Pawo-Saro demands peace and stability in Western Sahara

Windhoek, 31 JUL (SPS) – Human rights violation committed against the Saharawi people, illegal and shameful exploitation of natural resources by members of the European Union (EU) and Morocco's unlawful occupancy over Western Sahara must come to an immediate end.

On Friday, the Pan-African Women’s Organisation Southern African Regional Office (Pawo-Saro) led a demonstration of about 50 people to the offices of the United Nations (UN) here to hand over a petition to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Speaking during the handover, Pawo-Saro Regional Executive Secretary Mildred Nontobeko Jantjies strongly demanded an end to the insurgence of Morocco over Western Sahara.

“We demand an immediate stop to the continued human rights violations in Western Sahara by Morocco and the immediate release of all Saharawi political detainees, in particular the group of Gdeim Izik, said Jantjies.

She also fumed at the ‘glaring flouting’ of the International Court of Justice’s decision and numerous Organisation of the African Union (OAU), now African Union (AU), resolutions.

She demanded a referendum be held by February next year for the people of Western Sahara to determine their own destiny in a ballot specified by a number of OAU/AU resolutions and the UN Security Council Resolution 690 of 1991.

Resolution 690 0f 1991 amongst others resolved that a referendum of self-determination be held no later than February 1992.

According to Jantjies, the world and some UN Security Council members chose to ignore the ‘desperate pleas of the colonised and oppressed Saharawi people.

Jantjies said Western Sahara is home to barely 500 000 people, many of whom live in despicable poverty as unabated brutal fighting at the hands of Morocco's' supremacy displaced tens of thousands of people, with some feared dead or wrongfully imprisoned for more than 35 years.

“Morocco and its allies should immediately stop plundering the Western Sahara’s natural resources. Members of the EU who are currently benefiting from Morocco’s illegal exploits should cut off these shameful ties, she fumed.

She also called for support towards Resolution 2218 of 2005 of the UN Security Council by the AU and its member states, the European Union (EU) and the United States (U.S) of America.

Jantjies also commended the UN SG for the bravery of giving an undiluted report on his findings upon a visit to Western Sahara recently.

She said cooperation amongst member states of the EU and AU will ensure enhanced resolution to contribute to the stability and security in the Sahel region.

Jantjies further demanded that efforts should be improved to keep all peacekeeping operations, including the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara.

“The council must pursue a rigorous and strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments and effective management of resources in Western Sahara, she urged.

UN Country Representative Kiki Gbeho received the petition on behalf of the UN SG and vowed to transmit it.

I take note of your call for a political and peaceful solution to this challenge, and I promise to transmit this to the SG of the UN, said Gbeho. (SPS)

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