The Sahara tragedy

Núria Buenaventura's picture
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Last Tuesday, newspapers edited in the Spanish State put the same issue on their front-pages: the massacre at the Agdaym Izik Saharawi camp, called the dignity camp. The significant importance that Spanish media gave to the issue goes together with the significant silence of international media. Significant and indicative. The Sahara conflict is our conflict; we have an unavoidable responsibility.

The Moroccan army’s savage intervention, which firstly emptied the camp at Al Aaioun’s suburbs and, secondly, went to the streets of Western Sahara’s capital, cannot be silenced or downplayed. We cannot shield behind the Moroccan government’s information blockage, which is trying to hide committed horrors to justify passivity before the facts. This is what the Spanish Government has done, affirming that it lacks information to position itself regarding the issue. It has limited issuing a claim to ask Sahara’s population to remain calm. 

35 years have passed since the Green March, with which Morocco occupied the Sahara; more than 3 decades since the signature of the 3-party agreements between Spain, Morocco and Mauritania. In these agreements, the Spanish State washed its hands and betrayed the Saharawi people, not fulfilling the promise of self-determination and abandoning it. It is true that nowadays the conflict is no longer between Spain and Morocco, but the entire international community. Consequently, the UN and the Security Council must be those to act. However, this cannot be the only way of pressuring; pressure is a tool that the Spanish Government cannot give up using within the bilateral framework with Morocco. It has to put pressure because Morocco has consciously blown up New York negotiations, showing that, in any case, it does not wish to recognise the legitimate right to self-determination, nor any project for autonomy.

Unfortunately, mortgages in the form of trade and fishing agreements with Morocco are weighting in too much, mortgages that stop the Spanish Government from being upfront and defending human rights before the flagrant and constant Rabat government’s violations of illegal occupation of territories, torture, marginalisation, blockage, expulsions and illegal exploitation of their resources. This is the Moroccan government’s policy regarding the Western Sahara. Spain’s passivity before this conflict has been shameful, outraging and unfair. During all this time, the democratic governments have been given their backs to the Saharawi people, even after false promises.

Therefore, what is happening requires a social response; we must say “enough” to hypocrisy, to Spanish foreign policy’s double morality. Simple declarations must stop; attacks must be condemned and the systematic human rights’ violation in occupied Western Sahara territories by the Kingdom of Morocco must be denounced. In this conflict, we cannot be equidistant; there are victims and aggressors. It is the moment to formally recognise the Democratic Arab Republic of Sahara and push for its international recognition, by pressuring the European Union to stop fishing agreements with Morocco and to stop being part of the illegal exploitation of its resources. Not doing so will represent continuing being an accomplice of Morocco and its extermination policy.

 

Núria Buenaventura

Member of the Spanish Parliament for ICV- EUiA

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