Grant independence to Africa’s last colony!
The Liberal Party demands that Norway recognize Western Sahara as an
independent state. According to the UN committee for
decolonisation, Western Sahara is the last remaining colony on the
Political statement adopted at a meeting of the National Board on February 24-25th 2007
[original in Norwegian: Venstre krever norsk anerkjennelse av republikken Vest-Sahara"]
As far back as 1960, the UN General Assembly declared that the people
in the then Spanish Sahara has the right to independence. However, when
the Spaniards left the territory in 1975, Western Sahara was
immediately occupied by Morocco. In October 1975, the International
Court of Justice in the Hague rejected the Moroccan claim to the
territory; or the Sahrawi Arabic Democratic Republic (SADR) which is
the official name for the territory.
The peace agreement that was agreed to in 1991 between Morocco and the
Western Sahara resistance movement, Polisario, had clear provisions for
how the conflict was to be settled. The agreement entailed that the
inhabitants living in Western Sahara prior to the occupation, through a
referendum were to decide whether the area should be an independent
state or to be incorporated into a neighbouring country. A UN mission
was established to prepare for and implement the referendum. But in
spite of this, today, more than 15 years after the peace agreement was
signed, a referendum has not yet taken place. This situation is
primarily due to the fact that France, being Morocco’s most important
ally, has undermined all efforts in the UN Security Council to exercise
pressure on the Moroccan authorities.
Although the UN has not succeeded in finding a solution to the
conflict, SADR has nonetheless been recognized by more than 80 states.
Human rights violations
Human rights are violated on a daily basis in the parts of Western
Sahara occupied by Morocco. The Sahrawis are subjected to severe
violations of their freedom of expression, of organisation and of
movement. Journalists and editors who have raised the subject of
independence have been imprisoned. Oppositional teachers and
state-employees have been forcibly deported from their communities
northwards, into Morocco. And human rights activists have been
imprisoned without fair trial.
Western Sahara has substantial phosphate and fish resources, and, very
likely, oil reserves along its coastline. Throughout this period,
Morocco has illegally exploited Western Sahara’s rich natural
resources. In recent years, Norwegian business has become increasingly
active in Western Sahara. Norwegian fishing industry has become one of
Morocco’s most important partners, and in 2006, major Norwegian
projects were started in the occupied areas. In 1999, Norway entered
into a trade agreement with Morocco, through the EFTA cooperation.
Contrary to a similar US trade agreement, the EFTA agreement does not
establish that products manufactured by settlers in Western Sahara can
not be defined as Moroccan. Thereby, products made in occupied Western
Sahara can be introduced to Norway free of tariff.
The Liberal Party demands:
• That Norway recognize the Sahrawi Arabic Democratic
Republic as an independent state, and exert its influence on Moroccan
and French authorities in order that the Sahrawis’ legitimate demands
• That Norway exercise pressure on Morocco in order
that the Sahrawi people’s rights to freedom of expression, organisation
and movement are respected, and that all prisoners of conscience are
• That Norwegian authorities, in cooperation with the
other EFTA countries, follow the US example, by demanding that the
EFTA-Moroccan Association Agreement precludes products originating from