"Young liberals from all over the world have now joined the demand that Morocco must follow its international human rights obligations, accept full freedom of speech and press, and accept a referendum on Western Sahara's future status", said leader of Liberal Youth of Norway, Sveinung Rotevatn.
The resolution followed Morocco's brutal intervention against demonstrators earlier this month, and was voted with an overwhelming majority.
More than 100 liberals from 5 continents were present at the assembly.
The resolution reads as follows: Stop the killing and violence in Western Sahara
- The recent Moroccan clamp-down on peaceful Sahrawi protesters in a 20,000-strong tent-camp outside the Western Saharan capital of Laayoune, killing several pro-independence demonstrators - The Moroccan expulsion of both national and international media from Western Sahara and the general suppression of criticism of Morocco's position on Western Sahara.
- The territory of Western Sahara has been under occupation by Morocco since 1975. - The United Nations General Assembly already in 1960 declared that the people of Western Sahara have the right to self-determination. - The International Court of Justice in 1975 ruled against Morocco’s territorial claim on Western Sahara. - Western Sahara is on the UN list of Non-Self Governing Territories and is considered Africa’s last colony. - Under the terms of the UN’s cease-fire settlement plan in 1991, Western Sahara should decide its own future status in a referendum.
- Attempts to hold a referendum on the future status of Western Sahara have repeatedly failed. - Human rights agencies and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have reported torture and other grave and systematic violations of human rights in the occupied territories. - The people living in the occupied territories are subject to severe restrictions on their freedom of speech, assembly and movement. - Human rights activists and pro-independence journalists and editors have been put behind bars. - The Baker Peace Plan – calling for the establishment of a Western Sahara Authority, which would be followed after five years by a referendum – has been blocked by France in the UN Security Council. - France has also blocked the proposal to give the UN peace-keeping mission in Western Sahara, MINURSO, a human rights mandate.
IFLRY – The International Federation of Liberal Youth calls upon
- Morocco to abide by their obligations under the UN's settlement plan and to origanise a UN-led referendum on the future status of Western Sahara. - Morocco to respect the human rights of all Sahrawis and to release all prisoners of conscience. - Morocco to allow free press and freedom of speech. - All UN Security Council members to give MINURSO a human rights mandate.
The General Assembly also voted an additional point that human rights violations in the refugee camps must be addressed.
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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