Press Release: Please, make peace in Western Sahara!
A new Norwegian peace initiative, the Please Prize, asks for peace in Western Sahara. The objective of the Please Prize is to initiate to peace processes, and this year it is awarded to a potential peace trio in Western Sahara. The prize might come in handy after Ban Ki-Moons visit to the Saharawi refugee camps.
The Please Prize has a simple objective: «please make peace!» Unlike other prizes, the Please Prize seeks to inspire politicians and world leaders to initiate peace processes, instead of rewarding already accomplished results. The prize is awarded to the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, the President of Western Sahara and the King of Morocco, for the potential peace process in Western Sahara.
The initiator of the prize, the student organisation SAIH (the Students and Academics International Assistance Fund) says that the recent developments in the region shows that fresh initiatives and new ideas are needed.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon visited the Sahrawi refugee camps this week. His visit caused dramatic but predictable, negative Moroccan reactions. However he stressed that the Sahrawi people deserve a better future, and reiterated his call for negotiations. We believe Norway could bring positive dynamic into the negotiations as a neutral part with good relationships with both parties, says the President of SAIH, Nicklas Poulsen Viki.
Western Sahara, a country, on the size of Britain, has been partly occupied of Morocco since 1975. The UN does not recognize Morocco's annexation of the former Spanish colony, and treat Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory. In 1991, the parties signed a peace plan, including a goal of conducting a referendum. 25 years after, the referendum has still not been held, and the parties are further apart than ever before.
By supporting the UN negotiations, which is the official Norwegian stance, we are in reality supporting status quo. It is time to leave the colonial times behind us. There is a strong Norwegian public commitment for peace in Western Sahara, and the Norwegian government has the chance and also a duty to harness this commitment into concrete measures for peace, says Viki.
The intercultural university URACCAN recently delivered the progress report on the implementation of its Improvement Plan to the National Council for Evaluation and Accreditation (CNEA). The report is another milestone in the long process for achieving official quality accreditation.