Danish minister questioned over Western Sahara trade

The Danish Minister for Development Cooperation was criticized by two Danish MP’s in regard to Denmark’s and the EU’s intent to ignore the European Court of Justice ruling on trade with Moroccan colony Western Sahara.

Last Thursday in the Danish European Affairs Committee, the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs was questioned on a Danish government document that referred to EU-negotiations in regard to trade with Western Sahara. Read more of this post

Danes demand human rights mandate in Western Sahara

Dina KawarIn a letter, Danish solidarity organisation Afrika Kontakt, along with Danish MEP Rina Ronja Kari and other Danish organisations, has urged President of the United Nations Security Council Dina Kawar to give the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, MINURSO, a mandate to monitor the human rights situation in Africa’s last colony. The letter also urges the President to protect the natural resources of the indigenous population in Western Sahara, the Saharawis. Read more of this post

Western Sahara: Independence for Africa’s last colony?

Many African countries have been independent for 50 years or more. In fact, there is only one colony left on the African continent: Western Sahara.

Looking at the Western Sahara conflict today, it seems like Gordian knot, a mission impossible, an arch-typical case of realpolitik. So will Western Sahara ever become an independent country, as promised by the UN and international law? And if so, will it at least have gained its independence when many of the other African countries are celebrating their 100th anniversary as independent countries, in other words in 50 years’ time?

Western Sahara was a Spanish colony for a hundred years, but in 1975 Morocco struck a deal with Spain that meant that Moroccan (and initially Mauritanian) troops and hundreds of thousands of Moroccan civilians colonized Western Sahara instead. Read more of this post

Norge støtter selvbestemmelse for Vestsahara

Børge BrendeDen norske udenrigsminister, Børge Brende fra partiet Høyre, bekræftede fredag Norges støtte til FN’s bestræbelser for at sikre en politisk løsning i Vestsahara, der tilgodeser saharawiernes ret til selvbestemmelse, i et svar til et norsk folketingsmedlem.

”En sådan løsning må sikre den saharawiske befolkningens ret til selvbestemmelse”, skrev Børge Brende.

Ministeren beklagede samtidigt de omfattende menneskerettighedskrænkelser i det besatte Vestsahara, og understregede behovet for at tillade FN at overvåge menneskerettighedssituationen i landet. Read more of this post

Reports: Swazis starve because of undemocratic regime

The Swazi government is largely to blame for the economic recession and subsequent increasing amount of Swazis who have to skip meals due to the financial mismanagement of the Swazi government, according to recent reports from the World Economic Forum, United Nations and the Institute for Security Studies.

The reports list low growth levels, government wastefulness and corruption, and lack of democracy and accountability as some of the main reasons for the economic downturn that has led to as increasing amount of starving Swazis. Read more of this post

Siemens criticised over Western Sahara deal

A spokesperson for the United Nations Global Compact has said that they “are looking into the issue” of the deal between Siemens Denmark and the Moroccan government to build 22 windmills near El Aaaiun in occupied Western Sahara. Siemens is a participant of Global Compact, a policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with principles of human rights.

Global Compact was answering a letter from Danish solidarity organisation, Africa Contact, urging them to investigate the deal between Siemens and the Moroccan government. “It seems clear to us that Siemens, in pursuing this order, is in violation of international law – because Western Sahara is illegally occupied by Morocco and because it is illegal to deal with resources from non-self-governing territories such as Western Sahara,” the letter stated. Read more of this post

Saharawis: Now we go to war!

After 36 years in exile in a desert in South Western Algeria the Saharawis have had enough. The UN-led negotiations have not brought a viable solution to the problem of the 165.000 refugees from occupied Western Sahara that fled the advancing Moroccan troops in 1975.

“We have tried to get our land back with peaceful means for over twenty years now,” says twenty-one-year-old Mohammed who lives in the Smara refugee camp. “Twenty years of forlorn negotiations and Moroccan obstruction and delaying tactics. Now we wish to go to war to reclaim our land.” Read more of this post