[West-Sahara] Verklaring SZWS bij 4e commissie VN

Frank fwillems op antenna.nl
Zo Okt 12 13:41:51 CEST 2014

De stichting Zelfbeschikking West-Sahara heeft samen met het
Internationaal Juristen Platform voor Oost-Timor heeft een verklaring
voorgelezen bij de Vierde Commissie van de Verenigde Naties die is
belast met speciale politieke zaken en dekolonisatie.
De tekst is in Engels voorgedragen door Pedro Pinto Leite.

Mister Chairman, distinguished delegates,

I wish to thank you for the opportunity to speak before this Committee
on behalf of the International Platform of Jurists for East Timor and of
the Stichting Zelfbeschikking West-Sahara, an association established
under Dutch law for the defence of the right to self-determination of
the people of Western Sahara.

Mister Chairman,
Three years ago I mentioned here the striking similarities between the
questions of Palestine and the Western Sahara. Those similarities were
expertly highlighted in an article by Prof. Juan Soroeta Liceras, of the
University of the Bask Country: two illegal occupations, two walls of
shame, the violation of the right to self-determination and other human
rights of both the Sahrawi and the Palestinian peoples, the installation
of settlers in the occupied territories...

Today I would like to focus your attention on the wall built by Morocco
from 1980 to 1987 in the occupied Western Sahara. It consists of a
three-meter high sand and stone berm, with bunkers, fences, electronic
surveillance equipment and an enormous number of landmines. Running over
2,700 km from the southeast of Morocco to the northern border of
Mauritania, this abject structure is thus flanked by "the longest
uninterrupted minefield in the world", according to the Journal of Mine

The construction of the wall is clearly illegal. Ten years ago, the
International Court of Justice, in its Advisory Opinion concerning Legal
Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory, concluded unambiguously that the wall constitutes a violation
of international law, that Israel should dismantle it and that it should
 pay reparations for the damages caused. It is important to note that
the Court adopted these points of the operative part almost unanimously,
 with a majority of fourteen to one. Were the Court asked to rule on the
legal consequences of the construction of the Moroccan wall, it could
not conclude otherwise.

Morocco's main argument to justify the construction of the wall is its
so-called self-defensive purpose. But again, in the above-mentioned
Advisory Opinion, the Court dismissed a similar argument of Israel.
Morocco cannot invoke self-defence while it is the one guilty of
aggression and illegal occupation of a foreign territory. The real
purpose of the wall is to ensure the annexation of Western Sahara. Here
it is relevant to remind that the Court, in the paragraph 87 of its
Opinion, stressed that no territorial acquisition resulting from the
threat or use of force should be recognized as legal: "the principles as
to the use of force incorporated in the Charter reflect customary
international law; the same is true of its corollary entailing the
illegality of territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use
of force."

Mister Chairman,

The impact of the wall on the Sahrawi society is huge. The Sahrawi
families have been separated for decades, and the economic, social,
cultural and psychological implications are profound.

The London-based Action on Armed Violence, a charitable organisation
which has been working in the liberated area of Western Sahara to clear
it of landmines and other explosive remnants of war, estimates the
number of victims at over 2,500. And the number grows every month: just
two weeks ago a mine explosion killed two Sahrawi men and wounded three

A strong campaign has been launched for the demolition of the Moroccan
wall. From I to 10 November, this year's edition of ARTifariti, an
encounter of artists from many nationalities in the Sahrawi camps of
Tindouf, joins the campaign to break down the wall. I also invite this
Committee to find a way to oblige Morocco to demolish the wall of shame,
that symbol of colonization.

Thank you, Mister Chairman.


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