50th anniversary of the Zemla massacre

The 17th of June of 1970 the Spanish authorities ordered to the army to shoot against Sahrawi men, women and children that were demonstrating in the district of Zemla, in Laâyoune, capital of Western Sahara (Spanish Sahara at that moment) claiming the end of the Spanish colonial policy. The demonstration, totally pacific, had been organized by the well-known Movement of Liberation of the Sahara (OALS). This organization had been able to group a great part of the Sahrawi population in the first great attempt to structure the opposition to the Spanish occupation of Western Sahara. It constitutes the immediate precedent of Front POLISARIO and his leader, Mohamed Sidi Brahim Basir “Bassiri”, was arrested by the Spanish authorities like hundreds of Sahrawi’s more. A undetermined number of Sahrawi’s died or disappeared in the repression untied by the Spanish authorities around these events.

For 50 years, the Spanish governments, as much of the Francoist as of the democracy, have been refusing to clarify the facts, to indicate and to punish people in charge and to repair to the victims. We don’t know the real number of dead and wounded people, the name and the number of the people arrested around the facts, the circumstances of their arrest and the treatment they received. No official investigation has clarified the final destiny of Bassiri, that was held by the Spanish authorities during near a month and that, according to all the indications, he was made to disappear by those same authorities.

Fight against impunity. Neither the past time nor the changes happened in the administration and in the Spanish legislation can serve to hide the facts and the less to justify the lack of action to clarify the truth, to exert justice and to repair to the victims. The Spanish State is forced by the international treaties that have signed, by dignity and by respect the Human Rights to close this black page of its history.

Although this and other crimes, committed over more than 100 years of colonial administration of the Western Sahara, will not be able to be compensated until the Spanish State facilitates the free and democratic exercise of the right to self-determination of the Saharawi People, we want to take advantage of this sad anniversary to claim :

  1. That the Spanish Government, in fulfilment of his obligations and having with the historical memory, recognizes and assume the responsibility of the State in the events of Zemla promoting the necessary investigations for the total clarifications of the facts.
  2. That, consequently, it establishes the necessary measures to identify and, in its case, to punish the guilty.
  3. That the Spanish Government establishes the measures necessary to assure an effective and total repair for the victims, in the form of rehabilitation, indemnification, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.
  4. That the Spanish Government proposes to the international institutions – especially to the European Union and the African Union- rehabilitation of Mohamed Sidi Brahim Basir “Bassiri” as important person in the fight against the colonial domination and in the freedom of peoples.
  5. That the Spanish Government, since the Spanish State, according to the international legislation, continues being the administrative power of the Western Sahara clearly commits to work by the immediate and effective exercise of the right to self-determination of the Saharawi People.
  6. To the European Union, to the African Union and the UN that demand to Spain and watch the fulfilment of their obligations as administrative power of Western Sahara.
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