Committee of 24 reaffirms its mandate of decolonization of Western Sahara

New York, 25 June 2017 (SPS) - The UN Special Committee on Decolonization, known as the Committee of 24, reaffirmed its mandate for the decolonization of the territory of Western Sahara, disavowing formally Morocco which wanted to question it.

In its report sanctioning the work of its substantive session which ended on Friday evening in New York, the Committee of 24 unanimously reaffirmed its commitment to the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.

The Committee issued a scathing response to the Ambassador of Morocco to the United Nations, Omar Hilal, who tried, in vain, to call into question this mandate, by claiming falsely that the settlement of the conflict in Western Sahara was the exclusive prerogative of the Security Council alone.

The Special Committee reiterated in its conclusions that it was mandated by the United Nations to review and complete the process of decolonization of Western Sahara.

The Committee of 24, therefore, unanimously decided to support all resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council concerning the settlement of the Saharawi question, instead of supporting only the resolutions of the Security Council adopted since 2007 as Morocco wanted.

In sum, the Special Committee rejected all demands made by Morocco, including its resort to prevent the adoption of a provision that the report of the meeting be approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The Committee unanimously adopted this provision in its final report.

It also confirmed the status of the Polisario Front as the sole and legitimate representative of the territory of Western Sahara by granting it the right to participate in its works as such.

At the end of its work, the Committee of 24 adopted, without vote, a draft resolution on economic activities detrimental to the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.

The General Assembly would, if it adopted the text, invite Governments and the United Nations system to take all possible measures to ensure that the permanent sovereignty of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories over their natural resources is fully respected and safeguarded in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Organization relating to decolonization.

The draft resolution also provides for legislative and administrative measures against the companies involved in the plundering of these resources. (SPS)

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