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Thursday, January 28th
06:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. CET
Western Sahara and the Sahrawi people have International Law on their side. However, during decades it has been almost impossible to accomplish the self-determination process that is key to guarantee the Saharawis’ right to choose by themselves on their future status.
In 2020, an almost 3 decades long ceasefire was broken between Western Sahara and Morocco. How and why did this happen? Could this new war have been avoided? What effects can be seen on the ground? What are the prospects for peace?
At the end of 2020, President Trump issued a declaration recognizing Morocco’s claims over Western Sahara. This action has been regarded as a major trade off where the rights of the Sahrawi once again are sold for symbolic political wins. What does International Law say about recognition of nations? What implications can be drawn from this decision? Can this decision be reverted? Moreover, how would the U.S. policy regarding Africa´s last colony look like the coming months and years?
Great attention has been payed to these latest developments in the U.S. and within the United Nations Security Council but, what has been Europe´s role and reactions?
The organizations and people on the ground, what do they need from the international community?
To answer these and many other questions we will have an outstanding panel of experts. Please join us for this very special event.
Pål Wrange (Ph.D, LL.M) is a professor of public international law at Stockholm University and the Director of the Stockholm Center for International Law and Justice. Prior to this, Wrange worked as a principal legal advisor at the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and during that time frequently advised the Swedish Government on issues related to Western Sahara. In the academic field, Wrange has studied the Western Sahara situation and made several presentations concerning the issue, e.g., in the European, Norwegian and Swedish Parliaments.
Dr. Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco. He is an expert in the areas of U.S. Middle East policy and strategic nonviolent action. Zunes is also the co-author of the book “Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution”. Additionally, Zunes has a long academic background and is the author of many articles on Middle Eastern politics, U.S. foreign policy, international terrorism, strategic nonviolent action, and human rights.
Mohamed Cheikh Khoumani is an active member of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (MAHR). Mohamed is the former president of the MAHR´s southwestern branch and a member of the Commission of Inquiry on the events of the city of Assa (Morocco). He is also a trade union activist and focuses on advocacy in the issues of economic and social rights. MAHR is one of the biggest Moroccan human rights NGOs that was founded to work for the preservation of human rights in Morocco and Western Sahara. It uses different means to achieve this such as newspapers, conferences, seminars.
Mohamed Mayara is a media activist, co-founder and coordinator of the collective of independent journalists Equipe Media, that aims to document Morocco’s repression against those who work for a free Western Sahara. Mohamed has been threatened many times for his work by Moroccan authorities and also been persecuted, arrested, tortured and received death threats. In 2018, Equipe Media had five members imprisoned for their journalism. One of the members has received a life term sentence; the others are serving sentences between 6 and 30 years.
Maglaha Hama is a project manager at the organization Non-Violence Action in Western Sahara (NOVA). Ms. Hama coordinates the project Dialogue For Peace in which NOVA works for opening dialogue channels among civil society organizations in the Maghreb region. The organization operates mainly in the Saharawi refugee camps and wants to show that a peaceful path to a free Western Sahara is possible.
Catherine Constantinides (moderator) is a prominent humanitarian, climate and environmental activist. A 2013 Archbishop Tutu African Oxford Fellow and 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, Catherine’s commitment and passion for social change takes her to the smallest of communities in South Africa, as well as global platforms including the UN, where she currently works as a human rights defender actively engaging in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council for the world’s most marginalised and vulnerable.