#eucocovitoria19 #SaharaLibre #PolisarioVencera

DISCUSSION PANELS

As is well known, in recent years, EUCOCO has consolidated its organisational structure by grouping its various interests and discussions into four main fields:

  1. Political action and communication
  2. Development of the Saharawi State
  3. Human rights and occupied territories
  4. The pillaging of natural resources

This 44th Conference aims to bring together this great wealth accumulated thanks to the work of so many people and, at the same time, to adapt the proceedings to the specific requirements posed by current political and social events.

To this end, the Document “EUCOCO 2019 – SPAIN AND THE EU MUST ASSUME THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE WESTERN SAHARA CONFLICT” (see below) has been drawn up and disseminated. It includes the proposal for an INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL CAMPAIGN to cover all the awareness-raising and political advocacy actions to be developed throughout 2019 and 2020.

The idea is that the proceedings in each of the 4 WORKSHOPS focus on the undeniably political background of the Saharawi conflict. The intention is that, in each of the 4 WORKSHOPS, and within their respective scope, concrete proposals should be debated and agreed and then submitted to the plenary session to nurture this INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL CAMPAIGN.

Each of the 4 WORKSHOPS must discuss and generate, in each field, specific proposals that can give shape and meaning to the INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL CAMPAIGN.

Below, the organising committee has proposed a short introduction, which is still open, to enable each group to guide the discussions as proposed. This is only a short introduction that aims to guide and assist the discussions and the generation of proposals.

NATURAL RESOURCES

CONSOLIDATION OF THE SAHRAWI STATE

INTRODUCTION TO THE DISCUSSIONS

Beyond historical considerations or geostrategic interests, the ultimate reason for colonialism has been and is to benefit from taking over other people’s goods and natural resources. In the case of Western Sahara, for almost 140 years of foreign occupation, public and private companies from all the continents, although mainly Spanish and Moroccan, have plundered the Saharawi waters, sky, land, subsoil, flora and fauna for their own benefit and for the benefit of powerful transnational corporations.

Since the beginning of the occupation, the Saharawi people have fought in every conceivable scenario to put an end to this practice that affects their lives and their future. In the legal field, the rulings of the European Court of Justice have made it clear that this plundering is, in addition to being illegitimate, illegal. However, many governments and some European institutions are sidestepping the law and maintaining their colonial policies.

Particularly scandalous is the case of the Spanish State, which, far from protecting the goods of the Saharawi people, as it should in its capacity as an administrative power, is failing to comply with international and domestic law in order to remain the maintain its position as the main beneficiary of this plundering.

This working group will seek a consensus and the necessary synergies between various people and solidarity groups to put an end to this barbarity.

  • How can we force companies that benefit from the plundering to put an end to this illegal and illegitimate practice?
  • Can we assess the economic, social and moral damage inflicted on the Saharawi people by the plundering of their assets and launch a claim against the states and companies involved?
  • How can we involve parties, trade unions and other social agents to ensure that the new Spanish government complies with and enforces the rulings of the European Court of Justice?
  • Can we establish joint actions with European institutions to stop the plundering of Saharawi assets?

Propose one or two concrete actions for one or more of the GOALS indicated in the INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN proposal.

INTRODUCTION TO THE DISCUSSIONS

For more than 40 years, Saharawi refugees have been living “in storage” in camps, marked by despair and helplessness, highly dependent on external aid, and under very difficult conditions. All this despite the enormous efforts made by the Saharawi authorities to provide the population with decent living conditions in the camps.

The origin of this situation lies with the policies of our successive governing authorities, and with the International Community itself.

It is clear that, in relation to the situation of the refugee population, Spain has a major role to play as the “administering power” of the territory, a status that it has never forfeited, and must safeguard the situation of the Saharawi population. However, the State’s official aid has always been an instrument for foreign affairs used to “calm consciences” and has never been accompanied by a political strategy designed to achieve the ultimate goal of decolonisation.

