Brussels, 2022: My name is Oubi Bouchraya. I am writing to you in my capacity as the representative of the Frente POLISARIO to the European Union and Europe, the national liberation movement of the Sahrawi people.
Since Spain withdrew from Western Sahara in 1975, our people have been living in limbo. The process of decolonisation remains incomplete, while the Kingdom of Morocco denies us our sovereignty. Through the Frente POLISARIO, we have been engaged in a struggle for our independence for nearly half a century.
International institutions, promising to safeguard our right to liberation, have failed us. Although the United Nations recognised, in Resolution 1514, the right of the Sahrawi people — among the worlds colonised peoples — to seek out self-determination and independence, we have yet to find broad recognition for our struggle. Although the International Court of Justice condemned, in 1975, Mauritania and Morocco's claims to our land, we continue to suffer under Moroccan occupation today. Although the United Nations promised, in 1991, a referendum on our statehood, that referendum has not yet come to pass.
Now, we have entered a dangerous new phase in our struggle. On 13th November 2020, Moroccan forces attacked Sahrawi civilians in the Guerguerat gap, a border crossing to the south of Western Sahara — violating the long- standing ceasefire between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi people. A month later, United States President Donald Trump backed Morocco's claims to our land in exchange for Morocco "normalising" relations with Israel. This constituted a flagrant violation of the UN Charter as well as the founding principles of the African Union, significantly hindering efforts to find a peaceful resolution.
Near the end of 2021, we entered the first anniversary of the resumption of war between our liberation army and the occupying forces. In that year, Morocco committed war crimes against our people — targeting civilians and disappearing members of the Frente POLISARIO. Nearly half a century after the Spanish abandoned Western Sahara to Moroccan occupation, our people have once again been forced to take up arms in the struggle for self- defense and liberation.
Much of the world remains silent on the atrocities being committed against us as I write these words. At a time that calls for strengthened international solidarity with our struggle, the world's media is mum, even as the war threatens to spread beyond our borders.
We have taken note of the Progressive International's defense of struggles for popular sovereignty in places like Brazil, Turkey, Bolivia, and Cuba. Now, on behalf of the Frente POLISARIO, I invite you to visit the refugee camps in Algeria where many of our people live, and the areas of Western Sahara under the control of our movement. We hope your visit can bring the eyes of the world to bear on our people's enduring struggle for liberation.
Oubi Bouchraya Bachir, Representative of the Frente POLISARIO to the European Union and Europe
Photo: EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid / Flickr
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