in solidarity with the Saharawi people to generate political support in order to advance their right to self-determination and to promote their human rights.
Our role is to lobby the UK Government and the EU. You can help us to ensure the UK does not ignore the voice of the Saharawi people.
Follow the news about EU's illegal fisheries in Western Sahara