Camel conference in occupied Western Sahara dishonest about funders
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Both the FAO and OIE have denied funding or even taking part in ISOCARD's 2018 conference, scheduled to take place in El Aaiun, occupied Western Sahara, in November this year.

Published 12 April 2018

The International Society of Camelid Research and Development (ISOCARD) is this year hosting its triennial conference in El Aaiun, the capital city of occupied Western Sahara. 

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ISOCARD has invited its 260+ members to the conference which is to take place in November. In the material circulated to the members, ISOCARD boasts the financial support of the UN Food and Agriculture Origanisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The screenshot to the right is taken from the "Presentation and Call for Abstracts" document that can be found on ISOCARD's webpage. It clearly lists both FAO and OIE as contributing to the organisation of the conference. Click on the picture to view it in a larger size.

WSRW on 27 March wrote that FAO and OIE co-fund the conference. However both organisations have now written to WSRW that they have nothing to do with it. 

The Office of the Director-General of the UN organsiation FAO wrote to WSRW on 12 April 2018 that "the FAO office in North Africa had received an invitation addressed to one of its experts to take part in the aforementioned conference but sent their regrets and asked that the logo of FAO be removed from the publications linked to that event."

OIE's Director General Ms Monique Eloit wrote WSRW on 4 April 2018 that she "would like to confirm that the OIE was not aware of this conference nor involved in its organisation, and therefore did not accept to be mentioned as a partner". In relation to ISOCARD's claim that ISO experts will take part as speakers at the conference, Ms Eloit stated that "the OIE took the appropriate measures to ensure that certain speakers are no longer introduced as 'OIE experts'".

WSRW had also contacted ISOCARD, requesting that the conference be moved to Morocco proper, but has not received any reply from the organisation. WSRW also asked whether ISOCARD leadership was aware that their Moroccan partners host placed the conference outside of Morocco. 

All documents about the conference locate "Laâyoune" (French spelling of El Aaiun) in Morocco. The false references to FAO and OIE are to date unchanged on ISOCARD's website. 

A large part of the terrtory of Western Sahara has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975. Half the Saharawi people has fled following the Moroccan invasion, while Saharawis advocating for self-determination are subjected to severe human rights violations. Morocco refuses to cooperate with the UN in organising a referendum on self-determination.

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