The Portuguese Council for Peace and Cooperation (CPPC) was represented at the X Congress of the Youth Union of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (UJSARIO), which took place from the May 20 to 23, in the refugee camps in Bojour, Tindouf , in Argelia.
During an emotional stay, Sofia Costa, a member of the CPPC National Board, contacted aspects of the reality of the Sahrawi people, who, living under harsh conditions, maintain a friendly welcome to those who visit their camps and a cheerful eagerness to be able to share their history and their struggle. History and struggle that are an example of determination and resistance by a people that has yet to see the fulfilment of the right to self-determination and decolonisation of their territory.
Sofia Costa had the opportunity to reaffirm solidarity with the UJSARIO, the Saharawi youth and people, as well as with the Polisario Front, its legitimate representative, who, for more than 40 years, have been facing the illegal occupation of the territories of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco.
During her stay and as part of the programme dedicated to the international delegations, the CPPC representative had the opportunity to contact several institutions, including the Saharawi National Committee for Human Rights (CONASADH), which works with the UN and aims to help the families of the disappeared and the Sahrawi political prisoners held in Moroccan prisons.
She contacted the Saharawi Mine Action Coordination Office (SMACO), an office that also works with the UN and which tries to dismantle anti-personnel mines, existing by the thousands and placed by Morocco. Weapons that are banned internationally since 1991, but that injure dozens of civilians every year.
She visited a newly built hospital, with support from the UN and the EU, but which is dealing with huge needs, such as the lack of medicines, equipment for tests and specialists. In this hospital, the CPPC representative had the opportunity to deliver some medicines, as well as material to fight Covid.
Sofia Costa met with a delegation of Sahrawi women, visited the National Museum of Resistance, as well as the BuBisher Library aimed at Sahrawi children.
She had a meeting with Rabab Adid Albujari, who explained the current reality and the difficulties faced by the Sahrawi people, as well as the organisation existing in the refugee camps to respond to them, where women play a fundamental role. At this meeting, it was reported that humanitarian aid has decreased during the pandemic and that it has not yet returned to the level of 2019, with significant consequences in terms of water and food.
The international delegations had an audience with Brahim Gali, leader of the Polisario Front, where the CPPC representative had the opportunity to reaffirm its solidarity with the struggle of the Sahrawi people, informing on the work it carries out in Portugal.
Speech by CPPC at the X Congress of UJSARIO:
On behalf of the Portuguese Council for Peace and Cooperation, I would like to greet all those present and convey our thanks for the invitation to participate in the X Congress of the UJSARIO, under the motto “Saharawi Youth, a mobilised and conscious force to win the national battle” – UJSARIO to whom we extend a special greeting of solidarity.
On this occasion, we would also like to salute the Polisario Front, the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people, for its 49 years of persistent resistance and struggle against colonialism and for the inalienable right of its people to self-determination.
The Sahrawi people continue to face a violent onslaught against their rights, namely against their inalienable right to self-determination.
Recently, the Spanish Government, through its Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, supported the Kingdom of Morocco’s intention to extend the illegal occupation of territories of Western Sahara, through a so-called ’statute of autonomy‘.
The change in position by the Spanish Government is contrary to international law and disregards the resolutions adopted within the framework of the United Nations. These resolutions establish the respect and fulfilment of the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination.
The CPPC would like to recall that the Kingdom of Morocco oppresses the Sahrawi people in the occupied territories and continues to plunder the natural resources of Western Sahara.
The territory of Western Sahara is the only territory in Africa pending decolonisation and, therefore, considered by the UN a Non-Autonomous Territory.
As a colonial administering power, Spain cannot ignore its responsibility for fulfilling the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination, much less adopt a stance that seeks to legitimise the colonisation of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco.
The CPPC stresses that the Portuguese Government is constitutionally obliged to take a clear position condemning the illegal occupation of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco and demand compliance with UN resolutions on Western Sahara.
The deepening of the crisis, with its contradictions and repercussions at the world level, is at the origin of the violent and imperialist response, particularly by the US, NATO and the EU, which aim only to dominate the resources and economies of other countries and peoples, calling into question Peace, the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and international law.
Imperialism seeks to instrumentalise or even replace the United Nations, tramples on the principles of the right of peoples to self-determination, respect for the sovereignty and independence of States, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, the peaceful resolution of conflicts, demilitarisation of international relations, repudiation of war.
Witness how, in exchange for exploiting the resources of Western Sahara, the colonisation and repression exercised against the Sahrawi people and their rights are cynically silenced.
The Portuguese Council for Peace and Cooperation is in solidarity with the national cause of the Sahrawi people and, in Portugal, has promoted several solidarity actions, demanding:
– The end of the colonialist occupation of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco;
– Respect for the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people, their legitimate aspiration to a free, independent and sovereign State;
– The end of the brutal repression by the Kingdom of Morocco and the protection of human rights, including the civic and political rights of the Sahrawis in the illegally occupied territories;
– The release of Sahrawi political prisoners held in Moroccan prisons;
– The Portuguese Government’s recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and the adoption of an interventionist position, acting in coherence with respect for the right of peoples to self-determination, as enshrined in article 7 of the Constitution of Portuguese Republic.
Likewise, the World Peace Council, of which the CPPC is a member, condemns the illegitimate occupation of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco and stands in solidarity with the Sahrawi people and their just struggle.
We are committed to strengthening and expanding the struggle for Peace, sovereignty and the rights of peoples, in solidarity with all peoples who fight against colonialism, aggression, blockades, sanctions, interference.
We are here to contribute to strengthening solidarity with the just national cause of the Sahrawi people in Portugal and in the world.
Source: World Peace Council