Pan African Club-Uganda calls for changing venue of Futsal African Cup of Nations from occupied El-Aaiun

Kampala (Uganda), 1 January 2020 (SPS) -  The Pan African Club-Uganda has strongly condemned the hosting of the 2020 Africa FUTSAL Cup of Nations in the Moroccan occupied El-Aaiun city of Western Sahara, calling for changing the venue of the tournament to a place that is within the internationally recognized borders of Morocco, in a statement issued today, Saturday.

The statement also called that “all participating countries should follow the example of South Africa and Mauritius and immediately withdraw from the on-going Futsal Cup of nations as a form of solidarity to African Sahrawi brothers and sisters who are grappling with gross violations of human rights by the Moroccan occupational forces.”

The following is the full text of the statement:

“Condemnation of hosting the 2020 Africa FUTSAL Cup of Nations in the Moroccan occupied El-Aaiun city of Western Sahara

1. The Pan African Club (PAC) is a national think tank of mainly youths who have a great passion for Pan Africanism in Uganda. We hold interactive intellectual discussions on topical issues aiming at analyzing Africa’s challenges and possible opportunities to generate homemade solutions. PAC has affiliated associations in Universities.

2. We have studied the decision by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to host the now on-going FUTSAL 2020 African Cup of Nations in El-Aaiun – the Moroccan occupied City of Western Sahara and resolved to condemn the decision in the strongest terms with clear legitimate demands in a statement hereby issued as follows:

3. Western Sahara is the only African territory still under direct colonial rule. To date, the United Nations describes Western Sahara as a “Non-Self Governing Territory”. Former UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in his capacity as Secretary General of the UN is on record referring to Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara as an occupation. As for the African Union, Western Sahara proclaimed by Polisario Front as Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) remains the only African territory under colonial rule.

4. The International Court of Justice ruled that indigenous Sahrawis not Morocco, should have self-determination over Western Sahara. This position was reinforced in 2016 when the European Court of Justice ruled that Western Sahara is not part of Moroccan territory.

5. We were therefore shocked to learn that CAF, a body of high reputation in which we have much pride as Pan Africanists agreed to Morocco’s hoodwinking gimmick to host Futsal African Tournament in a military occupied city of Western Sahara which is undergoing a globally recognized decolonization process. This action stands strongly condemned.

6. The people of Western Sahara continue to suffer severe violations of their human rights committed by Moroccan occupation authorities and many of these violations have been considered as crimes against humanity by many credible well-known international organizations such as: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Front Line and US State Department of Human Rights. Our concern therefore is that CAF should not be seen to endorse such violations when at least it should have maintained neutrality in the Western Sahara – Morocco conflict.

7. The African Union in its assembly held in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2015 condemned the organization of Crans Montana Forum in the occupied city of Dakhla of Western Sahara as a flagrant violation of international law and called upon the AU Member states, African Civil Society and all Organizations not to participate in the Forum. We condemn the hosting of Futsal African Cup of Nations in an occupied city of Western Sahara by CAF because there is this precedent by AU, which should have guided CAF not to make such a mistake because it has a negative impact on the rights of the African Sahrawis.

8. We would like to emphasize that it should not have been CAF to open the “bleeding wounds” of the suffering people of Western Sahara. We recall that when the people of Western Sahara took to the streets on 19th July 2019 in hundreds to peacefully celebrate a well-deserved victory of Algeria’s football team in African Cup of Nations which was organized by CAF, the Moroccan security forces mercilessly attacked them using truncheons, tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and stones. This resulted into deliberate fatal injuries on the people of Western Sahara. On the same fateful day, many innocent Saharawi Civilians were arrested and detained in unknown places by Moroccan forces while a young lady’s life by the name Sabah Osman Hamida just aged 24 was snatched away by the Moroccan forces when their two invading cars overran her. This too is now understood as a deliberate murder of a young woman by the unapologetic Moroccan regime. Sadly, we are not aware that CAF condemned this primitive attack on innocent African Sahrawi fans of a tournament which CAF itself had organized.

Going forward, we would like to make the following demands and proposals:

a) CAF should ask Morocco to change the venue of the on-going Futsal African Cup of Nations from the Western Saharan City of El-Aaiun to a place that is within the internationally recognized borders of Morocco short of which, the tournament should be stopped immediately and severe penalties imposed on Morocco by CAF.

b) CAF should apologize to the African people, the African Union, the United Nations, African Civil Society and Organizations for organizing a reputable tournament in a disputed area which has implications of undermining the ongoing internationally recognized decolonization process.

c) All participating countries should follow the example of South Africa and Mauritius and immediately withdraw from the on-going Futsal Cup of nations as a form of solidarity to African Sahrawi brothers and sisters who are grappling with gross violations of human rights by the Moroccan occupational forces.

d) CAF should with immediate effect withdraw its ban on South Africa and Mauritius from the next two editions of African Futsal Cup of Nations because Africans cannot be penalized for refusing to cooperate with decisions whose implications are fostering illegal territorial occupation and suffering of innocent fellow Africans. If this is not done, a question would then arise in the minds of many Africans if not all, as to whose interest is CAF working!!

e) The African Union should pronounce itself on the hosting of Futsal Cup of Nations in the illegally occupied El-Aaiun City of Western Sahara by Morocco just as it did in 2015 when the same aggressor was organizing Crans Montana Forum in the illegally occupied City of Dakhla in Western Sahara.

f) All the African people in our various formations including the media should be a messenger of peace and independence for Western Sahara as a noble goal and responsibility of fighting injustice, oppression, human rights violations and aggression of a brother country of African Union.

Signed;

John Ngabirano,

Coordinator, PAC

For and on behalf of Pan African Club, Uganda.

CC: Chairman of African Union

CC: President of the Republic of Uganda

CC: Secretary General, United Nations

CC: President, Federation of International Football Association (FIFA)

CC: President of Confederation of African Football (CAF)

CC: Media Houses” (SPS)

062/SPS