Moreover, the effectiveness of the aid is clearly hindered if it does not come with decisive political pressure to resolve the conflict and put an end to the occupation. We cannot, in any way, be content with caring for the victims of the conflict.

  • Is our humanitarian cooperation/action consistent with the political background of the Saharawi cause?
  • In the absence of a political solution, do we not run the risk of cooperation contributing to maintaining and reproducing the conflict, rather than contributing to its resolution?
  • Does cooperation not perhaps contribute to maintaining the status quo (complicit aid), compensating for the effects of occupation on the refugee population, while extracting direct economic interests from the occupation?
  • Are we perhaps, even if moved by our best intentions, generating a structural dependence on aid?

Propose one or two concrete actions for one or more of the GOALS indicated in the INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN proposal.

HUMAN RIGHTS AND OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

POLICY AND INFORMATION

INTRODUCTION TO THE DISCUSSIONS

In the case of Western Sahara, the effective application of the principles and rules of international law and the effective safeguarding of the human rights of the Saharawi population (in refugee camps and occupied territories) have always been subordinated to geopolitical interests.

It is also clear that Spain must face its responsibility as the administering power of Western Sahara – responsibility recognised as a sacred duty in the Charter of the United Nations – to put an end to the decolonisation process of the Saharawi people on the basis of their inalienable right to self-determination.

The Spanish State continues to be legally and politically responsible for this tragedy. Until the Saharawi people can freely decide on their future, Spain will remain morally and legally responsible for the suffering and permanent violation of human rights in Western Sahara.

  • What measures could be taken to compel the Spanish State to assume and apply a more effective foreign policy consistent with the above-mentioned responsibility?
  • What measures could be adopted to compel the Spanish State to drive a policy within the EU that aims to put an end to the occupation; a policy aimed at a just resolution of the conflict?
  • What measures could be adopted to ensure that Spain’s foreign policy goes beyond mere declarations, innocuous diplomacy, and aid?
  • How can we ensure that the policy of the Spanish public administrations (at different levels) effectively includes the inalienable, permanent and unconditional right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and their right to permanent sovereignty over their wealth and natural resources?

Propose one or two concrete actions for one or more of the GOALS indicated in the INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN proposal.

INTRODUCTION TO THE DISCUSSIONS

For many years, European and Western governments and institutions, in general, have been trying to hide or conceal the causes and consequences of the conflict in Western Sahara, as well as their own responsibilities in it. Undoubtedly, the scant interest of most of the media, the pressure from economic interest groups, and the inefficiency of social movements to put pressure on political power have contributed to the political deadlock of the issue, to the point that a cloak of forgetfulness seems to hide the obligations and responsibilities that correspond to the Spanish, European and international public authorities to end the colonisation of the last non-self-governing territory of Africa. In the meantime, the unjust situation endured by the Saharawi people in the occupied territories due to the unbearable repression exercised by Morocco, as well as in the refugee camps and in exile, where they are suffering from appalling living conditions, has not been remedied.

The people and associations participating in the Political Action and Communication working group of this 44th Conference would like to reflect together on the most effective ways of demanding that governments and European institutions, and first and foremost the Spanish State, as the administering power, explicitly assume their responsibilities to guarantee effective and concrete steps towards self-determination.

  • How can we influence the media so that they faithfully reflect the obligations, breaches and actual policies of European governments and institutions with regard to Western Sahara?
  • How can we involve the most active agents and social sectors in the claim for truth, justice and reparation for the Saharawi people?
  • How can we effectively influence political parties to compel governments to act in accordance with international law regarding Western Sahara?
  • How can Europe as a whole contribute to ensuring the Spanish State recognises its particular responsibility and acts accordingly?
  • What social pressure and mobilisation measures could be most effective in achieving our specific goals?

Propose one or two concrete actions for one or more of the GOALS indicated in the INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN proposal.

Spain and the EU must assume their responsibilities in the Western Sahara conflict.

