Nordic Youth Council Demands Recognition of Western Sahara

The 2015 session of the Nordic Youth Council asked the Nordic countries to work for the independence of Western Sahara.

Published 02 November 2015

In a NYC meeting in Reykjavik October 25th, the Nordic youth parties asked the Nordic states to increase support for the rights of the Saharawi people.

NYC also adopted strong statements in regards to Western Sahara in 2014 and 2009. 

The new NYC statement from 2015 (translated by the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara:

Recognise Western Sahara now!

When Spain, the former colonial power, withdrew from the area, the liberation movement Polisario was created. The movement established the independent state; The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Since the declaration of independence, SADR has been recognised by over 80 states and is today a full-worthy member of the African Union. In 1975 Morocco occupied Western Sahara and began a long process of moving its people to the southern parts of Western Sahara. The occupation was also the start of a 16 year long war.

After the 16 year long war, a ceasefire was agreed upon in 1991. A referendum about Western Sahara's independence was planned for 1992. Morocco has hindered the referendum from being realised time after time, and in 2015 it has still not taken place. 

The International Court of Justice in The Hague has deemed Morocco not to have any legitimate historical claim to Western Sahara and furthermore, no state has recognised Morocco's claim to the territory. 

Despite this, and in violation of international conventions, Morocco is exploiting the natural resources of Western Sahara. Internationally, Morocco is attempting to present Western Sahara as part of Morocco. 

Various Nordic enterprises conduct business in the occupied territory, commissioned by Morocco. Moreover, the EU has a trade agreement with Morocco that indirectly supports the occupation.

Since 1991, the United Nations has had an operation in Western Sahara called MINURSO, with the mandate to prepare and organise the referendum, monitoring the ceasefire, implementing repatriation programs and control a decrease in Moroccan soldiers in the territory. MINURSO is the only UN operation that does not have a a focus on human rights. 

NYC wants:

  • that the Nordic governments recognise SADR as an independent state. The countries should, through their diplomatic channels, create pressure in favour of recognition.
  • that the Nordic countries, with resolution in cooperation with the African Union, the EU and the UN, to work towards an independent Western Sahara.
  • hat the Nordic countries find efficient solutions and methods to stop Nordic enterprises from conducting business with Morocco in the occupied territory. Instead, cooperation between these and SADR should be worked for.
  • that the Nordic countries together with the EU stop their trade with Morocco in Western Sahara and bring the issue forth within the EU.
  • that the Nordic countries work to ensure that the UNs MINURSO operation will include human rights monitoring. 

Original text in Swedish/Danish to be found here. 

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