The Western Sahara had been suffering for more than 40 years. The Saharan people were the only ones who could decide their future, she stressed. There had been four rounds of formal those negotiations, although no progress on status had been made. The Saharan people needed the international community’s support. Cuba, with its few available resources, was committed to lending that support, in particular, in the area of education. She also called on Member States to offer study opportunities to students from Non-Self-Governing Territories. The Saharan people could always count on Cuba’s solidarity, she said
MARIAELENA ANZOLA PADRON ( Venezuela) said that it also stood in solidarity with the people of Western Sahara, as they sought to exercise their right to self-determination, which must be respected. Venezuela recognized the Saharawi Democratic Republic, and with the help of the United Nations, the people of that country would be able to exercise their right to self-determination. Resolution 1514 (1960) must be fully respected in that regard, and she urgently appealed to the Special Committee that, at its next session, to give more focus to that matter. It should approve the proposal to appoint a group to visit the territory, thereby providing updated information about how decolonization was actually perceived. Venezuela was disturbed that negotiations had not yet been successful, but trusted that they would proceed in accordance with the principles of the United Nations and its relevant resolutions.
JENNY LALAMA-FERNANDEZ ( Ecuador) also supported the right of the Saharan people to self-determination. She recalled an agreement in 2011 between Western Sahara and Morocco. The Secretary General had called on the Security Council to enhance the credibility of United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), and the Council had adopted a resolution in April calling for the freedom of movement of that Mission. The last round of negotiations in New York had indicated that talks would continue in June, and that a visit to the territory would take place. However, neither of those things had yet come to pass. Once again, she said, “we face a dangerous situation” as the United Nations sought to deal with one of the world’s remaining decolonization issues. Human rights were being violated, natural resources were being exploited and the promised referendum had not yet been held.
MANIEMAGENGOVENDER ( South Africa), observer, said that legality was on the side of the Saharan people in their quest for decolonization. International legal opinion had upheld their position and there were clear precepts for safeguarding the interests of non-self-governing peoples. The obligations of administering Powers were clearly spelt out in relevant international documents. It was on that basis that steps should be taken to improve the lot of the Saharans. South Africa believed that with the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism already under way, the need to address the situation should take on added urgency. The Saharan people were subjected to a double tragedy, and the Special Committee must take decisive steps to address their problems. The United Nations was obligated to protect their rights while working towards the Territory’s decolonization. The Security Council should ensure that MINURSO completed its mandate.
UN Department of Public Information, 15/06/2012