Time: 10th of March, 19.00 Place: Klubben, Samfundet
Speakers: - Indra de Soysa – professor in International Politics and International Political Economy, NTNU and former Senior Researcher at PRIO. - Erik Hagen – Journalist from Norwatch - Ronny Hansen - President of the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara
Western Sahara was a Spanish colony until the middle of the 1970’s. Before this the UN included Spanish Sahara (later Western Sahara) on the list over territories that should have self-determination. When Spain withdrew in 1975 both Morocco and Mauritania made claims on the country. This was rejected by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), yet Morocco and Mauritania invaded Western Sahara militarily and shared the territory between them. When Mauritania pulled out in 1979, Morocco occupied the rest. The liberation movement Front Polisario, which had fought the Spanish, Moroccan and Mauritaniasn invaders since 1973, declared Western Sahara independent.
War raged until 1991, when the parties agreed to a ceasefire and a referendum among the territory's original inhabitants. The referendum has still not taken place, and Morocco now refuses to cooperate with the United Nations in organizing it.
This meeting will shed light on: - The human rights and humanitarian consequences of the occupation of Western Sahara. - Why is the conflict over Western Sahara a “forgotten conflict”? Forgotten by whom? - International law and human rights vs. states’ self-interests; what role does the international community play? - In violation of international legality some foreign companies and states cooperate with the Moroccan occupiers in the extraction of natural resources from the occupied territory. What are possible consequences of this? - What is the role and position of the Norwegian government, what have they not done and what should they do?
Størstedelen av landet Vest-Sahara har vært okkupert av Marokko siden 1975. Siden da har flertallet av befolkningen bodd i flyktningleirer i Algerie. De som ble igjen i hjemlandet utsettes for alvorlige overgrep fra marokkanske okkupasjonsmyndigheter. I over 40 år har de ventet på at deres rett til selvbestemmelse skal innfris.