Catalan Cooperation Fund in Algeria to back Western Sahara

Delegation also including MPs visit Sahrawi camps: 'Morocco blocks any possibility for dialogue'

Exterior of the national hospital of Rabouni, at the camp for Sahrawi exiles in Tindouf, Algeria
Exterior of the national hospital of Rabouni, at the camp for Sahrawi exiles in Tindouf, Algeria / Albert Segura

ACN | @agenciaacn | Tindouf, Algeria

March 5, 2023 11:17 AM

The Catalan Cooperation Fund is on a mission to back Western Sahara, the partly recognized state south of Morocco and west of Algeria.

The territory was once a Spanish colony, and upon decolonization in 1975, the authorities leaving allowed Morocco and Mauritania to occupy it, prompting the Sahrawi nationalist liberation movement Polisario Front to react, but failed to gain fully recognized independence.

For decades it is a frozen conflict, with UN saying Sahrawis have the right to self-determination – Spain remained neutral for decades until its government sided with Morocco in 2022.

Now cross-party MPs of the Catalan parliament, representing the majority of seats, together with local officials and the Catalan Cooperation Fund (FCCD) are in Tindouf, Algeria, to "send a message of solidarity with the Sahrawi people" and place the conflict back in the political and media agenda, both locally and internationally.

Only half of Catalans know about Sahrawi issue

The Fund believes that the latest humanitarian emergencies, such as the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, and the war in Ukraine, have contributed to hide the ongoing conflict in Western Sahara.

Indeed, according to a recent survey, only 50% of Catalans know about the issue, with the delegation being especially concerned about the high rates lack of awareness from young people.

"Morocco blocks any opportunity for dialogue," said the president of FCCD, David Minoves, to the Catalan News Agency (ACN).

"They have been abandoned, and the issue is not in the agenda unless something happens, such as when [Spanish prime minister] Pedro Sánchez sent a letter to the Kingdom of Morocco to say that he recognizes the Sahrawi territory as Moroccan," said the president of the group of Catalan municipalities that express solidarity with the Sahrawi, Gemma Aristoy.

The delegation visited the camp for Sahrawi exiles on Saturday, including a hospital, and will also learn more about other facilities in the site, as well as meet with political and civil society representatives, in the coming days.