By Anna Bisignano
“Our Land, Our Resources: stop the Plundering of Natural Resources in Western Sahara”, this is the Manifesto published by the international campaign “Western Sahara is Not for Sale” (WSNS).
The occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco has lasted for 47 years – it began in 1975 – during which the fundamental rights of the Sahrawi people were destroyed through systematic abuses perpetrated against the people. On November 13 of 2020 there has been a return of armed battles in the region, after the violation by Morocco of the ceasefire signed in 1991 under the aegis of the United Nations.
Western Sahara is Not For Sale (WSNS) was born from the international conference “Sahara Rise” (named after Deida Uld Yazid, considered the father of the Saharawi resistance) on nonviolent civil resistance, held in February 2018 in the Wilaya of Smara, in Sahrawi Refugee camps. This conference was created out of the need to put an end to the operations of foreign companies and their illegal exploitation of the natural resources of occupied Western Sahara.
One of the main objectives of the campaign is to raise awareness and mobilize international civil society in order to increase pressure on the Moroccan State so that it can end the illegal occupation and exploitation of the territory and resources. The campaign was born as a popular initiative led by civil society organizations in different places: in the occupied territories, in the refugee camps and in the Diaspora, in order to help denounce the illegal practices of the Moroccan occupation and its violations of the fundamental human rights of the saharawi people.
It also aims to highlight the negative and negligent role played by some foreign companies involved in the illegal exploitation of the resources on the occupied territory. The campaign targets foreign companies involved in the violation of international law having entered into contracts and agreements with the Moroccan State, aimed at carrying out projects in the occupied Western Sahara, or participating in the transport and import of Sahrawi products.
To this day we continue to witness the perpetual violation of people’s human rights, which culminated in the creation of an apartheid wall that divides the country in two and continues to claim victims every day, violating all international laws.
The campaign has very specific objectives and demands. Here are the most significant:
- the immediate cessation of all types of foreign investment in the occupied Western Sahara and the withdrawal of businesses that contribute to the plundering of natural resources and the prolongation of the conflict;
- the destruction of the wall that divides Western Sahara in two;
- The action of states and organizations in order to exert pressure of various kinds on Morocco, including the embargo, to push it to end its occupation of Western Sahara, allowing the Sahrawi people a normal life in freedom and dignity and in respect of human rights;
and lastly, but not for importance:
The end of the illegal occupation of Western Sahara perpetuated by the State of Marocco.
Cover Image: website banner for WSNS