Sahara Rise – The International Civil Resistance Conference, named after martyr Deida uld Yazid, was held on February 25, 26 and 27, 2018 at the Martir Malek Mohamed School in the Wilaya of Smara in the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf.
The conference was attended by dozens of Sahrawi organizations active in the refugee camps and in the occupied territories of Western Sahara. The conference also has the support of different international human rights organizations and support the struggle of the Saharawi people. More than 120 participants representing different Sahrawi organizations and specialists from countries such as Algeria, Palestine, South Africa, Sweden, Tunisia, Germany, the United States, Spain and Denmark were in attendance.
At the conference, several exhibitions were presented and workshops were organized with the aim of constructing and implementing a strategy of resistance to end the Moroccan occupation in Western Sahara. The first day began with a moment of silence in memory of the Saharawi martyr, former political prisoner Mohamed Alayoubi and all the martyrs of the Saharawi cause and those of just causes in the world. After, the presidential table of the conference was established and the activities commenced. First, the Saharawi experience in civil resistance and the struggle against different forces of colonization and the trajectory of the Saharawi people in the construction of a state and its institutions was outlined and overviewed. The Sahrawi presentations were carried out by activists from the occupied territories such as Brahim Dahan and Mina Baali, as well as the activists from the Gdeim Izik Hasanna Aaalia group. The president of the NOVA in Western Sahara, Maglaha Hamma and the General Secretary of the National Union of Saharawi Women, Fatma Mehdi also took the floor. Pepe Taboada, president of CEAS Sahara spoke on behalf of the international solidarity movement alongside the cause of the Saharawi people.
During the panel of international presentations of other nonviolent civil resistance movements, the audience listened to the experience of the South African activist Magdalene Moonsamey talking about her role in the South African struggle against the Apartheid regime. The Palestinian experience was also represented and conveyed its primary focus on the effectiveness of economic boycotts as a way of fighting and civil disobedience against the Israeli occupation. This perspective was presented by Mr. Mahmoud Nawajaa, coordinator of the BSD movement in Palestine. Ahmed Galai, member of the Tunisian League of Human Rights and Inés Tlili, an activist in Tunisian civil society and member of the NOVACT group, compared and contrasted the experience of Tunisia in the civil, non-violent struggle for human rights and freedom.
On the second day, the conference continued and the audience heard the reflections of two experts in nonviolence: Stellan Vintaghen and Marti Olivella.
Also, during the second day, participants were divided into different working groups to attend a workshop on the possible topics through which the strategy of nonviolent civil resistance could focus and to elect a defining the campaign that will be launched at the end of the conference that targets the Moroccan occupation. The day workshops focused on the following topics: human rights, natural resources, resistance and political prisoners. The working groups concluded the day by presenting various results and strategies implemented to focus their efforts on a strategic campaign to abolish the depletion of the natural resources of Western Sahara by Morocco. The election of a natural resources campaign was the most supported among the participants of the conference and reflects significant momentum in this regard in the occupied territories of Western Sahara. This was primarily motivated by a positive ruling from the Supreme Court of South Africa, which stated that phosphate cargo vessels retained for months in South Africa were illegally seized from the Saharawi people and the SADR. In contrast, there was significant interest in contesting a ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union which excludes Western Sahara from fishing agreements between Morocco and the European Union.
That same day, a symbolic referendum was held under the slogan “independence now” and aimed to show the perseverance of the Saharawi people and their insistence on exercising their right to choose their future and build a sovereign state through self-determination.
The participating Sahrawi organizations at the conference committed themselves to continue their struggle in a peaceful and nonviolent way.
The conference appealed to representatives of the international community which vowed to assist in the:
– Establishment of a fixed date to celebrate the Saharawi referendum of self-determination
– Assurance that human rights are respected in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.
– Ending to the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of occupied Western Sahara.
– Pressuring Morocco to release all Saharawi political prisoners.
– Call for the destruction of the wall of shame that constitutes a crime against humanity.
The conference concluded its program through establishing a monitoring device to all the decisions and recommendations adopted during the conference, especially those related to the defense of natural resources, human rights and the release of political prisoners.
