NGOs participating to the virtual World Social Forum 2021 call on UN and other bodies to protect Saharawi people

Lisbon (Portugal) 02 February 2021 (SPS)- Various NGOs addressed a letter to the UN Secretary General, Security Council, and other international bodies, Yesterday, calling for urgent protection of the Saharawi civilians in the occupied Western Sahara after the resumption of war between Morocco and the Saharawi Republic last 13 November 2020.
 
Initiated by the Women's Democratic Movement (Portugal), the letter was signed by a group of organisations that participated in a video conference entitled "Discussion Table on Western Sahara and the struggle for independence and freedom", within the framwrok of the World Social Forum 2021, held between the 23rd and 30 January.
 
Following is the full text of the letter as received by SPS:
 
APPEAL
To the Secretary-General of the United Nations
To the United Nations Security Council
To the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
To the Chairman of the Committee of the International Red Cross
To the Presidency of the African Union
To the Portuguese Government and Presidency of the Council of the European Union
 
In the light of the worsening situation experienced by the Saharawi people in the occupied territories of Sahara, Moroccan prisons and refugee camps, since the past day of the 13 November 2020 when Morocco decided to attack civilian Saharawi demonstrators in the buffer zone of El Guergarat, leading to the end of the 1991 ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario Front and the outbreak of a just war for independence and selfdetermination on the part of the Saharawi people, tired of waiting and being patient, in the face of repeated non-compliance of the United Nations, we, the organizations participating in the virtual WORLD SOCIAL FORUM, call on you, in the context of your responsibilities to the common good of humanity, to decide:
 
1 Take urgent and practical measures to protect the Saharawi population from the occupied territories that have been the victim of Morocco's military siege like never before. We refer to the invasions of houses, houses under siege, neighborhoods transformed into ghettos, beatings, torture, arbitrary arrests, sexual assaults, intentional medical neglect and the kidnapping of children, women, men, elderly and people with physical and cognitive disabilities.
 
2. Take on an urgent visit to the occupied territories by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the 4th Commission for the Decolonization of the United Nations and a delegation from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
 
3. Ensure an urgent ICRC visit to Saharawi political prisoners, Gdeim Izik's group, which has been arbitrarily detained for 10 years, victims of constant torture, prolonged confinement, and medical negligence.
 
4.Strengthening food aid to refugees in refugee camps in Tindouf severely affected by successive cuts in humanitarian aid and facing the challenges of the Covid 19 pandemic.
 
5.Take all practical and pragmatic measures to put an end to 46 years of illegal occupation of the territory that has enabled the Kingdom of Morocco with impunity and in flagrant violation of international law, the United Nations Resolutions and the 4th Geneva Convention: Eradicate a large part of the population, force hundreds of thousands of Saharawi into exile, introduce settlers and change demographics, lead the Saharawi population to forced impoverishment, plunder natural resources, construction a 2720km long military wall put millions of antipersonnel mines in that territory.
 
On behalf of the organizations promoting the Discussion Table on Western Sahara and the struggle for independence and freedom. The struggle of women and the Saharawi people for independence. The war against the occupant and solidarity, we reiterate our call and our conviction that peace in that territory is possible, urgent, and necessary.
 
And, we reiterate that the solution is in your hands.
 
Regina Marques -
Women's Democratic Movement (Portugal) and The International Democratic Federation of Women (FDIM)
 
and endorsed by:
Maria Liège Rocha, Federação Democrática Internacional de Mulheres (FDIM)
Maria José Maninha Presidente da Associação de Solidariedade à luta pela autodeterminação do Povo Saharaui (AASAUHARI Brasília)
 Jamil Murad - Presidente do Cebrapaz,
 Maria do Socorro Gomes membro da Cebrapaz,
 Isabel Lourenço, investigadora Centro de Estudos Africanos da Universidade do Porto
 União Brasileira de Mulheres (UBM)
 Associacion Mexicana de Amistad con la Republica Arabe Saharaui (AMARAS)
 Asociacion Chilena de Amistad con La RASD.
 Asociacion Ecuatoriana de Amistad con el Pueblo Saharaui ( AEPS),
 Centro de Documentación de derechos humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo-SJ (CSMM)
 Asociación Panameña Solidaria con la Causa Saharaui (APASOCASA)
Lisbon, 1 february 2021. (SPS)
090/500/60 (SPS)