In the run-up to the UN Security Council vote on the renewal of the MINURSO mandate at the end of April, we will be asking our partners and supporters to work with us to contact members of the UNSC. Below is our action from last year.
Events of the last two years have weakened Morocco’s political position, and give hope for progress towards ending the conflict:
· In December 2016, 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. This has been strengthened by a more recent legal opinion from the EU Advocate General regarding the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement in January 2018 (and subsequent ruling in February 2018) which builds on the original ECJ ruling from December 2016. In May 2017, ships carrying Moroccan exports of phosphates from Western Sahara were seized, and the cargo of one impounded. Advocates from South Africa in this case are clear that Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara is illegal.
· Morocco re-joined the African Union, tacitly admitting that its boycott of the AU over the inclusion of Western Sahara has not worked.
Whilst the above raises cautious optimism, Morocco continues to oppress the rights of Saharawi men, women and children. Human rights abuses in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara have continued. Protesters have been sentenced in unfair trials and Saharawis have been beaten and murdered. The Saharawi’s right to self-determination remains unrealised, a quarter century after the arrival of MINURSO, mandated to organise a referendum.
Help us to drive forward the achievements of the last two years.
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 2018 MINURSO Briefing for further information.
(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. 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 agreements 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;
· Expand MINURSO’s mandate to include monitoring human rights.