Aminatou Haidar speaking at the 43rd European Conference of Coordination and Support to the Saharawi people (EUCOCO) in Madrid.

The Foundation deplores US recognition of Moroccan claim over Western Sahara

The Right Livelihood Foundation deplores in the strongest terms the decision taken by outgoing US President Donald Trump to recognise the Kingdom of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara in exchange for the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel. 

On December 10, 2020, Trump announced that the US would recognise Morocco’s illegal occupation of the territory of Western Sahara. The announcement was part of a deal under which Morocco agreed to normalise its diplomatic ties with Israel. The Right Livelihood Foundation condemns in the strongest terms this unilateral decision, which is in flagrant violation of international law and the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination.

Trump’s decision to recognise Western Sahara has no legal or political value,” says prominent Sahrawi activist and 2019 Right Livelihood Laureate Amiantou Haidar. “The Sahrawi people have a sole and exclusive claim over Western Sahara and it is up to them alone to decide upon their future.”

This move comes at an already difficult time for the region. Not only does it hamper the efforts of the international community to find a peaceful solution to the conflict between the Polisario Front, the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people, and the Kingdom of Morocco, but it also comes in the wake of Moroccan military aggression in Guerguerat. The incident, which took place on 13 November 2020, violated a ceasefire and reignited the conflict between the parties after almost 30 years.

Trump’s statement was rejected by various international organisations, including the United Nations and the African Union, in addition to a number of countries that promptly reaffirmed their support for the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that the solution to the conflict in Western Sahara does not depend on individual states’ recognition, but on the implementation of UN resolutions.

The Right Livelihood Foundation calls on US President-Elect Joe Biden to swiftly reverse his predecessor’s lawless move and express his full solidarity with the people of Western Sahara, in line with international law and the core values of the Constitution of the United States. Lastly, we urge the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), which was established almost thirty years ago, to finally comply with its mandate and promptly organise a free, fair and democratic referendum for self-determination. This is the only way to find a just and lasting political solution to the conflict.