His Excellency Mr Mohamed MAEL-AININ
Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco
17 Terrigal Crescent O’Malley ACT 2606
(02) 6290 0744

Re: Statement of solidarity with the Saharawi people following recent attack on civilians

Dear Ambassador

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), being a long-standing supporter of the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination and justice, was alarmed to learn of the recent attack on Saharawi civilians.

The ACTU has been informed that in the early hours of Monday 8th November the Moroccan army and security forces attacked an estimated 20,000 Saharawi civilian protesters in the makeshift protest camp where they had been living for a month. Western Sahara is now under siege and a state of emergency is declared.

The Sahrawi citizens set up a tent camp outside the capital of Western Sahara, El Aauin to protest peacefully their treatment and demand the respect of their basic rights. The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on 16 November 2010 and “deplored the violence in El Aaiun and Gdaim Izyk camp, and expressed their condolences over the deaths and injuries that resulted.”

The United Nations has repeatedly promised the Saharawi the right to self-determination, but Morocco has blocked efforts to hold a referendum that includes the option of independence.

The ACTU, which represents two million workers and strongly supports of democratic rights, abhors this aggression against Saharawi civilians and calls on the Kingdom of Morocco to fully respect the basic human rights of the Sahawari people and allow them to exercise their rights to self-determination.

The ACTU also calls on Morocco to immediately release all the Saharawi detainees and to allow the media, NGOs and international observers full access to the camp.

I hope that you will pay prompt attention to this very serious matter and look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely
Ged Kearney
Cc: The Hon Kevin Rudd, Foreign Affairs Minister
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights