In the run-up to the UN Security Council vote on the renewal of the MINURSO mandate at the end of April, we ask our partners and supporters to work with us to contact members of the UNSC.
The Time is Now
Over the last year, Horst Köhler, the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy to Western Sahara, has made some progress. In December 2018, he organised the first roundtable meeting of the parties to the conflict, Morocco and the POLISARIO Front, and of Algeria and Mauritania. Conflict specialists the International Crisis Group have identified this as a sign of a ‘resolution opportunity’ for the conflict. Talks continued in March this year.
Unchecked Moroccan power – manifest in violence against civilians, unfair trials and arbitrary detention and the illegal exploitation of Western Sahara’s resources – brings instability to the territory. Above all, the continued denial of the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination creates tension, frustration and “an illegal situation”, in the words of the CJEU Advocate General.
The UN needs to take action to build confidence among the people of the region, especially the Saharawis, that law and human rights will be respected in the future of Western Sahara. Without that confidence, renewed conflict remains a danger; with it, a peaceful solution becomes a possibility.
Help us to drive forward the achievements of the last year.
Please write to the UN Security Council. Either write to all members (use the list of UN contacts) or write to the German Ambassador (Germany currently holds the Presidency), asking that he circulate to all members of the Security Council. Please use the notes below but write in your own words as this will have more impact.
LETTER or EMAIL
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
The main points to make in your letter or email are:
The Security Council should:
• Give strong support to UN Envoy Horst Köhler’s efforts to break the deadlock.
• Grant MINURSO the legal mandate to monitor and report on human rights in territories controlled by the Kingdom of Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO. This body must report its findings directly to the UN Security Council.
• Call for the release of the Gdeim Izik prisoners and all Saharawi political detainees currently languishing in Moroccan jails.
• Demand an end to the extraction of natural resources from Western Sahara through deals which disregard the interests and wishes of the indigenous Saharawi.
• Consider how MINURSO could support the upholding of international law with regard to the illegal exploitation of Western Sahara’s resources by Morocco.
• Set a date for a free and fair referendum to be carried out in Western Sahara with an option for independence on the ballot paper, as required by international law.
You can read the 2019 MINURSO Briefing for further information and background to these points.
H.E. Mr Christoph Heusgen
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations
871 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017