Frente POLISARIO Urges World Leaders not to abet the occupation of Western Sahara

Bir Lehlu, 8 November 2016 (SPS) – As the UN climate change conference gets underway in Marrakech, the Frente POLISARIO calls on world leaders to ensure that the talks are not used as a tool to legitimize the illegal occupation of Western Sahara. Morocco has assumed the Presidency of this year’s UNFCCC climate conference, known as “COP22”. It has been afforded this privilege despite Morocco’s continued and profound contempt for international law as well as the United Nations and African Union on the issue of Western Sahara. This was underlined when on 7 November; Moroccan authorities denied Vice-President of the Pan-African Parliament, Suelma Beirouk, entry to the country. Ms Beirouk, a Saharawi, was set to attend COP22 as a representative of the Pan-African Parliament, but was held by Moroccan police at Casablanca airport. The Frente POLISARIO condemns this action by Morocco against the African continent.  


While Morocco is positioning itself as a global pioneer in the green energy sector, it is also busy granting new oil exploration contracts for multinational corporations to illegally drill in Western Sahara, all without the consent of the Saharawi people.


“The UN must not be complicit in the ‘greenwashing’ of Morocco’s blatant disregard for human rights and international law,” said Emhamed Khadad, the Frente POLISARIO’s MINURSO Coordinator. “The Saharawis have no interest in disrupting the urgent action needed to address climate change. After all, Saharawi refugees in Tindouf are some of the most vulnerable people in the world to the impacts of climate change. Last year severe floods devastated the refugee camps, destroying homes and displacing thousands. But countries, journalists, activists and members of civil society should use this opportunity to send the message that they do not condone Morocco’s illegal occupation,” added Mr. Khadad.



“As world leaders land in Marrakech for the UN climate change talks, they should not forget that just a few hundred miles away the people of Western Sahara are suffering under a brutal Moroccan occupation,” said Emhamed Khadad. “The Moroccan government touts its green development, but the people of Western Sahara have not been consulted about the projects taking place within our borders, nor will we be the beneficiaries. Meanwhile, Morocco continues to illegally exploit Western Sahara’s natural resources, including by granting new oil exploration licenses to foreign companies. Morocco must not be allowed to use the UN platform to further its agenda of entrenching the occupation of Western Sahara.”SPS