Western Sahara: strong demand for Norwegian intervention on anniversary of invasion
Fourteen Norwegian organizations, including all political youth parties, sent an open letter to the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre today demanding a stronger Norwegian commitment to the resolution of the conflict over Western Sahara.
Today, 6 November 2008 is the thirty-third anniversary of the Moroccan invasion of Western Sahara and the subsequent Moroccan displacement of more than half of the Sahrawi population. The United nations has condemned the occupation, but Norway has so far refrained from putting pressure on Morocco to ensure the respect for the Sahrawis' right to self- determination and independence.
- We believe it' s time that Norway demonstrates a much clearer support for the Sahrawi people's struggle against occupation and oppression, the letter reads.
The letter points to the current broad, cross-party consensus on the issue of Western Sahara in Norway and demands that the governing parties follow up on their own commitments, as stated through resolutions in their party organizations. The letter, containing 12 concrete demands to the Norwegian government, will be formally presented to the political leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a meeting on Monday 10. November.
- Morocco must be placed under far greater pressure. The occupying power deliberately plays for time in the hope that the refugee community will disintegrate, and that the Sahrawi people and their supporters will abandon their struggle, the organizations go on to say.
Representatives of all the fourteen organizations behind the letter travelled to Morocco and the occupied areas of Western Sahara in the course of 2008. All groups travelling there were placed under constant and intense police surveillance during their stay, and on several occasions their Sahrawi hosts were subjected to threats, arrest or intimidation by the Moroccan authorities. Some of these stories can be read in the pamphlet "Africa's last colony" [Norwegian only], published today: www.vest-sahara.no/files/dated/2008-11-06/vs-hefte_nov-2008.pdf
The organizations behind the letter and the pamphlet are: Norwegian Labour Youth, Counteract TV, Norwegian Progress Party Youth, Youth Committee of the Norwegian Trade Union of Industry and Energy, Norwegian Christian Democrat Youth, Norwegian Language Youth, National Union of Students in Norway, Red Youth Norway, Norwegian Center Youth, Norwegian Socialist Youth, Norwegian Students' and Academics' International Assistance Fund, Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara, Norwegian Young Conservatives, Young Liberals of Norway
The letter from the fourteen organizations to the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs be be read in its entirety at http://www.vest-sahara.no/index.php?parse_news=single&cat=49&art=1065
For further questions or comments, please contact:
Ronny Hansen Chairman, Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara Ph: + 47 94 25 02 70 firstname.lastname@example.org www.vest-sahara.no
Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.
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