21585 - Statement before the 4th Committee of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly on: NON REPRESENTATION of POLISARIO

N. Lygeros
Translated from the Greek by Athena Kehagias

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1. The problem of the non-representation of Polisario is fundamental in regards to the Western Saharan issue.
2. Polisario did not exist during the Spanish colonial period. The sole territorial claim on an international level derived from Morocco, who had questioned the Spanish colony of Western Sahara ever since 1956.
3. The structural phase change came in to effect at the 1991 ceasefire.
Therefore, a movement that was initially set up in order to carry out guerrilla operations, it had changed since 1975 with the existence of refugee camps in Tindouf of Algeria, and in 1976 when the role of the government in exile came into effect.
4. As far as the actual Polisario system is concerned, which by the way is headed by a lifelong Secretary General, even if it gives the impression of a pseudo-democratic system, the fact that he and his followers are systematically called elected, for four decades on, and that they control the movement in such an authoritarian way, it demands explanations regarding the degree of representation.
5. It is in that manner, that we should interpret the genesis of the Khat al-Shahid movement, amongst others, which was born in 2004, in an antithesis to Polisario and its Secretary General, who is accused of favoritism, as well as of incopentency to obtain a strategy towards the global geopolitics.
This also has a negative impact on the legitimacy of Polisario and in the even more problematic case of the “Saharian Arab social democracy”, which is in a paradox state, as a large number of countries, which have recognized it in the past, do no longer do so, mostly because they assume that the recognition is contrary to the principle of the organization of a referendum re: the self-determination within Western Sahara.
6. To these, we can add the fact that the Saharan population living within the disputed area, and which represents the majority of the Sahrawi, participates as normal in various Moroccan elections.
We would like to emphasize at this point, to the large percentage of participation of this population in the recent municipal and regional elections of the 4th of September 2015.
On the contrary, there is no electoral process which corresponds to the internationally accepted democratic standards, which was organized in the refugee camps in Tindouf.
This point is particularly thorny, both in terms of representation and of legitimacy.
7. On the other hand , it is interesting to note that in regards to Polisario, the evidence between the separatist movement and the liberation are very weak, due to the absence of a long-term strategy in a dispute which is going from inertia to a dead-end.
And it’s for that reason that the European Union as a whole, and the majority of countries worldwide do not recognize the «RASD», which constitutes a diplomatic form of renouncing Polisario’s actions. Furthermore, this is the reason, why the Moroccan autonomy proposal, seems more and more as a realistic and viable solution to the regional dispute of Sahara.
8. Another very important fact to note, which challenges the very credibility of Polisario and its alienation from Algeria, it’s its refusal to respond to the request of the High Commissioner for Refugees, in order to register the refugees within the camps which are in actual fact controlled by Algeria, which raises the issue of an overvaluation of their numbers and the diversion of international aid.
The inquiry by the European Union to combat fraud, was clear on this issue.
Therefore we have the right to wonder at this point: how many actual Sahrawi refugees are in Tindouf, and how many of them feel that Polisario really is their representative?
9. Following the invitation of Morocco, the vast majority of Polisario’s founders returned to Morocco in order to contribute amongs their own, re: the democratic development and the development of the Sahara region.
10. Consequently, taking into account all these points, it is reasonable to wonder about the representation of this entity, and its role towards the solving of the Western Sahara’s problem.