Prior to the official closure of events, an act of solidarity with the Saharawi political prisoners was held and the participants celebrated the historic ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which explicit established that trade agreements between Morocco and the EU cannot include to the territory of Western Sahara.
“Strength, determination and will to impose independence and sovereignty ”
Saharawi Organizations at the occupied territory and in the Saharawi refugee camps
Asociación de Familiares de Presos y Desaparecidos Saharauis (AFAPREDESA) · NOVA Sáhara Occidental · Equipe Media · UNMS · UGTSARIO · Unión de Periodistas y Escritores Saharauis (UPES) · Unión de Juristas Saharauis (UJS) · Asociación de Abogados Saharauis (UAS) · Asociación de Víctimas de Minas (ASAVIM) · Campaña Saharaui para la sensibilización sobre el peligro de Minas (SCBL) · Observatorio Saharaui de Recursos Naturales · Comisión Nacional Saharaui de Derechos Humanos (CONASADH) · Unión Nacional de Mujeres Saharauis (UNMS) · Unión Nacional de Trabajadores de Saguia El Hamra y Rio de Oro (UGTSARIO) · Unión Nacional de la Juventud de Saguia El Hamra y Rio de Oro (UJSARIO) · Unión Nacional de Estudiantes de Saguia El Hamra y Rio de Oro (UESARIO) · Unión de Periodistas y Escritores Saharauis (UPES) · Colectivo Saharaui de Defensores de DDHH CODESA · Asociación Saharaui de Victimas (ASVDH) · Comite Defensa del Derecho de Autodeterminación CODAPSO · Comité de Familiares de Martires y Desparecidos · Liga de Defensa de los Presos Políticos Saharauis · Comité de Familiares de los Presos Políticos Saharauis · Comité de Familiares de Los 15 Jóvenes Secuestrados · Coordinadora de las Ongs en Al Aaiún · Comité de Protección de los Recursos Naturales · Asociación Saharaui de Control de los Recursos Naturales y la Protección Del Medio Ambiente · Asociación Saharaui para la Protección de la Cultura · Coordinadora de Gdeim Izik · Fórum Futuro de la Mujer Saharaui · Observatorio Saharaui De Protección Del · Coordinadora Gnaidlaf · Asociación de Discapacitados Saharauis · Comité Saharaui de Defensa de DDHH Smara · Comité de Protección de los Defensores Saharauis Freedom Sun- Smara · Asociación Saharaui Contra La Tortura S.O · Liga Saharaui de Defensa de DDHH y Protección de Rw –Bojador · Coordinadora Saharaui de DDHH de Tantan · Comité de Defensa de DDHH de Goulimi · Grupo Contra La Nacionalidad Marroquí · Centro de Conservación de la Memoria · Asociación saharaui de protección de la cultura y patrimonio saharaui
Federació ACAPS · Instituto Internacional para la Acción No Violenta (NOVACT) · Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation (SweFOR)· CEAS-Sahara · Consell de Joventut de Barcelona (CJB) · Afrikagrupperna · Praktisk Solidaritet · Emmaus Stockholm · Servei Civil Internacional de Catalunya (SCI) ·Consell Nacional de Joventut de Catalunya (CNJC) · Cooperació Osona Sàhara (COOOS) · Sahara Acción Granada· Asociación Arena
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Oriol Puig Morant
Lluís Rodríguez i Capdevila
Mayka Guerao Enríquez
Sara Pujalte López
Marta Aoiz Linares
Carmen María Roger Padilla
Anselmo Fariña Melián
Fernando Lorenzo Abril
Enjeeh Maaruf Sid-Ahmed
Brahim Ahmed Said
Abdel Wadud AbdelAziz
Labeidi Embarek Dah-Salama
Lafdal Saleh Mohamed
Mahmuda LehsanAicha Babait
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Ayda Abdo Mahmoud
Abdeslam Omar Lahsen
Abba El Haisen
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Sid Ahmed Ahmed Mahmud
Basiri Mohamed Salem
Baibat Mustafa Abdelhay
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Sid Ahmed Ahmed Mahmud
Juan Pedro Higuero Rodriguez