Labour Party Conference gives unanimous support for Western Sahara

London, September 25, 2019 (SPS) –Thousands of Labour Party members erupted into spontaneous applause and cheering for an independent Western Sahara at Labour Party Conference today.

Addressing the Conference, Jdeiya Mohammed Salem spoke of the brutal Moroccan occupation of her country Western Sahara.  She also demanded the UK government use its role on the UN Security Council to set a date for a referendum on the independence of the territory, which is also Africa's last colony.

Speaking on the main platform, Jdeiya Mohammed Salem said:

“People are raped torture and murdered as part of Morocco’s occupation of my homeland. We need your solidarity to protect human rights and to set a date for a referendum in Western Sahara.”

Despite widespread human rights violations against the Saharawi the UN Security Council including the UK, have refused to give the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara a mandate to monitor human rights leaving it the only modern peacekeeping mission (established since 1978) without a human rights mandate.

Mohammed Salem was born into exile one of 165,000 refugees who have lived in camps in the Algerian desert for over 40 years.  Many thousands of others live under a brutal Moroccan occupation in Western Sahara where hundreds of thousands of illegal Moroccan settlers and soldiers are stealing phosphates, fish and even the homes of Western Saharans. 

Natalie Sharples of the Western Sahara Campaign said:

"Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara has remained a secret for too long.  People do not realise that they are eating stolen fish from Western Sahara, that their food is grown with stolen phosphates, and that Morocco is a war-zone not a holiday destination.  The UK government must stand up for human rights and help the people of Western Sahara and stop helping Morocco steal their resources."

Jeremy Corbyn visited Moroccan occupied Western Sahara as part of the first UK parliamentary delegation in 2014, organised by the Western Sahara Campaign where he witnessed first-hand the brutal police repression of protests.  

In 1975, the International Court of Justice declared that the people of Western Sahara have the right to a referendum to decide whether the country should be independent but then Morocco invaded. 

Last year, the UK and EU were found to have acted illegally by signing a trade deal with Morocco that included Western Sahara.  In the case which was brought by the Western Sahara Campaign, the Court recognised Western Sahara to be occupied.