UN Special Committee on Decolonization reaffirms Sahrawi people's right to self-determination

Washington, June 17, 2016 (SPS) - United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, Committee of 24, has reaffirmed Sahrawi people's right to self-determination, and expressed concern over the standstill in the UN-sponsored peace process in Western Sahara, Africa's last colony.

During the ordinary session of the Committee in New York, Algeria's representative to the UN Sabri Boukadoum said that the Western Sahara conflict "is a decolonization issue that could only be resolved by granting the Sahrawi people their inalienable right to self-determination."

Boukadoum called on the UN to assume its responsibility, adding that dozens of UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions reaffirm their right to self-determination.

Security Council's resolutions should be "well read and well heard," he insisted.

Algeria's representative focused on the situation of human rights in the occupied Sahrawi territories and the illegal exploitation of Western Sahara's natural resources by Morocco.

The Sahrawi people's patience should not be abused, he warned, adding that there were no other alternative to giving the Sahrawi people the free choice to decide their future.

Like several representatives attending the meeting, Boukadoum invited the Committee to visit the region and "make their own opinion."

Other representatives asked the Committee to hold an extraordinary session on Western Sahara conflict.

Cuba's representative recalled that the Committee has been discussing the question of Western Sahara for 53 years, deploring that there had been no progress towards an effective solution, despite the constant efforts.

He added that the situation of Sahrawi people had become unbearable, underlining the urgent need to allowing them exercise their right to self-determination.

He also urged the Security Council to assume its responsibility and resolve the conflict by providing the UN Mission for Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) with all necessary means to carry out its work.

For his part, the representative of Venezuela expressed concern about the situation in Western Sahara, which "is still Africa's last colony," while nearly 40 UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions have recognized the right of Sahrawi people to self-determination over more than 25 years.

The Venezuelan representative also denounced the "unjust occupation" by Morocco. (SPS)