Belgian ex-Senator runs in sand dunes for Sahrawi peoples’ rights
On the 25th of February, the Sahrawi refugees will host the 8th edition of the Sahara Marathon
in their refugee camps in western Algeria. The refugees have been
living in the camps since Morocco illegally occupied their home country
Former Belgian senator Jacinta De Roeck - as the first Belgian
contender ever - will participate in this event, which is taking place
in the desert sand between the Sahrawi camps. The marathon is an
international sports event to demonstrate solidarity with the Sahrawi
people, and is taking place in one of the most inhospitable places on
earth. The place is often ridden by sand storms, and in the summer, the
temperatures reach above +50 degrees C.
"The fact that I'm running this race is a modest attempt to gather
attention for a cause that is loosing the awareness in the
international community. We must do all in our power to spread the word
regarding the terrible conditions under which the Sahrawi refugees are
living, and about the injustice that is caused upon them. The Sahrawi
refugees has a legitimate right of return home to a free Western
Sahara, but Morocco will not accept that“, said De Roeck.
More than 100 resolutions by the UN Security Council and General
Assembly supports the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination. A
UN force is present in Western Sahara to arrange a referendum for
independence, but Morocco refuses to let it taking place.
“Morocco is systematically obstructing the UN peace process, in order
to gain time and control over Western Sahara. We cannot accept that,
and must support the refugees’ peaceful struggle for freedom from
occupation”, said De Roeck.
Until the 10th of June, De Roeck was the president of the Belgian Parliamentary Body "Peace for the
Sahraoui-people". She has also organised several conferences
about this topic in the Belgian Senate.
De Roeck is the president of the newly founded Belgian branch of the
international network organisation Western
Sahara Resource Watch, called "Solidariteitsgroep Westelijke
If you wish further information, you can always send an email to
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