An international conglomeration has asserted itself as a voice to tell the story of the Moroccan Sahara that Algeria, Polisario, and their allies seek to suppress.
Rabat – On the eve of the 45th anniversary of the Green March, 3,000 jurists, academics, journalists, and civil society actors around the world reiterated their commitment to Morocco’s territorial integrity.
Morocco will celebrate the historic Green March on Friday, November 6. On the same day in 1975, more than 350,000 Moroccans marched peacefully into the Sahara to demand an end to Spain’s occupation of the region.
Ahead of the celebration, the 3,000 members of the International Platform for Defense and Support for the Moroccan Sahara published Thursday their manifesto, according to Morocco’s state media.
The manifesto is “a founding document by which they commit to carry the message of the Moroccan character of the Sahara in the spheres of civil society, universities, the media, and social networks,” reported the same source.
With the document, the members of the International Platform reaffirm “the irreversible Moroccanness of the Sahara, an integral part of the national territory of the Kingdom of Morocco.”
The goal of the Platform is to amplify the story of the populations of the Moroccan Sahara “that Algeria and its [allies] seek to stifle.”
Those living in Morocco’s southern provinces that Polisario alleges are “contested territory” enjoy “free and democratic institutions” and live in “security, stability, and prosperity,” the manifesto asserts.
Morocco is an actor of peace, democracy, and development in Africa and across the globe, the text adds.
Development in the south
In its support for Morocco’s territorial integrity, the International Platform commends the country’s development efforts in the Sahara under the framework of the New Development Model of the Southern Provinces that King Mohammed VI launched in November 2015.
The 2015 development model is grounded in the principle of local participation in development policies, plans, and projects. It is based on strengthening the economic and social rights of the region’s population.
Under the model, Morocco’s southern provinces have seen the implementation of major financing projects in the fields of health, infrastructure, training, industry, agriculture, renewable energy, and sea fishing.
As well, the reforms and development projects King Mohammed VI launched in Morocco’s southern regions have built an atmosphere of stability, democracy, and prosperity as the population enjoys full political, economic, and social rights.
Algeria’s role in the dispute
The text also condemns Algeria’s role in the conflict, which consists of funding, housing, arming, and giving a platform to the separatist Polisario Front that claims to represent the self-styled Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
The manifesto denounces “the actions taken by Algeria since 1975 aimed at undermining the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco, in violation of the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on the Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States carried by Resolution 2625 of the General Assembly.”
Emphasizing Algeria’s undeniable responsibility in the prolongation of the regional dispute, the members of the Platform call on Algiers “to remain engaged in a spirit of realism and compromise in the roundtable process, throughout its duration and so that it succeeds.”
The manifesto goes on to “demand that Algeria respect its obligations under international humanitarian law and put an end to the situation of lawlessness that prevails in the Tindouf camps.”
Algeria’s “illegal delegation of authority in the camps to the Polisario” laid the groundwork for “the worst human rights violations in this part of Algerian territory,” the text argues.
Morocco’s autonomy initiative
To conclude the manifesto in support of Morocco’s territorial integrity, the members of the International Platform reaffirm that the Autonomy Plan is “the one and only solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.”
The plan would allow the region’s inhabitants to autonomously manage their social, economic, and political development while Morocco would manage Western Sahara’s defense and diplomacy.
The UN Security Council and scores of international observers and states acknowledge Morocco’s Autonomy Plan as a realistic, pragmatic approach to solving the territorial dispute.
Following a trend that has been building for years, the latest Security Council Resolution 2548 on Western Sahara recognizes the Moroccan autonomy initiative as a solid basis for negotiations aiming to reach a final solution to the conflict.
The Platform’s manifesto calls on the Security Council and the international community to support the search for a “realistic, pragmatic, lasting political solution based on compromise.”