The Nigerian Labour Congress in keeping with the tradition of Africa as the centre- piece of Nigeria`s foreign policy objective, and in line with the Nigerian Labour Congress’ tradition of supporting liberation struggles in Africa and across the world, is organizing an African conference for solidarity with the people of Western Sahara the last colony in Africa, from October 28th -30th, 2013, under the theme: Liberation Western Sahara, Ending colonialism in Africa.
The conflict started when Morocco invaded Western Sahara in October 1975, after the withdrawal of Spain (colonial power), thereby preventing the Saharawi people from enjoying the legitimate right of self-determination guaranteed in all international laws and UN charter. The Polisario Front declared the Saharawi Republic on February 1976, a full member of AU. After 16 years of war between the Saharawi liberation movement (POLISARIO Front) and Morocco, in September 1991, the Organisation of African Unity (AU now) and the UN reached a cease-fire and a peace settlement agreement in which a referendum should be organized to enable the Saharawi people decide their future, but Morocco backed by a UN security Council member France, blocked the path all along these years.
More than 40 years later, the Saharawi people are still waiting for the promised referendum to put an end to colonialism in Africa.
Since the beginning of the conflict, the Moroccan military and security forces had committed severe and brutal violations, abuses and crimes against humanity in Western Sahara witnessed by the international human rights organizations such as: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Front Line, Freedom House, the European Parliament, The African Human Rights Commission and the annual report of US State Department on human rights in addition to the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara.
The NLC hopes that the conference will draw more attention on the African Union to assume its responsibilities towards the implementation of AU-UN peace settlement plan.
Participants from all over the world, have confirmed their attendance amongst which are international scholars, international members of parliament, international civil society organisations and the international media houses.
The NLC, through the deliberations at the conference hopes to break the deadlock that has prevented the Saharawi people from enjoying their independence. Breaking this deadlock will be a major turning point for the liberation of Africa’s last colony (Western Sahara). The NLC also applauds Nigeria’s principled position on the status of Western Sahara among the comity of nations. This tradition has endeared the Nigerian government to the people of Western Sahara.
Acting General Secretary.