Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Saharawis: Where is the international community?

The Spanish Government may have forgotten its obligations when it literally walked out of its African colony, Western Sahara, in 1975, allowing the Moroccan Green March to walk in and annex the territory and its people. The Spanish people have not forgotten their responsibility and demonstrate in favour of their Saharawi brothers and sisters.

Thursday February 21, 18.00, in front of Spain's Foreign Relations Ministry in Plaza de la Provincia, a massive demonstration is called by activists fighting for the human rights of the Sahawari population, whose members can be given life imprisonment or jail terms of 20 to 30 years in horrific conditions for defending their right to freedom and self-determination. Where is the international community on this issue?

A Moroccan military tribunal sentences 24 Saharawi freedom fighters and human rights activists to 8 life sentences and other sentences between 2 and 30 years in jail in November 2010 after Moroccan security forces stormed the camp of El Aaiún in Western Sahara, whose status under international law is a territory pending a referendum on integration into Morocco, autonomy or independence, denied by the occupying power, Morocco.


The Moroccan armed forces invaded Western Sahara in 1975 (the Green March), annexing it after the Spanish walked out of their last colony in northern Africa and promptly sent thousands of Moroccan citizens southwards to repopulate the territory, altering the ethnic and nationality balance.

In 1991 the UNO brokered a peace agreement between the Moroccan armed forces and the Polisario Liberation Front, under which the UNO and Morocco promised to organise a referendum on self-determination. Morocco has since blocked and stalled at every turn, defying international law. Meanwhile around 200,000 Saharawi refugees brave the stark conditions of the Algerian desert in Tindouf, across the border.


Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey



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