At COP22 in Marrakesh, the international community must not allow Morocco to sweep the injustices of Western Sahara under the rug (Catherine Constantinides)

South Africa, November 16, 2016 (SPS) – the international climate activist and humanitarian, Ms. Catherine Constantinides called in her article entitled: In the Quest for Climate Justice, Who's Left Out? The international community must not allow Morocco to sweep the injustices of Western Sahara under the rug.

Catherine Constantinides called responsible countries, journalists and members of civil society to use this opportunity to send the message that it does not condone Morocco's behaviour , pointing out that  only in the face of strong international pressure Morocco will begin acting as a responsible international partner with the UN. for a start by agreeing to return to direct negotiations with the Frente Polisario, the internationally recognized representative of the Saharawi people, towards holding a referendum as soon as possible

When we talk about climate justice, she went on saying in her articles, don't forget about the people of Western Sahara right next door, one of the most vulnerable people in the world to climate change. Increasingly common extreme weather events amplify the hardship posed by already inhospitable conditions. Last year, severe floods devastated the adobe structures of the refugee camps, destroying homes and displacing some 25,000 people.

Meanwhile Morocco is fast positioning itself as a global green energy pioneer. This is an important and admirable goal, but the fact that Morocco is actively granting new oil exploration contracts for foreign corporations to illegally drill on- and off-shore in Western Sahara throws its true intentions into question. She adds

Catherine Constantinides stressed that it is imperative that everyone involved in international climate politics understands that no country is less deserving of the honour and responsibility of guiding these crucial talks than Morocco: a country that has unilaterally expelled UN peacekeeping staff and repeatedly refused to abide by UN Security Council resolutions.

 

Recalling that Since 1991, Saharawi refugees in Saharan Algeria have been waiting, in some of the most inhospitable conditions imaginable, for the referendum to be held. They have foresworn armed struggle and placed their trust in the UN, and in international law, to resolve the issue. In response, Morocco has repeatedly prevented the referendum from being held, flooded the Western Sahara with Moroccan settlers, and engaged in widely documented human rights abuses against indigenous Saharawi in the occupied territory.SPS

 

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