AFAPREDESA, joined the calls launched by South African Trade Union, COSATU, and Saharawi UGTSARIO to the components of the World Social Forum, and all progressive forces around the world to clearly express rejection and condemn the decision of the International Council to organise its meeting in a colonial country such as Morocco.
Here is the complete text of the open letter published today by AFAPREDESA and addressed to the international public opinion about the matter:
Saharawi Refugee camps, April 02, 2009.
The Association for the Families of Saharawi Prisoners and the Disappeared (AFAPREDESA) position regarding World Social Forum’s decision to host next International Council meeting in Morocco
After consultations with the rest of the members of the Saharawi Social Forum, AFAPREDESA would like to express its deep indignation and astonishment about the decision to hold the next meeting of the International Council of the World Social Forum in Morocco. AFAPREDESA’s position is adopted for the following reasons:
- The holding of the meeting of an organisation as influential as this one in an occupying country that is daily oppressing the Saharawi people is a contradiction of the Charter of Principles of Porto Alegre, which clearly declares in Article 10: "The World Social Forum is opposed to all totalitarian and reductionist views of economy, development and history, and to the use of violence as a means of social control by the State. It upholds respect for human rights and the practices of genuine, participatory democracy, peaceful relations, equality and solidarity among ethnicities, genders and peoples; and it condemns all forms of domination and subjection of one person to another".
- The hosting country of this meeting, the kingdom of Morocco, shows its scorn and arrogance in the face of the resolutions of the international community regarding the decolonization of the Western Sahara. Morocco continues its refusal to hold a just and fair referendum on self-determination within the framework of the UN-OAU peace plan that was accepted by the two parties to the conflict, Morocco and Polisario Front, in 1991. Worse still, Moroccan forces of occupation in the Western Sahara continue their policies of repression and terror against the defenceless civilian Saharawi population, a fact which has been proven by reports by international human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch (2008), Amnesty International, the Word Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), and international bodies such as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (report of the 2006 mission) and the Ad-hoc Mission of the European Parliament to Western Sahara (report of March 2009), among other reports.
- True, the various members of the Moroccan Social Forum have shown a great degree of maturity in making an effort to contribute to the reconciliation of the visions of the Saharawi and Moroccan peoples in search of alternative solutions, such as the establishment of the Maghreb of the Peoples–a move that we embraced, mainly by facilitating the organisation of the first Maghreb Social Forum held in El Jadida (in Morocco) without the participation of the party of the Saharawi Social Forum in Exile. Still, we are astonished that the Moroccan Social Forum has submitted an invitation to host a meeting of the International Council of the World Social Forum.
- Unlike the members of the Israeli Social Forum, all parties included, who regularly and openly denounce the criminal actions of Israel against the Palestinian people, the Moroccan Social Forum does not express opposition to the crimes committed on a daily basis by the troops of their country against the Saharawi civilian population in the occupied territories of Western Sahara. Worse, some of the representatives of the Morocan Social Forum still defend the totalitarian, reductionist and colonialist vision in defending the notion of the so-called "Moroccan Sahara" while they know that the occupation by Morocco of a part of the territory of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic is a flagrant violation of the international legality and undermines the stability and progress of the Great Maghreb. The deplorable role played by the Moroccan trade unions is very illustrative, since they participate every day in the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara, especially in regard to mineral and fish resources.
For all the aforementioned reasons, AFAPREDESA launches an urgent appeal to the boycott of this meeting of the international Council of the World Social Forum as long as an end is not put to the occupation of Western Sahara.
Abdeslam Omar Lahsen
President of AFAPREDESA