Algeria: It is the duty of the Decolonization committee to maintain Saharawi people’s faith in the UN peace process

Portsmouth (Dominica) 26 August 2021 (SPS)- Algerian Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Sofiane Mimouni, considered that the Decolonization Committee has a historical and legal duty to maintain Saharawi people’s faith in the UN peace process in western Sahara.

In his statement before the Regional Seminar of the Special Committee on Decolonization, the Algerian Ambassador considered that “it is the historical, political, and legal duty of this committee to ensure that their (Saharawi) faith in the international legality and the United Nations peace process is not lost.”

He further estimated that “the people of Western Sahara were and are still open to collaboration with the United Nations, to ensure the completion of the decolonization of their land through the holding of a free and credible referendum under the auspices of the United Nations.”

He regretted however the lack of progress in the work of the Committee in the remaining 17 non-self-governing territory on the UN Decolonisation list since the sixties considering that this task is more than overdue.

 

It is “worrisome (he said) that after three decades dedicated to eradicate colonialism, we have only succeeded in de-listing one non-self-governing territories that is Timor Leste in 2002.”

following is the full text of the statement delivered by the Algerian Permanent Representative to the UN, as received by SPS:

 

Statement by

H.E. Mr. Sofiane MIMOUNI

Ambassador, Permanent Representative 

of Algeria to the United Nations

on

Western Sahara

Before 

The regional seminar of the Special Committee on Decolonization 

Portsmouth, 26 August 2021

Mrs. Chairperson,

At the outset, I would like to express my gratitude to the Government and the People of Dominica for their hospitality and for providing us with such excellent arrangements during challenging times. My thanks also go to the Chair as well as the members of the C24 for offering us this opportunity to contribute to the debate on how to advance the role and the achievements of this important Committee.

Mrs. Chairperson, 

Since the adoption of the Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples sixty years ago, the special committee has been striving to accompany the non-self-governing territories on their path to decolonization.

It is however, worrisome that after three decades dedicated to eradicate colonialism, we have only succeeded in de-listing one non-self-governing territories that is Timor Leste in 2002. With the technological evolution, the political emancipation of most of nations in the world and the world-wide endorsement and promotion of Human rights, we're still creeping with the unacceptable subjection of people to occupation and exploitation. 

Nevertheless, this disheartening observation should not deflect us from our objective or make us question the validity of the mandate entrusted to the Committee by the General Assembly in 1961. On the contrary, it should remind us of our duty to end swiftly colonialism in all its forms and manifestations, through building on our success and reflecting on our setbacks to reinvigorate the action of the Committee and find ways to ensure decolonization of all the non-self-governing territories.

Although lacking, the efforts and the accomplishment of the special committee remain laudable. And as reflected in the theme of this year’s seminar, there is a need for a renewed commitment to the mandate of the Committee and a fair and firm action of its members and the international community to preserve the political and economic rights of the people of the non-self-governing territories.

The path is already here, we have our plan of action and all what is needed now is courage and integrity to exhaust all the existing tools, which in many cases the committee was not able to use. To this end, my delegation firmly believes that there is no room for filibustering when it comes to the rights of peoples, and that the most pragmatic and agile way to achieve the goal of decolonization is to ensure the full collaboration of the administrating or occupying powers, in good faith, in accordance with the purposes and objectives of the UN Charter and mostly and primarily in respect of the will of the people of the non-self-governing territories. 

Mrs Chairperson, 

The issue of Western Sahara has been with the Committee for 58 years since its inscription on the agenda of the General Assembly. Regrettably the UN, including this august committee registered very little advancement with regard to the process of holding a free referendum to allow the people of this non-self-governing territory to exercise its right to self-determination. This process has been facing multiple barriers and a clear desire to deviate it from the goal set for it. These decades of inaction have led to the significant deterioration of the situation on the ground with the collapse of the cease fire, the resumption of hostilities, the absence of prospect for the peace process and the vacancy of the position of Personal envoy for now more than two years. 

The current situation in Western Sahara is another chapter in the disruptive policy adopted by the occupying state, which aims at hampering all initiatives and opportunities to secure a just and definitive solution of the question of Western Sahara. It started with the UN-OAU settlement plan, formally accepted in 1991 by the Kingdom of Morocco and the Frente Polisario, and endorsed by the UN Security Council, which provided for the organization by the United Nations of a referendum in Western Sahara free from all administrative and military constraints. This was followed by decades of initiatives and negotiations ending all in the same way : failure.

Unfortunately, and even in the midst of global pandemic, this policy didn't change, it rather escalated subjecting the Sahrawi people to grave violations of their human and political rights, while their natural resources are being plundered.

This long history of failure in the peace process in Western Sahara could be summed in the fact that since its launching very crucial components were missing from the same party to the conflict "Good faith and political will" without which no initiative can succeed.

Mrs Chairperson, 

Agility has been a daily exercise of the People of Western Sahara to overcome the harsh living conditions and the continuous deprivation of their basic rights. They have demonstrated over years their willingness to overcome adversity, the distortion of the truth and all the baseless attempts to scorn their identity and their fight for independence. 

And yet, the people of Western Sahara were and are still open to collaboration with the United Nations, to ensure the completion of the decolonization of their land through the holding of a free and credible referendum under the auspices of the United Nations. 

It is the historical, political, and legal duty of this committee to ensure that their faith in the international legality and the United Nations peace process is not lost. The security council including in its most recent resolution last October on Western Sahara, Resolution 2548 (2020), set the parameter of the solution for the issue of Western Sahara by calling the two parties to engage in negotiation without precondition and in good faith to attain a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. This is the most pragmatic approach, that ought to be supported by this august committee and the General Assembly. 

It is therefore important for the C24 to level up its action. We encourage the Committee to use all the tools it possesses, including visiting mission, to ensure the protection of the political, economic, social, and cultural rights of the people of Western Sahara particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and to support the successful completion of the process of decolonization.

We remain hopeful that reason and legality will prevail. Algeria will continue to support the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the African Union, to resume direct negotiations between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Frente Polisario to achieve a positive outcome that ensures the free exercise by the people of Western Sahara of their inalienable right to self-determination. 

Algeria for its part will continue its support to the people of Western Sahara, and those of the non-self-governing territories as dictated by the duty of solidarity to colonial people and countries.

In the end, we must remain aware that while we are debating, the lives and the future of millions of people are being directly impacted by those deliberations, and we owe to them that their will to preside over their destiny is heard and respected. 

I thank you.” (SPS)

 

090/500/60 (SPS)