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Pandor calls for Africa’s last colony to be free

The tragic passing of Ambassador Radhi-Sghaiar Bachir of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic has unleashed renewed calls for Morocco to respect UN resolutions that have called for a referendum on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara. Bachir, who passed away from a brief illness last week, was lauded as a great revolutionary who for decades lived his cause and fought for the liberation of all oppressed people living under colonialism. 

“We tend to forget the good causes. We tend to forget those who suffer under oppression. Bachir made sure we didn’t forget,” Minister for International Relations Naledi Pandor told mourners at the memorial service held at DIRCO. 

Pandor recounted how Bachir had alerted her recently to the fact that the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic was not being invited to meetings that the rest of the continent were being invited to. Pandor took action and made it clear to the hosts of a recent conference that if SADR was not invited then South Africa was not invited. As a result she ensured that SADR received an invite to attend the TICAD meeting in Yokohama, Japan. 

Pandor lamented the fact that Bachir had to return to spend his last days with his family in the Tindouf camps in the desert, calling it an indictment on all of us that an entire nation is still living in camps. 

“We must stand firm with SADR at a time when solidarity is waning on the continent. We need to act on UN resolutions as this occupation is illegal and the people must exercise their right to self-determination,” Pandor said.


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