Working for justice for the Saharawi people


Western Sahara Campaign UK
Oxford Chambers
Oxford Place
Tel\Ansaphone\Fax: 0113 245 4786


23 July 1999



THE WESTERN SAHARA CAMPAIGN UK cannot in all honesty regret the passing of King Hassan II, King of Morocco.


Whilst some may refer to him as a peacemaker in the Middle East, for those of us concerned with the fate of the Saharawi people who have suffered the consequences of his 25 year ruthless oppression and personal campaign to deny them their rights to self determination, we turn our thoughts to those who disappeared, who were tortured, who died, and the families who have been left to wonder what fate had become their loved ones.

We think of the children who have grown to adults in exile, amongst the 160,000 refugees who have survived a quarter century in the harshest of conditions in desert camps, barred from their country by a fortified wall spanning across Western Sahara outstretching the Chinese Wall, and denied their rights to grow up in freedom. Yet they preserve their pride as human beings engaged in the struggle for the liberation of their people.

We think too of the fate of youth who have been plucked from their homes in a Western Sahara occupied by sheer military force and subjected to the summary "justice" and Moroccan prisons of Hassan II who ruled over his conquered territory in unashamed violation of international law.

By contrast with King Hassan's ruthlessness, those who joined together under the broad church of the POLISARIO Front stand out amongst African liberation movements as fighting for the liberation of their country without turning to terrorism. No blown up bodies of British people on the sunny beaches of tourist attraction Morocco; instead they have shown extraordinary patience and determined international diplomacy to achieve their goal.

But, looking now to the future, Prince Sidi Mohammed has the opportunity to take the Crown and show himself to be the real peacemaker; to co-operate wholeheartedly with the UN referendum and bring about a just resolution for Western Sahara by letting its own people decide their destiny in a free, fair, and transparent referendum.

As Morocco's new King, Prince Sidi Mohammed could be a prime facilitator for peace in the Maghreb. If he fails to seize this opportunity, then the international community must make it absolutely clear that a quarter of a century is more than enough and no more will be tolerated. Otherwise even the Saharawi people will run out of patience.

Dr. Keith Lomax
Chair, Western Sahara Campaign UK.


Julie Thorpe
Field Head Farm
Tel: +44 (0)1422 846214
Fax: +44 (01422 846234

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