It’s been one of those years when we have made some major progress in our campaign – not victory but small steps. And all thanks to your support.
At the beginning of the year we supported the first ever independent tour of the occupied territories of Western Sahara by British Members of Parliament. Jeremy Corbyn and Mark Williams went with John Hilary of War on Want and our very own John Gurr. The visit was really appreciated by the Saharawi living under a vicious occupation that has seen people die in police custody this year. They were not named in the news – indeed the international community stood by and let it happen. Few noticed but their names will be on the list of those who died for freedom of their people.
Countless more Saharawi (follow @wsaforum for details) were beaten on the streets, arrested for carrying their flag and tortured for refusing to accept the Moroccan occupation of their country.
We campaigned hard this year, with the welcome support of UNISON, to persuade the UN Security Council to fulfil its duty and extend the peacekeeping mandate of MINURSO to include human rights monitoring. They refused. It is sad that they cannot see that the continuing oppression and abuse of the Saharawi people will not be resolved until they express their inalienable right to self-determination. We got closer this time but will need to employ new tactics if we are to win.
And time is now precious – a multinational oil company is paying out millions to hire an oil rig to prospect for oil in Western Saharan waters. They do not pursue profits lightly and so we have decided to investigate taking the necessary legal steps to prevent the UK illegally trading in goods from an occupied country. Until the Saharawi are able to vote in a free and fair referendum of self-determination then no-one should make profit out of exploiting the territory’s natural resources. Phosphates, fish, tomatoes and now possibly oil – we must stop all trade in goods from the Western Sahara until its people are free.
We will continue our campaign in the UK until that day and your continued support is welcome. If you can join us as a member it would be particularly appreciated. I was also very sad when I heard that Judith Harrison was no longer with us. She will be missed greatly.
WESTERN SAHARA CAMPAIGN UK
The Western Sahara Campaign works in solidarity with the Saharawi people to generate political support in order to advance their right to self-determination and to promote their human rights.
Our role is to lobby the UK Government and the EU. You can help us to ensure the UK does not ignore the voice of the Saharawi people.
Follow the news about EU's illegal fisheries in Western Sahara