STATEMENT: No to war, yes to the referendum

More than 100 Saharawi civilians gathered and set up haymas (tents) in the demilitarized zone of Guerguerat last October 20th. An action of nonviolent civil resistance to demand the release of the Saharawi political prisoners in Moroccan jails, the celebration of the Referendum by MINURSO and denounce the illegal breach that Morocco opened in the wall of separation acting deliberately against the military agreement number one of the ceasefire signed in 1991 by Polisario and Morocco under the auspices of the United Nations, the protest lasted for 23 days.

As a response to this civil and nonviolent action, last November 13th, a unity of Moroccan army opened 3 new breaches in the Wall east of guerguerat breach in order to disperse the protesters, this action was a new violation of the ceasefire. Hence, the Polisario front – Saharawi national liberation movement- responded attacking Moroccan military posts along the wall that divides Western Sahara.

Saharawi population in different cities of Western Sahara were mobilized to denounce the Moroccan aggression against the protesters in guerguerat and demand a Free Western Sahara. Morocco responded increasing military and Police forces, repressing all mobilizations in different Saharawi occupied cities causing incidents and violating fundamental human rights: harassments and abuses against Saharawi journalists, persecution of activists and blocking of their homes. Irregular detentions, keeping activists in isolation, and using excessive force to disperse protesters.

Given this situation, from NOVACT:

  • WE DENOUNCE the Moroccan aggression against nonviolent protesters in Guerguerat zone and the violation of the 1991 ceasefire agreement.

  • WE REQUIRE assuming responsibilities towards the human rights violations that Moroccan military forces are conducting these days against Saharawi civilians in the occupied territories as well as the police surveillance that Morocco is imposing on Saharawi activists. In some cases preventing activists from travelling out of the territory as it happened with the human right defender Aminatu Haidar who was not allowed to fly from occupied el Aiun to the Canary Islands last November 18th but also based on arbitrary detentions the entry to the territory as occurred with the activist Sultana Khaya who was not allowed to enter Buydur when she came back from Spain.

  • WE DEMAND un urgent response from the international community to this very serious situation in Western Sahara and to the possible consequences of the resumption of an armed conflict in the region. The United Nations must assume it’s role in this conflict by ensuring the organization of the already agreed self-determination referendum to the Saharawi people as soon as possible in line with its resolutions.

  • WE APPEAL the responsibility of Spain (who is still the administrative power of Western Sahara) and we call for its intervention so that international law is applied and the self-determination Referendum is assured for the Saharawi people.

  • From our side, we will continue working together with our Saharawi partners to denounce the human rights violations and the illegal plunder of natural resources in Western Sahara. We will also continue supporting Saharawi organizations and activists who are committed to civil and nonviolent strategies of struggle and defense as a tool for social transformation of the conflict. We keep joining all statements and actions at the national and international level that show solidarity with Western Sahara to ensure a ceasefire as a step towards a just peace, without repression and occupation.

    We clearly reiterate “No to war, yes to the Referendum”.

    Featured photo: ECS