Abuja Declaration on the African Solidarity with the Struggle of the People of Western Sahara

1. An African Conference of Solidarity with the Struggle of the people of Western Sahara organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in collaboration with its allies in the civil society and Movements of Solidarity with the Saharawi people in Africa and across the world held in Abuja-Nigeria from Monday, October 28th to 30th 2013.
2. The choice of Nigeria was informed by the need to expand the scope of resistance against colonialism on the continent and to intensify the solidarity with the struggle of the Saharawi people.
3. The Conference was attended by official delegations, Labour unions, Civil Society Organisations from many African countries and across the world. The African Union, the African Parliament and the major African trade union centres such as the organisation of African trade union unity OATUU, World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), International Trade Union Congress (ITUC-Africa) and political parties from Africa and Europe attended the conference as well.
4. The theme of the Conference was Liberation of Western Sahara: Ending Colonialism in Africa. The sub-themes were:
•Decolonialisation of Western Sahara and the Responsibility of the African Union and the United Nations.
•Humanitarian Crisis in Western Sahara: violations of the Human Rights in the occupied territories, the Moroccan Wall of Shame and the demining Challenges.
•Plundering of the Saharawi Natural Resources and the Discriminatory Labour Conditions in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.
•African Solidarity with the Struggle of the People of Western Saharan; the Way forward: lessons learnt from other African experiences.
•African Trade Unions and Promotion of Solidarity.
5. Messages of solidarity were delivered by delegates and representatives of all the participating organisations in the Conference.
6. Testimonies from a former MINURSO’s Chief Military Personnel Officer and victims of human rights abuses in the occupied territories of Western Sahara were touching moments in the Conference.
7. The lead address on the theme of the Conference: Liberation of Western Sahara by Professor Yomi Akinyeye of the University of Lagos-Nigeria set the tone for the Conference. The paper touched on the history and legal dimensions of the Western Sahara conflict and showed that Morocco has no legitimate or legal status to hold Western Sahara as its colony.
8. The special intervention by Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, foremost leader in the struggle for the liberation of Southern Africa and a former Ambassador of Nigeria in the United Nations, was knowledgeable and inspiring.
•The Conference condemned the continued occupation and colonization of Western Sahara by Morocco.
•The conference condemns the Spanish Government for creating the confusion and crises in the Western Sahara today for administrative agreement with Morocco.
•The Conference condemned France for her despicable obstruction of the peaceful resolution of the decolonisation of Western Sahara.
•The Conference condemned the repression, systematic human rights violations and crime against humanity perpetrated by the Moroccan authorities against the Saharawi people. These violations are well documented by various international human rights organisations.
•The Conference condemned the inhuman and illegal plundering of the natural resources of Western Sahara in contradiction to the international law.
•The Conference regrets the laidback position of the African Union and Governments of African countries in the pursuit of the independence of the last colony in Africa – Western Sahara.
•The Conference condemned Morocco for signing fishing agreements in the area of Western Sahara with other countries.
Consequent upon the seriousness of the situation of Western Sahara, the Conference;
•Resolved to form an African Solidarity Movement for the Independence of Western Sahara (ASOMWS) to strengthen the resistance towards the decolonisation of Western Sahara.
•Set the broad goals of ASOMWS, which all solidarity movements shall comply with. In addition, ASOMWS shall collaborate with solidarity movements in Europe, Latin America, North and South America and Australia to promote the cause of Saharawi independence.
•Decided to establish a Task Force of ASOMWS which includes Nigeria as Chair, Benin Republic representing West Africa, Algeria representing North Africa, Cameroun representing Central Africa, Kenya representing East Africa, and South Africa representing Southern Africa. The Task Force is responsible for the coordination of all activities of ASOMWS between the two Conferences and shall have a Secretariat located in Nigeria until the next edition of the Conference.
•Commended the principled position of the Governments of Nigeria, Algeria and South Africa, and other African countries on Western Sahara and resolved that they should go further to ensure the isolation of Morocco as they did in the case of Apartheid South Africa.
•Urged the United Nations Security Council to expand the mandate of MINURSO to include surveillance and reporting about human rights. Additionally, the Security Council should ensure that the referendum which it was tasked to conduct since 1991 to determine the future of Western Sahara is held without further delay.
• Calls upon the African Union and its member states to impose economic, military and diplomatic sanctions against Morocco just as was successfully done with the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
•Decided that the organisations of the people – labour and civil society – should organise boycott against companies and multinationals that do business with Morocco in Western Sahara.
•Agreed to assign a special Day for the solidarity with the struggle of the Saharawi people. The Task Force should determine the Day to be observed as the Saharawi Day by all organisations of the people in Africa on a yearly basis.
•Resolved to pursue a systematic programme of dismantling the Moroccan Wall of Shame that divides Western Sahara in two parts, separates families and exposes Saharawi civilians to permanent danger.
•Decided to organise a Pan-African programme of Humanitarian Assistance for the Saharawi people in the Refugee camps. That the department of Humanitarian and Human Rights of the AU Commission should support the coordination of the humanitarian activities of the Western Sahara.
•Solidarises with the peaceful resistance of the Saharawi people in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.
•Resolved to request the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Nigeria to organise an academic Conference about Western Sahara within the next two years.
•Resolved that Benin Republic should host, preferably in 2014, the next edition of the African Conference of Solidarity with the Struggle of the People of Western Sahara.
•The conference resolved that there should be immediate and unconditional release of the Western Saharan Prisoners serving jail terms in Morocco.
Finally, the Conference expresses its profound appreciation to the Nigeria Labour Congress and its allies for hosting successfully the African Conference of Solidarity with the Struggle of the People of Western Sahara. Also, appreciation goes to all participants for their invaluable contributions and for being part of this historic solidarity event.
Abuja, Wednesday October 30th, 2013 (Nigeria News, African, Country Read)

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