Agirre Center
2018/11/06 09:00:00 GMT+1
Agirre Lehendakaria Center (ALC) held on November 6 in Gasteiz a conference on the conflict in Western Sahara. More than 140 people gathered in the Luis de Ajuria Room to listen to the reflections of Juan Jose Ibarretxe, Director of ALC, and Raabub Mohamed Lamin Mehdi, Saharawi doctor and president of the humanitarian association Doctora Beituha. The conference, in view of the concurrence, evidenced the diversity and plurality of the people attending, as well as the opinions expressed there: Saharawi refugees, Colombians and people from other African countries took part in an interesting and enriching colloquium.

Juan Jose Ibarretxe showed his support for the Saharawi cause. He warned of the risk of disappearance of this people. In this sense, he maintained that “every time we allow a people to disappear, we also place ours closer to oblivion”. And, from his own experience, he added that his visit to the Saharawi camps, in 2002, marked him during his mandate as Lehendakari.

After this introduction, Raabub Mohamed Lamin Mehdi explained the current situation of the Saharawi people, helped by an explanatory video (Incrustar video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34AKHqo5vEY&feature=youtu.be).She underlined the human rights violations committed by Morocco and was critical on the international community. Firstly, with the Government of Spain, which has a historical responsibility for the situation of the Saharawi people. Secondly, with the European Union, which continues to sign treaties with Morocco for the exploitation of resources in Western Sahara, when the European Union's own Court of Justice has ruled that the Saharawi territory is not part of Morocco. And finally, with the UN, which has not been able to implement the plans for the decolonisation of the Sahara. On the other hand, as suggested by the public, the Organisation of African States can play an important role in strengthening the organisation's role in the region.

Throughout the conference the fear of a return to the armed conflict flew over. Raabub Mohamed Lamin Mehdi herself warned of the risk that young people will lose patience after more than 25 years of ceasefire by the Polisario Front. Abdulah Arabi, Delegate of the Saharawi government in the Basque Country, was emphatic in affirming that the solution to the conflict must lie in peaceful means.

Finally, both the Director of ALC and Raabub Mohamed Lamin Mehdi stressed the role of women in the camps, as they are the main responsibleS for their organisation. However, the human development achieved in these camps, is at risk due to the significant cut in international aids. This is due to the fact that the conflict in the Sahara has disappeared from the media agenda. As Juan Jose Ibarretxe said, “what is not told, is no longer a problem”and that is the great danger for the Saharawi people: may their situation be forgotten.