Since 1975, the solidarity movement for the self-determination of the Saharawi people (Associations, Committees, NGOs, trade unions, institutions, personalities, etc.) has been aware of the need to discuss and coordinate its actions. The annual conferences held since then have addressed urgent issues as well as strategic issues, focusing on policy, communication, gender equality, cooperation, human rights, trade unionism, natural resources, etc., and establishing action programmes and coordination mechanisms in each of these fields.

In recent years, the conference has consolidated its organisational structure by grouping its various interests and discussions into four main fields: 1) political action and communication, 2) development of the Saharawi state, 3) human rights and occupied territories and 4) pillaging of natural resources.

This 44th Conference aims to bring together this accumulated heritage and consolidate the steps taken by the entire international cooperation and solidarity movement and, at the same time, meet the specific requirements posed by the current political and social environment.

To this end, we propose that the work of this conference should focus on the undeniably political background underlying the situation of the Sahrawi people and the various responses this situation generates, and the discussion of the possibility of agreeing on a joint proposal for the implementation of an INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL CAMPAIGN that gives meaning to all the awareness-raising and political actions to be undertaken in 2019 and 2020.

The recent elections to the European and Spanish Parliaments have initiated a period in which any inaction regarding the flagrant violations of international law and the political and economic collaboration with the occupying power, Morocco, cannot go unpunished. Today, more than ever, is the time to demand that Spain and the European Union face up to their responsibilities in the conflict. Especially in the case of the Spanish State, which holds the status of administering power of the last African territory pending decolonisation, Western Sahara.

The EUCOCO 2019 Conference is an ideal framework for associations and solidarity committees, political organisations, social unions, young people, NGDOs, as well as intellectuals and artists – each based on their own experience and specific field of action – to contribute towards the design of an INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL CAMPAIGN aimed at achieving the explicit recognition by the government of the Spanish State of its responsibility in the conflict and forcing the EU to act accordingly. In addition to the goals and contents of this campaign, the conference should establish a framework for the coordination, follow-up and sharing of responsibilities.

In this sense, the EUCOCO 2019 Conference proposes that the organisations and personalities present, as well as all those that decide to join the cause, apply, independently and in the geographical area and in the manner they consider appropriate, the necessary pressure on society, institutions and European governments to demand the following from the SPANISH GOVERNMENT, as part of the acknowledgement of its responsibility and, without prejudice to other actions:

1.- DECLARE, OFFICIALLY in 2020, the Madrid Accords null and void and, in accordance with such a declaration, promote all necessary political initiatives in defence of the legitimate right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.

The Spanish State officially recognises that the Madrid Accords, signed on 14 November 1975, did not transfer sovereignty over the territory or confer upon any of the signatories the status of administering power, a status that Spain alone cannot unilaterally transfer, thus not affecting the international status of Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory pending decolonisation.

2.- DECLARE, OFFICIALLY in 2020, the recognition of the diplomatic status of the Representation of the Polisario Front in Spain as a national liberation movement and the sole and legitimate representative of the people of Western Sahara – a condition clearly established by a multitude of United Nations resolutions.

3.- DECLARE, OFFICIALLY in 2020, and in view of the serious humanitarian situation in the refugee camps, the priority of supporting and cooperating with the Sahrawi refugee population.

4.- DECLARE, OFFICIALLY in 2020, the need for reparation for the Saharawi People, which includes all material and moral damages and, as appropriate, restitution, rehabilitation, satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition.

5.- DECLARE, OFFICIALLY in 2020, the obligation, for public and private companies, to respect and implement the Sentences of the EU Court of Justice which establish the basis on which to agree with the Saharawi people the exploration and management of natural resources in the maritime and terrestrial territory of Western Sahara.

This proposal is based on the conviction that the Spanish State must exercise its responsibility as the administering power of Western Sahara – responsibility recognised as a sacred duty in the Charter of the United Nations – to complete the decolonisation process of the Saharawi people, which must be resolved on the basis of its inalienable right to self-determination, and that the European Union must fulfil and make its member states comply with the obligations deriving from international law.

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