Demand for a Referendum of the Saharawi People
8 August 2004
- The Aotearoa Section has been involved in hosting speaking tours in 2003 and 2004 from members of the Polisario Front of Western Sahara.
- In 1973, under the leadership of the Polisario Front, the Saharawi launched an anti-colonial struggle against Spain. Having forced Spain out in 1975, they then faced a new invasion by Morocco and Mauritania. Many Saharawi fled the Moroccan bombardment and took refuge in neighboring Algeria, where they have been, 170,000 of them, in refugee camps ever since. The women are particularly strong in the running of these camps.
- A new initiative for peace was launched by the United Nations in 2003, which recommends that the referendum, which should have taken place in 1992, should take place as soon as possible. This is being totally blocked by Morocco, which has the support of France and the United States.
- Recalling the WILPF Congress in Zeist in 1986, where WILPF supported the right of the Western Saharan people to self-determination and independence and calls on the Government of Morocco and Polisario to undertake direct negotiations to resolve the conflict of Western Sahara peacefully, in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 40/50,
We ask Sections, particularly in France and the United States,
To lobby their Governments to put pressure on Morocco to cooperate with the UN recommendation to hold a referendum to allow the Saharawi people to vote for independence and return to their own country.