The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) joins the global progressive movement in celebrating the 45th Anniversary of the Saharawi Republic’s Proclamation. We salute the sacrifices and resistance of the Saharawi people and praise the achievements of 45 years under the wise and gallant leadership of the Frente Polisario, the only and legitimate representative of the Saharawi people. COSATU acknowledges this 45th Anniversary and reaffirms its solidarity towards their struggle to recover the right to live free in their sovereign homeland. Proclaimed on the 27th of February 1976 by the Polisario Front, the SADR has achieved outstanding success on the international scene and has drawn many supporters to this just cause.
COSATU notes the intensified persecution of the Saharawi people by the occupying force, Morocco, and the continued arrests and detention of political activists, particularly from the Polisario Front. We condemn this disrespect for human rights and the violence exercised by the Kingdom of Morocco upon the populations residing in the occupied territories. For this reason, we need to intensify international solidarity support through campaigns with other progressive forces and become aggressive in our approach when it comes to this issue.
The efforts to resolve the Western Sahara conflict have been jeopardised by the difficulties involved in promoting a democratic solution for a militarily controlled territory by an autocratic regime, the Moroccan government. In this sense, the promotion of a free and fair solution for the Western Sahara conflict should be examined in the context of the ongoing debate on the relationship between democratisation, development and security in the North African region.
A workable and lasting peace strategy for Western Sahara will only succeed if the international community assumes a more robust role in clarifying human rights violations and promoting confidence-building measures so that the refugees can return to their home. We believe that the Western Sahara dispute will remain a roadblock for promoting economic and political cooperation in the Maghreb region unless bold diplomatic initiatives such as greater international backing for Western Saharan statehood are put on the peace table. The inalienable right of people to be free from all forms of colonialist rule and oppression cannot be traded away.
COSATU calls for all countries to emulate South Africa’s example in recognising the Saharawi people’s genuine representative, the Polisario Front, and granting country-status to the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. COSATU further demands that the UN and other International Organisations respect and enforce International Law enshrined in the numerous Resolutions approved by the United Nations.
We call on all progressive forces to unite and draw inspiration from the Western Sahara people’s resilience, as we plead with the African Union, to act decisively on this matter so that the people of Western Sahara’s inalienable rights to a free, sovereign and independent homeland be respected.
COSATU continues to wage its unwavering solidarity with the people of Western Sahara, and we celebrate this auspicious milestone, making it clear that the road to freedom may be long – but we are here until self-determination and independence are realised.
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