10 December 2020, Harare: La Via Campesina – the international peasant movement that fights for the full realization of peasants’ rights and the Food Sovereignty of the peoples – raises its firm and solidarious voice in favor of the self-determination of the Saharawi people.
The Peasant Movement calls for the fulfillment of Resolution 690 of the United Nations (UN) that foresaw the realization of a referendum in which the people of Western Sahara would decide on their own sovereignty 29 years ago (1991).
After Spain maintained a colonial regime in Western Sahara for much of the 20th century, the Saharan territory was illegally handed over to Morocco and Mauritania in violation of international law. This fact was the cause of a prolonged war between 1975 and 1991 that ceased, formally, when the parties involved committed themselves to the realization of the referendum on the independence of the territory, accompanied by the United Nations. Almost thirty years later, the Saharawi people are still waiting for their opportunity to express themselves at the ballot box. The year 2020 has already presented several challenges for humanity, and now La Via Campesina views with great concern the recent violation of the ceasefire by the Moroccan security forces and the possibility of a renewed armed conflict in the occupied territories.
Consistent with our historical struggles, La Via Campesina also denounces the exploitation by Morocco and its transnational partners (TNCs) – illegally and unitarily – of the common goods of Western Sahara. Both at the border crossing of El Guerguerat and on the extensive Atlantic coast of Western Sahara, extractors trade in the common goods that belong to the Saharawi people (fisheries, phosphate, etc.). Furthermore, we denounce the hypocrisy of the countries that import such resources that have the double moral standard to recognize the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people while facilitating its destruction.
The referendum for the self-determination of the Saharawi people is an urgent debt that the UN has with all the peoples of the world.
In these almost three decades the Saharawi people have demonstrated their commitment to peace with justice, the UN and their obligations. They have also shown the world their willingness to engage in peace dialogues, based on the rights of the world’s peoples to self-determination and independence. In the face of the outrages and illegal occupations of their territories, the Saharawi people have always bet on a political and peaceful solution within the framework of international law.
La Via Campesina joins the peoples of the world in demanding respect for the right of self-determination of the Saharawi people, the immediate cessation of hostilities in the occupied territories, and the holding of the referendum now!