In a press release issued on the occasion of the World Day for Social Justice, the Austrian Federal Minister of Health, Mr Alois Stöger, drew attention to Western Sahara as a Non-Self-Governing Territory and to the Moroccan wall that divides the people and land of Western Sahara.

Here is the English translation of the full text of the press release:

On the occasion of World Day of Social Justice, Health Minister Alois Stöger draws attention to the conflict in Western Sahara that is largely forgotten in Europe, which is still unresolved. Western Sahara is designated by the United Nations as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, which is claimed by Morocco since 1975. A 2700 km long wall separates the occupied zone from the rest of the Sahrawi territories and consequently divides the Sahrawi people into two parts. “The area adjacent to the Moroccan walls is one of the most heavily mined areas in the world. Mines cause numerous deaths every year. Many Sahrawis are living as refugees in makeshift camps in harsh conditions”, thus describes the Minister Stöger the situation. He also draws attention to the responsibility of the European saying that “The EU cannot any longer close its eyes. In our efforts for a social Europe, we must not stop at our own borders.”

The Minister also called for a speedy resolution of the conflict and the holding of the long-overdue referendum for the independence of Western Sahara.

The press release was issued after a meeting between the Minister and Dr Sidi M. Omar, Ambassador at Large at the Sahrawi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Coordinator of the International Campaign against the Wall of Moroccan Occupation in Western Sahara, on a working visit to Austria.