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As Morocco cracks down on Western Sahara, why has former coloniser Spain shown so little interest?
22/11/2010

   

 

By: Sancho in Spain
   

GIBRALTAR -- The Polisario Front, the group seeking the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco, has spoken of its dismay at the lack of support from Spain, it′s former colonial ruler, following the violent dismantling of a protest camp at Gdeim Izik earlier this month. Spanish premier, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, is accused by the group of showing “little interest” in the matter.
In statements to Saharan journalists, the prime minister of the self proclaimed RASD government, Abdelkader Taleb Omat, considers that Zapatero had ignored in his declaration at the NATO summit in Lisbon the serious situation existing at the Western Saharan capital of El Aaiún under Morocco′s control.

Taleb Omat spoke of his surprise that the Spanish government had not demanded an urgent independent international investigation as to why Morocco will not lift its blockade on the free access to the region of Spanish journalists and international observers to the Western Sahara. He added this would save lives and would protect the Saharans from the Moroccan policy to exterminate them.

The RASD premier also deplored the fact that Zapatero did not raise fundamental questions on a referendum for self-determination and the respect for human rights.

At the moment, it is unknown just how many have died, been seriously injured or have disappeared as a result of Morocco′s actions.

The Western Sahara was a Spanish colony and was literally dumped in to the hands of Morocco and Mauritania in the dying days of the Franco regime. Now the centre right opposition Partido Popular is turning up the heat on Zapatero and intends to raise the subject in the Spanish Upper House, the Senate. The PP says it will condemn “the serious violation of human rights” on the part of Morocco in the Western Sahara. It also wants Spain to return to its former position of openly supporting the decolonisation process.

PP Senator Alejandro Muñoz Alonso has presented a motion that calls on the government “to condemn the serious violations of human rights that have been produced” and also the controls that have impeded press freedom and the activities of professionals in the media. The PP also wants the mandate of Minurso, the United Nations force in the region, to be changed to give it competence over human rights to allow it to stop the violence.

Of course support for the Polisario Front in Spain and elsewhere has always been the fiefdom of the centre left and far left. Izquierda Unida has been outspoken over the disaster that is taking place in the Western Sahara but the PSOE government seems intent on pretending it simply isn′t happening. This has caused outrage amongst many PSOE activists who are pressing their government to change it stance. They are engaged in a series of demos, sit ins and protests – not against Morocco but their own government in Madrid.

As the old saying goes – laugh – I could cry, but in the meantime the people of the Western Sahara are dying.

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Sancho in Spain
′Sancho′ is a British journalist who has been living in Spain for nearly 20 years. He writes regularly on Spanish national, regional and local news as well as on Gibraltar as ′Sancho′ and under his real-life name, David Eade. His special interests are security, organised crime, domestic violence, politics and the environment.

 


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