Occupation – a word which tells little of the untold pain and sorrow experienced by those who struggle for freedom. Morocco has occupied Western Sahara for 40 years.
This is what SAIH has tried to put focus on in our campaign 2015.
“All I knew of Morocco was that it was a nice place to visit…”
This campaign taught me that it has been a brutal occupier of West Sahara for 40 years, with impunity. Saharawis have been protesting peacefully against the occupation since the 90s, but the world and the media have forgotten about their struggle. Today West Sahara is Africa’s last colony.
How does Morocco do it?
Here is what we learnt.
1. Claim the territory as yours, but treat its population worse than your own
2. Do not let them vote on whether to be independent
3. Support settlers colonising the territory
4. Support settler violence toward the original inhabitants
5. Exploit their natural resources (e.g., oil, fish, phosphate)
6. Prevent their organisations from registration
7. Deny them jobs
8. Expel their students who express cultural differences or dissent
9. Close their mosque
10. Do not let them gather and protest peacefully
Divide and isolate
11. Build a 2700-km long wall
12. Plant mines and police checkpoints along it
If anyone protests
13. Keep them under surveillance and harass them
14. Make prison conditions unbearable
15. Detain them whenever you feel like it
16. Do not tell their family where they are
17. Do not let them speak with their family
18. Do not let them communicate with a lawyer
19. Keep them in solitary confinement
20. Beat them brutally
21. Torture them
22. Force them to sign false confessions
23. Deny them medical treatment
24. Let them die in prison
25. Threaten to assault them and their children (sexually)
26. Sexually assault them, regardless of gender or age
27. Kill them
28. Do not treat them equally under your laws
29. Delay their trials for as long as possible
30. Accuse them of planning violence
31. Use false confessions to put them on trial
32. Use military courts to convict civilians
Prevent witnesses and allies
33. Teach your population that the territory is yours
34. Convince them that contrary accounts are treasonous / part of a foreign conspiracy
35. Prohibit national media from reporting what is happening
36. Prevent UN peacekeepers from reporting human rights violations
37. Expel foreigners who visit to bear witness
38. Persuade other countries (e.g., France) to support your occupation with impunity
39. Do not investigate any alleged wrongdoing
40. Set up human rights institutions, but exclude inhabitants of the occupied territory
For more information about Western Sahara, please visit SAIH’s website. And read the report “Acting With Impunity: Morocco’s Human Rights Violations in Western Sahara and the Silence of the International Community” that documents the extent of human rights violations in Western Sahara from 1.april 2014 – 1.march 2015.
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#HowToOccupy #lastcolony #Vestsahara
Written by: Kelly Then, SAIH Tromsø