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UN must set date for self-determination referendum in occupied Western Sahara

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Geneva, 12 September 2020 (SPS) - The Polisario Front declared on Thursday in Geneva that the referendum on self-determination in occupied Western Sahara was urgently needed, calling on the UN General Assembly to set a date for the holding of this vote, which has so far been adjourned.
"Any delay in the implementation of the settlement plan, UN/OUA to allow the Sahrawi people to exercise its inalienable right to self-determination and independence will only complicate the situation on the ground and risk destabilizing the region," the Polisario Front warned in a Memorandum signed by its representative in Switzerland, Omaima Abdesalam.
"It is therefore imperative that the UN General Assembly sets a date for the holding of the self-determination referendum in accordance with the United Nations Charter on decolonization", insisted the Sahrawi diplomat.
Since its invasion of Western Sahara in 1975, Morocco has acted in defiance of the Charter of the United Nations, the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the fundamental principles of international law, as well as the opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which had ruled the same year that Rabat had no sovereign over the territory of Western Sahara, recalled the Sahrawi Representation.
Therefore, the United Nations and its members are called upon to take the necessary decisions and measures, individually and collectively, to compel Morocco to end its illegal occupation of Western Sahara. Moreover, the Memorandum noted, "Morocco is not prepared to choose the peaceful and democratic path in the settlement of the Sahrawi question".
Since the resignation of the former Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Horst Kohler, in May 2019, "the Security Council has done nothing to reactivate the peace process in Western Sahara", regretted the Polisario Front's Representation.
As a result, "the delay in appointing a new Personal Envoy only aggravates the state of paralysis", noted the document.
The Saharawi Representation also reports massive violations of human rights in the occupied Saharawi territories. Saharawi civilians are constantly subjected to arbitrary arrests, torture, illegal detentions, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances, and this, without international control, because of the strict media blackout and military blockade imposed by Morocco on the occupied Sahrawi territories."
Despite repeated appeals from international human rights defenders and the Sahrawi people, the Security Council has not authorized MINURSO to monitor human rights violations in Western Sahara, the Representation is deplored.

The Polisario Front also mentioned the other sad facet of the Moroccan occupation, namely, the persistent exploitation and plundering of Sahrawi natural resources in violation of international law, as confirmed in 2016 by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which concluded that Western Sahara and Morocco are two "distinct and separate" territories. (SPS)