His Excellency Ban Ki Moon
New York, New York 10017
We are writing on behalf of the U.S.-Western Sahara Foundation, an organization composed of American citizens from all walks of life, to urge you to uphold the promise of the United Nations in their support of the right to self-determination for the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara, the only colony in Africa yet to be decolonized.
We were very pleased when you were elected to become the Secretary-General of the United Nations, because as a South Korean you understand first hand what the United Nations can achieve when nations work together to support democracy and self-determination against aggression. The defense of the Republic of Korea by United Nations’s action in 1950 is one of the greatest achievements of the UN, and has led to a free, vibrant and prosperous democracy in South Korea.
Regarding the Western Sahara, the United Nations can also be commended for its intervention in 1991 that brought about a cease fire to end the war that broke out when Morocco invaded the Western Sahara. However, the United Nations has failed to fulfill its promise of a vote on self-determination for the Sahrawi people. That first promise of a referendum came in 1966 when the UN adopted a resolution calling on Spain to organize a referendum, and that right to self-determination has continuously been affirmed by the UN.
With you now at the helm of the UN, we hope that you will fulfill this promise as the failure to follow through on the promised referendum has deeply hurt the credibility of the UN. The UN has allowed the aggressor, Morocco, to continue to thwart the fulfillment of MINURSO. Even today, Morocco is trying to subvert the referendum by proposing an autonomy plan in direct violation of international law.
As you prepare your report this April, we urge you to:
1) uphold the right to self-determination and work to expeditiously carry out the UN promised referendum so that this issue may be decided peacefully and fairly;
2) take measures to protect the Sahrawi population in occupied Western Sahara, where they are being tortured, beaten, and jailed for peacefully demonstrating for the right to vote; and
3) take measures to protect the natural resources of the Western Sahara , which rightfully belong to the Sahrawi people, from exploitation by Morocco.
Your Excellency, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to express our views on this matter. We wish you every success in your work to uphold the principles of the UN.
Suzanne Scholte Carlos Wilson Chairman Executive Director U.S.-Western Sahara Foundation U.S. Western Sahara Foundation