Ontwikkelingen in Westelijke Sahara bedreigen stabiliteit in de regio


Gewapend conflict dreigt in de regio rond de Westelijke Sahara. Dat stelt ontwikkelingsorganisatie Oxfam vandaag. De ngo toont zich erg bezorgd over onder meer de uitwijzing van 73 VN-blauwhelmen en de sluiting van het verbindingskantoor van de VN-missie in Dakhla. 

Oxfam calls on governments to reaffirm the role and peacekeeping mandate of the United Nations in Western Sahara and to encourage all parties to urgently return to the negotiating table. Oxfam echoes the UN’s call for a just and lasting political resolution acceptable to all parties, including the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

Since the onset of the conflict in 1975, many Sahrawi refugees have lived in refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria. Oxfam has provided humanitarian assistance in these camps for the past 40 years.

Soazic Dupuy, head of Oxfam’s work in the camps

“Abandoning negotiation and the UN peacekeeping process increases the risk of violence and needlessly prolongs the conflict. Four decades- nearly three generations - is far too long to expect anyone to live as a refugee. Restarting negotiations is urgent and essential for regional stability, and is the best way to avoid any escalation of the conflict. Sahrawi youth know nothing other than life as refugees. They deserve a negotiated peace process and the opportunity to live a just and dignified life.”

Conditions in Sahrawi camps are extremely difficult, especially after devastating floods at the end of 2015. Despite great need, international humanitarian funding for Sahrawi refugees has dropped more than 30% since 2012. With negotiations now in jeopardy, and UN peacekeepers on their way out of the region, the international community must quickly escalate its diplomatic efforts to push for a long-overdue resolution to the conflict in order to avoid further deterioration of the humanitarian crisis.

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Belinda Torres Leclercq

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Sotiris Gassialis

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