A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, has called for the suspension of Morocco from the African Union over the alleged illegal occupation of parts of the territory of Western Sahara.
The human rights lawyer made the call to African leaders at the recently concluded international conference on Western Sahara in Paris, capital of France.
Falana, who is also the legal adviser of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic for Africa, argued that the enlistment of Morocco to the AU in January 2017, while occupying Western Sahara, violated some provisions of the constitutive act of the AU.
“Since South Africa under the apartheid regime was not qualified for membership of the defunct Organisation of African Unity the African Union ought to have allowed the Kingdom of Morocco to join the African Union while occupying the territory of Western Sahara, a member state of the continental body,” he said.
“But having admitted Morocco to its fold the African Union is under a legal obligation to end the last vestige of colonialism in the continent.”
The Cable quoted Falana as saying that Morocco has failed to live up to the expectations after African countries had hoped their inclusion in the AU will hasten the independence of Western Sahara.
“If Morocco remains intransigent she ought to be treated like military regimes which are usually suspended from the African Union,” he said.
The senior lawyer added that the occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco does not go in line with the 1975 ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which found that the “materials and information presented to it do not establish any tie of territorial sovereignty between the territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco or the Mauritanian entity.
“On the basis of the historic ruling of the ICJ, no country has recognised the fraudulent claim of Morocco that Western Sahara is an integral part of her territory while not less than 84 countries have accorded diplomatic recognition to the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic,” he said.
“In consolidating her hegemonic grip on Western Sahara, Morocco has continued to frustrate the referendum scheduled to hold in Western Sahara under the auspices of the United Nations.”
The SAN also informed the member states of the AU that arrangements had been put in place by the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic to sue the Moroccan government and its allies in municipal courts and international tribunals for trading illegally in the mineral resources of the people of Western Sahara.