Activists from around the world demand #ReferendumNow in social media
Between Sunday and Tuesday morning, 68 international peace activists were deported by Moroccan police as they tried to enter the occupied territories of Western Sahara. Now their demand for a #ReferendumNow is going viral in social media.
- We are amazed that the call for the implementation of the referendum and a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Western Sahara, has gone viral, says Inga Riseth, vice president of the Norwegian Students' and Academics' International Assistance Fund (SAIH), one of the organizations behind this initiative.
Coined the "Norwegian Peace Initiative", the visit was meant to draw attention to the human rights violations against Saharawi citizens and to call for a peaceful solution to a 40-year-old conflict through a referendum on the status of the territory. Even though only one activist reached the capital of Western Sahara, El Aaiún, activists characterize the campaign as a success, as the hashtag #ReferendumNow is going viral in social media.
- We joined this initiative to draw attention to one of the world's forgotten conflicts, and to show support for the Saharawi human rights activists fight for independence, states the president of the Norwegian Young Conservatives, Kristian Tonning Riise.
- Morocco has been allowed to delay this process for decades and they will never give up the occupation without pressure from the international community. If nobody is willing to raise their voice, the Saharawi peoples suffering, in exile and in the occupied territories, will never stop, states vice president of the Workers' Youth League, Emilie Bersaas.
The peace activists believe now is the time for decision-makers to get on stage.
- We now ask activists to hold their governments accountable for the injustice taking place in Western Sahara, and demand that they act to uphold international law. We won't give up until the people of Western Sahara have achieved their right to self-determination, closes Inga Marie Nymo Riseth.
The campaign was initiated by a broad specter of youth- and civil society organizations in Norway, including the youth wings of the two biggest political parties in Norway, the Norwegian Young Conservatives and The Workers' Youth League.
The organizations behind the initiative:
Norwegian Young Conservatives, The Workers' Youth League, The Progress Party's Youth, Young Greens of Norway, Socialist Youth, Industri Energi ungdom, Changemaker, The Workers' Youth League Hordaland, The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) Hordaland, The Students` and Academics` International Assistance Fund (SAIH) and The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara.
For more information visit SAIH's Western Sahara pages.
Inga Marie Nymo Riseth, vice president in SAIH: +47 90 17 84 75, +212 06 95 98 95 43
Kristian Tonning Riise, president of Norwegian Young Conservatives: +47 99 38 19 90
Emilie Bersaas, vice president of The Workers' Youth League: +47 93 82 25 73, +212 651421045, +212 610250735