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Freedom and democracy in the Arab world

The Norwegian Support Committee of Western Sahara supports the struggle for democracy across the Arab world. Dictators and security forces have for too long dominated the region and suppressed the peoples’ call for freedom.
Published: 31.03 - 2011 13:36Printer version    
From Western Sahara to Syria and Iran peaceful demonstrators have been met with violence and oppression. This is unacceptable and a brutal breach of fundamental human rights.

The protests started outside El Aaiún, the capital of Western Sahara, in late October 2010. In a protest camp set up in the occupied territory, around 20 000 Saharawi demonstrated against the marginalisation and discrimination they encounter in their own country. On 8 November 2010 the Moroccan security forces attacked the camp with brutal force. This resulted in large street battles all over occupied Western Sahara where a large proportion of the Saharawi population participated. Several people were killed.

The protests in Western Sahara are still ongoing, as in most of the Arab world. The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara expresses its solidarity with all people who seek freedom and democracy in a peaceful way. We support the Moroccan 20 February movement’s demands for democratic reforms. The people of both Morocco and Western Sahara are ruled by an undemocratic regime. We call on the Moroccan government to not attack protesters and start sweeping democratic reforms.

The dictators that attack their own people in Libya, Yemen and Syria, are not leaders of their people, but despots that holds them down.

We call on leaders in all Arab nations and Iran to call free elections, start democratic reforms and respect human rights.

This resolution was adopted by the annual assembly of The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara on 26 March.




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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