AU condemns Crans Montana Forum in occupied Western Sahara
The African Union has issued a strong declaration condemning the plans of the Swiss organisation Crans Montana to hold their Forum in Dakhla, occupied Western Sahara, "as it is a grave violation of the International Law". Read the full Declaration here.
Crans Montana Forum, a Monaco-based international organisation that bring together world leaders to discuss current issues in international politics, is hosting a Forum on "South-South Cooperation and the African Dimension" from 12-14 March in Dakhla, occupied Western Sahara. The Forum would take place under the patronage of the king of Morocco, the country that holds a large part of Western Sahara, incuding the town of Dakhla, under illegal occupation since 1975. Click the photo of the event's advertisement to the right for a larger version.
The African Union (AU) has now issued a Declaration calling on Crans Montana Forum to cancel its Dakhla plans. The African Union represents all African countries, including the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, the Western Sahara Republic in exile. For that reason, Morocco is not a member of the AU, as the only country on the African continent.
ASSEMBLY OF THE UNION Twenty-Fourth Ordinary Session 30 - 31 January 2015 Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA
DECLARATION ON THE ORGANIZATION OF CRANS MONTANA FORUM IN THE OCCUPIED CITY OF DAKHLA, WESTERN SAHARA
We, the Heads of States and Governments of the African Union, having met at our Twenty Fourth Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 30 to 31 January 2015;
Taking Note of the recommendation of the Executive Council to issue a declaration on the organization of Crans Montana Forum in the occupied city of Dakhla (Western Sahara) on 12-14 March 2015 ;
Recalling all decisions and resolutions adopted by the OAU/AU and UN on the Situation in Western Sahara;
Bearing in mind the efforts undertaken by the UN and AU to achieve a just and lasting solution of the question of Western Sahara in accordance with the UN Charter and Resolution 1514 adopted in 1960 related to the decolonisation;
1. REAFIRM the decision EX.CL/Dec.758(XXII) endorsed by the Assembly of the Union which inter alia “ Requests the Commission to take all the necessary measures for the organization of a referendum for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in compliance with the relevant OAU/AU Decisions and UN Resolutions” and the Assembly decision (Assembly/AU/Dec.536(XXIII)), adopted by the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly held in Malabo on June 2014 ;
2. EXPRESS support to the efforts made by the Chairperson of the AUC and the AU Special Envoy, the former President of Mozambique, H.E Joaquim Chissano, in coordination and complementarity with the efforts made by the UNSG Personal Envoy on Western Sahara, H.E. Ambassador Christopher Ross;
3. CONSIDER that the organisation of any international conference in the current circumstances in Western Sahara is in contradiction with the efforts made by the International Community to resolve the conflict in Western Sahara, and can only create an atmosphere of confrontation in the territory;
4. URGE the Swiss International Organization “Crans Montana” and all other organizers to cancel the meeting planned in the occupied city of Dakhla (Western Sahara), as it is a grave violation of the International Law;
5. CALL UPON the AU Member States, African Civil Society and all Organisations not to participate in this Forum, scheduled from 12th to the 14th March 2015 in the occupied city of Dakhla (Western Sahara);
6. REQUEST the Commission to take all necessary measures to ensure the follow up of this declaration.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.