Flags fly for Western Sahara

March 6, 2010

For the second year in a row, flag-raising ceremonies in Victoria marked the anniversary of the Saharawi Republic, as a gesture of solidarity and friendship with the people of Western Sahara. The Saharawi Republic was declared on February 27, 1976. However, the country remains under Moroccan occupation.

On February 27, ceremonies took place at Fitzroy Town Hall and the Victorian Trades Hall.

Victorian Trades Hall Council assistant secretary David Cragg and other speakers at the flag raising called for release of the Cassablanca Seven.

The Cassablanca Seven are seven human rights activists who were arrested in the Moroccan city of Casablanca on October 8 after returning from a visit to the Saharawi refugee camps in the Algerian desert. They are awaiting sentence from a military court in Rabat.

In 34 years, the Saharawi Republic has achieved a great deal. The state is a member of the African Union and is recognised by more than 80 countries worldwide. In the refugee camps, they have established democratic institutions and have improved the rights of women. Literacy rates in their nation are now above 90%, one of the highest in Africa.

More than 100 United Nations resolutions have called for the organisation of a referendum to allow the Saharawis to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination but Morocco has been able to obstruct the process and defy international legality.

The Australian government should follow the example of South Africa and gave full diplomatic status to the Saharawi Republic until the Saharawi are given the opportunity to vote on self-determination, as agreed to as part of the 1991 United Nations-brokered ceasefire.

[Ron Guy is a member of the Australian Western Sahara Association.]

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.