Equipe Media – Occupied Western Sahara
Moroccan officials practiced intimidation and acted like thugs when they attempted to block a representative of the Sahrawi people from entering an event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Canberra on Thursday.
Kamal Fadel, who had been invited to the event by the South African high commissioner, was initially stopped from entering by Moroccan diplomats. Australian federal police officers and other African ambassadors were forced to intervene to allow Fadel to enter.
Fadel said he was mistreated and intimidated by the Moroccan officials, who acted like thugs, and that their actions caused “grave embarrassment” to all those celebrating Africa Day.
The South African high commission condemned the Moroccan officials’ actions, saying they were “serious, unacceptable and in no way an indication of how our guests should be treated.”
Morocco’s claim to the territory is unrecognised internationally and has been dismissed in the international court of justice. Western Sahara remains on the UN’s decolonisation list of non-self-governing territories.
The incident in Canberra is not the first time that Moroccan officials have been used intimidation and violence against Sahrawi diplomats. In 2019, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nacer Bourita led an attempt to attack a Sahrawi diplomat delegation in Maputo, Mozambique.