March 25, 2016

Take Action

TAKE ACTION!

In the run-up to the UN Security Council vote on the renewal of the MINURSO mandate at the end of April, we are asking our partners and supporters to work with us to contact members of the UNSC.

Cracks opening in Morocco’s position on Western Sahara

Events of the last year have weakened Morocco’s political position, and give hope for progress towards ending the conflict:
· The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the EU-Morocco trade agreement does not include Western Sahara – weakening Morocco’s economic hold.
· Morocco re-joined the African Union, tacitly admitting that its boycott of the AU over the inclusion of Western Sahara has not worked.
· Morocco’s aggressive violation of the ceasefire by sending its forces into the neutral ‘buffer zone’ backfired, when the UN forced it to withdraw.

Whilst the above raises cautious optimism, Morocco continues to oppress the rights of Saharawi men, women and children. In January an 11-year old boy was detained for drawing a Western Sahara flag, and 24 Saharawi juveniles were detained in relation to political protests in the last quarter of 2016.

Help us to drive forward the achievements of this year.

Please write to the President of the Security Council asking that your letter is circulated to all members. You can copy and paste (and adapt) the text below. A hard copy letter is best but if you do not have time please send an email to all members of the Security Council using the list of UN contacts. You can read the briefing for this year for further information: ‘Cracks opening in Morocco’s position on Western Sahara’.

DRAFT LETTER

En Français

In Arabic

(please adapt it if you can; it makes it much stronger)

Address : His/Her Excellency; name; the X Ambassador

Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Please act for Western Sahara/Stop Moroccan Impunity in Western Sahara/Human rights monitoring in Western Sahara (please delete as necessary)

In the absence of any legitimate claims to Western Sahara, Morocco uses fear, repression, and torture to maintain its occupation. Even children are targets of Moroccan aggression. In January this year an 11-year old boy was detained for drawing a Western Sahara flag. This must stop.

In addition to protecting human rights, the ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union on the EU-Morocco trade agreement must be respected.

The UN Security Council has both the power and a duty to protect the rights and the resources of the Saharawi, and to end the conflict. I write to ask you to:
· Set a date for a free and fair referendum to be carried out in Western Sahara;
· Place sanctions on Morocco for exploiting natural resources in Western Sahara in violation of international law and issue clear guidelines to companies to ensure they do not undertake any illegal activities;
· Expand MINURSO’s mandate to include monitoring human rights.

Yours sincerely,