IYFSWS Final Declaration calls on UN to organize a referendum in Western Sahara and on AU and other parties to assume responsibility in decolonising it

Malaga (Spain) 29 November 2021 (SPS)- The International Youth Forum of Solidarity with Western Sahara (IYFSWS) adopted a Final Declaration yesterday calling on the UN to organise a self-determination referendum in Western Sahara, while urging the AU, EU and other international actors to assume their responsibility in implanting international legality and decolonising the last colony in Africa.


Held this past Friday to Sunday 26-28 November, the Second Edition of the IYFSWS was held in Malaga, Spain, with the participation of 162 participants from 53 nationalities, representing 90 youth organisations and 10 international organisations.

Following is the full text of the Final Declaration:



2nd Edition 

International Youth Forum of Solidarity with Western Sahara

Malaga, Spain

 26 – 28 November 2021

We, the delegates at the 2nd Edition of the International Youth Forum of Solidarity with Western Sahara held from 26 to 28 November 2021 in Malaga, Spain, adopt the following Declaration:  

Believing in the principles and values of international solidarity and the moral obligation to ensure that all peoples are free from all forms of colonialism and oppression;

Recognising the Sahrawi people’s plight and struggle against colonialism and occupation for many decades now, and their unwavering resolve to liberating their country;

Recalling the hundreds of resolutions by the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU) and Non-Aligned Movement on finalising the decolonisation of Western Sahara as the last colony in Africa; 

Further recalling the inalienable and non-negotiable right to self-determination for the people of Western Sahara in accordance with international law;

Reaffirming that the people of Western Sahara are entitled to sovereignty over their cultural practices and access and use of their land and its resources;

Noting with deep concern that the people of Western Sahara have just marked forty-six (46) years of Spain’s abandonment of the territory and Morocco’s brutal military occupation;

Strongly condemning the systematic and serious violations of human rights committed by the Moroccan authorities against Sahrawi civilians in the occupied territories of Western Sahara;

Regretting the resumption of war in Western Sahara between the Kingdom of Morocco and Frente POLISARIO, which was caused by the Moroccan breach of the ceasefire agreement on 13 November 2020;

Noting with regret the continued presence of international companies in the occupied territories of Western Sahara entering in trade agreements with Morocco, in contradiction with international law, and in violation of the European Court of Justice relevant rullings on the matter;

Underlining the urgent need for renewed and strengthened international efforts to expedite the completion of the long due decolonisation process in Western Sahara; 

We, hereby: 

  • EXPRESS unconditional support and solidarity to the legitimate struggle of the Sahrawi people for freedom, decolonisation and independence;
  • STRESS our role and responsibility in sharing the stories and voices of the people of Western Sahara in our respectiv organisations, countries and communities through campaigns, actions and mass media;
  • REAFFIRM our commitment to defending the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination and to denounce the violations committed against them by the state of occupation, Morocco, condemn, in the strongest terms, the human rights violations, the intimidations, harassments and torture of Sahrawis in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, especially the sexual assaults and rape of women; 
  • APPEAL to the Government of Spain to meet its legal and moral obligations towards the decolonisation of Western Sahara, and stop its political, diplomatic and economic complicity with Morocco;
  • CALL UPON the UN General Assembly, in collaboration with the AU, to immediately set a definite date for the holding of the referendum on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara;
  • FURTHER CALL UPON the UN to protect the integrity of Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory and Africa’s last colony from any actions that may undermine it;
  • REQUEST the AU to reclaim its historic responsibly and take active steps in the settlement process of the conflict as a guarantor of the OAU-UN Settlement Plan;
  • EXPRESS DISAPPOINTMENT with the European Union for not complying with the rulings of the European Court of Justice, and denounce the EU Council attempts to overturn them; 
  • URGE the AU and the UN to put in place a permanent and independent mechanisms that ensures respect of international human rights law in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, and ensure the monitoring and reporting of the situation;
  • REQUEST all international companies and countries engaged in the illegal exploitation of resources in Western Sahara, especially those engaged in the renewable energy sector, to immediately halt all such activities as they represent a despicable violation of international law and relevant UN, AU and EU resolutions, and an attempt by Morocco to “greenwash” its colonisation and occupation of Western Sahara in contravention with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change;
  • CALL ON the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to fulfil its responsibilities in the protection of Sahrawi civilians in both occupied territories and the liberated areas in accordance with the relevant provisions of the four Geneva Conventions. Also call on the ICRC to visit Sahrawi political prisoners to assess their situation, which is alarming due to the systematic exercise by Morocco of torture, ill-treatments and degrading conditions of imprisonment;
  • FURTHER CALL ON all sister organisations, mainly the signatories of this Declaration, to undertake individual and collective initiatives to pressure their respective governments, Parliaments and Medias to support the Sahrawi people’s legitimate struggle for freedom and independence." (SPS)

090/500/60 (SPS)