Western Sahara: IMANI under fire over alleged support for Morocco

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The Ghana Forum for Western Sahara has accused Imani Ghana of consistently undermining a global campaign aimed at restoring the rights of the defenseless Saharawi population.

“The Ghana Forum for Western Sahara (FORUM) is highly disappointed in Imani Center for Policy and Education (Imani-Ghana) for consistently undermining a global campaign aimed at restoring the rights of the defenseless Saharawi population, who have been living as refugees in their homeland for more than four decades following Morocco’s illegal annexation of their territory,” the group said in a statement.

The Ghana Forum for Western Sahara has called on all lovers of freedom and justice in Ghana and the subregion “to condemn the concerted effort of Imani-Ghana and Morocco” to act in denial of the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination.

The statement signed by Mohammed Shamsudeen Shardow, secretary to the group, affirmed its support for the people of Saharawi and its political detainees in Morocco.

Below is the full statement:

Ghana Forum on Western Sahara 

PRESS STATEMENT: FORUM STRONGLY CONDEMNS THE UNDERMINING OF SAHARAWI LIBERATION STRUGGLE BY IMANI GHANA!

Attn: News Editor  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Ghana Forum for Western Sahara (FORUM) is highly disappointed in Imani Center for Policy and Education (Imani-Ghana) for consistently undermining a global campaign aimed at restoring the rights of the defenseless Saharawi population, who have been living as refugees in their homeland for more than four decades following Morocco’s illegal annexation of their territory.

After 32 years of living in the wilderness, Morocco has regained its membership in the Africa Union, a body which recognizes the sovereignty and membership of Western Sahara (The Saharawi Republic (SADR)). Imani-Ghana (an otherwise respected rights and research NGO) would assist Morocco in denying the very sovereignty and membership of Western Sahara, as recognized by Africa simply on the misguided view that running rod-shod on the rights of the Sawhawi people is justified by the economic benefits that ECOWAS and Africa as a whole will derive from such repression.

Imani’s mischievous claim was contained in a communique issued on 27 July 2021, headlined: The Imperative of Economic Recovery: How can the Resolution of the Sahara Issue Strengthen Africa´s Regional and Continental Integration. The statement exposes itself and those who issued it as impervious to well-established international norms and political rights that provided the backdrop for independence from colonial rule by the peoples of Africa.

Imani-Ghana and its Moroccan sponsors be informed that as far back as October 16, 1975, the International Court of Justice denied Morocco any claim of sovereignty over Western Sahara. Similarly, the EU embraces the Sovereignty of Western Sahara and denies the illegitimate claims of Morocco over Western Sahara, which the EU recognizes as a different and independent state. In any event, what is Morocco so afraid of that it will not cooperate with the UN to conduct a peaceful plebiscite on the self-determination of the Sahrawi people?

There is no basis, whether historical, cultural or political for the misguided and mischievous view that Western Sahara as a separatist entity, as. erroneously suggested by Imani.  Imani should be told that money alone is not everything in life and it should stop demeaning the homeland of self-determination in Africa on economist alter of short-term economic recovery.

We call on all lovers of freedom and justice in Ghana and the subregion to condemn the concerted effort of Imani-Ghana and Morocco to act in denial of the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination.
We hereby affirm our support for the people of Saharawi and its political detainees in Morocco, the Forum reiterates its previous demands:

  1. The immediate and unconditional release of all Sahrawi political prisoners being held by the Moroccan authorities.
  2.  The urgently expansion of the mandate of United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to include rights monitoring mechanisms to protect human rights of suffering Saharawi civilians; and,
  3. Holding of the much-awaited referendum for the self-determination of the people of Saharawi.
  4. Ensuring that Saharawi citizens have access to their natural resources, which are currently being plundered by Morocco.

Issued in Accra on August 15, 2021.For more information, please contact:

Mohammed Shamsudeen Shardow

Secretary,

Email: moha.shardow@gmail.com

Tel: 233 244416667

The Ghana Forum for Western Sahara was formed in Accra in 2010. It has a Steering Committee from a number of organizations including, Trade Union Congress, Socialist Movement of Ghana, among many others. It is chaired by respected Human Rights Lawyer, Akoto Ampaw. 

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