The European Students’ Union expresses its solidarity to the Western Sahara Students’ Union (UESARIO) and draws attention to the human rights violations taking place in the Western Saharan area. Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco since 1975 and is divided by a 2.800 km long wall. The wall is guarded by 160.000 soldiers and eight million landmines surround it. Many of the people have been forced to leave the country to refugee camps in Algeria, where they have resided for numerous years. The ones who have stayed in the occupied territory face human rights violations on a daily basis.
UESARIO organises summer programmes for students and youth in the refugee camps, but their work is not easy. They face challenges such as not having proper headquarters for their work; not being able to finance their summer programmes; or not having enough information or training opportunities. Their work is carried out at the refugee camps, which is a challenging task.
Some of the young people are allowed to go and study in the neighbouring countries, however, they are not given the right to choose what or where to study. The students sometimes face assassinations and imprisonments and in most cases they are banned from university registration or their diplomas are not recognised officially. In practice, this means that when a Saharawi graduates from a university abroad, as there are no higher education possibilities in Western Sahara, and returns to the occupied territory, the degree is not recognized. As a consequence the young people face discrimination and their right to a decent and dignified life is violated.
ESU believes that education is a human right and everyone should have access to it. All students should have the freedom to choose their field of study and pursue higher education.