A group of friends for Western Sahara consisting of representatives from all nine political parties was established today in the Norwegian parliament
Photo: Members of Parliament Freddy André Øvstegård (Socialist Left Party), Tobias Drevland Lund (Red Party) Sandra Bruflot (Conservative Party), Erlend Svardal Bøe (Conservative Party), Rasmus Hansson (The Greens), Gisle Meininger Saudland (Progress Party), Anja Abusland (Center Party), together with Polisario's representative to the EU, Oubi Bachir.
Western Sahara is considered by the UN to be the last unresolved colonial issue in Africa. Most of the territory is under illegal occupation of neighboring Morocco and half the people live as refugees in neighbouring countries.
17 parliamentarians from all nine political parties in the Norwegian parliament participate in the group.
"We live in a time where basic principles of international law is under pressure. As a small country, we need to protest when these principles are breached. The Sahrawi people deserve our full support in its struggle against occupation ", says Member of Parliament Erlend Svardal Bøe of the Conservative Party, one of three leaders in the group. The others are Tobias Drevland Lund of the Red Party and Anja Abusland of Centre Party.
"We need increased political pressure on Morocco for a referendum on independence to take place and for the parties to reach a lasting and fair solution to the conflict, in line with the UN Charter and the right to self-determination. Norway has an important voice internationally, and we hope to see clear Norwegian intervention in the UN Security Council", says Oubi Bachir, the liberation movement Polisario's representative to Europe, who attended the constituing meeting.
The UN, the International Court of Justice in The Hague and a series of judgments in the European Court of Justice are clear that Western Sahara is not part of Morocco and that Morocco does not have a mandate to be present in the territory. More than 100 UN resolutions underline support for the Sahrawi people's right to self-determination.
There is a cross-political consensus on the issue of Western Sahara among all the political parties in Norway on the matter.
Friendship groups including all political parties have also existed during previous parliamentary periods, but have not been re-established since a new Norwegian parliament was elected in September 2021. In previous periods, the group has been led by Trine Skei Grande (Liberal Party), Åsmund Aukrust (Labour Party), Gisle Meininger Saudland (Progress Party) and Solfrid Lerbrekk (Socialist Left Party).
A group of Saharawi political prisoners today filed a legal complaint against Morocco in to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
The Saharawi student activist Mohammed Layichi has been on hunger strike for almost a month.
What is being done to prevent that Norwegian salmon production undermines food security in West Africa? The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara has challenged Norway's 40 largest aquaculture companies.
Two well-known Saharawi student activists were this week arrested in Agadir. A trial is expected to start today.