WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 19

07.-13.05.2000

 

04.05.00
Human Rights
A march for democratic rights took place in El Ayoun, led by former miners from Fos Boucraa in traditional dress. Students, young people, members of the families of disappeared and ex-detainees from Qalaat Mgouna, Agdz and El Ayoun, as well as members of families of people recently arrested took part in the demonstration (
Saharawi National Radio).

08.05.00
MINURSO
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), recommended the acceptance of the budget proposed by Kofi Annan for the period from 01.07.00 - 30.06.01. This budget is for US$ 46.61 million, which is 5% less than for the preceding period. The budget has been established on the basis of the resources necessary for 203 military observers, 27 soldiers and 81 members of civil police.

08.05.00
Arrests - disappearances
Said Moulay El-Abd was arrested by units of the Moroccan Army in Amgala (occupied territory) and incarcerated in the military base at Smara. The charges against him are not known, no visits are allowed. Four other Saharawis living in Smara, Ahmed Mahmoud Beyni, Hammad Hmoudi Bleyla, Chihab Hassan and Sid-Ahmedat Limam are reported missing since 2 May. (
SPS, AFAPREDESA)

08.05.00
SADR
The executive bureau of UNFS (National Union of Saharawi Women) organised a day of reflection on the theme "Women and Democracy" in the wilaya of El Ayoun. 300 delegates participated in it. Discussions had bearing on the role of the Saharawi woman in society, on her rights and obligations as well as her prerogatives within the Polisario Front. This day, the first initiative of this kind, was organised in collaboration with Vänsterpartiet, a Swedish party of the left. (
SPS)

10.05.00
27th Anniversary of the start of armed struggle
Children from the primary schools of Smara (occupied territory) celebrated in their own style the 27th anniversary of the start of the armed struggle in Western Sahara. Wearing their most beautiful traditional garments, they set off for school and returned home announcing that this day was a holiday for Saharawis and that there would be no classes. (
SPS).

10.05.00
Claims
A group of Saharawi students organised a sit-in in front of the offices of the Ministry of Higher Education in Rabat. The secretary general of the ministry had assured them, last April, that their financial claims would be met, and this has not been the case. (
SPS)

11.05.00
27th Session of CADHP
The African Commission on Human and People's Rights, a body of the OAU, passed unanimously the resolution presented by the Saharawi delegation, which 'calls for the organisation within the given deadlines, of a free, just and fair referendum, as the international community wants' and for the respect of the Houston Agreements. The Saharawi delegation consisted of Ahmed Sid-Ali, legal counsellor of SADR and Abba Salek El-Haissen, general secretary of the Union of Saharawi Jurists.

12.05.00
Human Rights
The hearing of the case of the three Saharawis held in Agadir since December 1999 will continue until 17 June, according to a source close to the families. The families fear that the three accused, whose health is deteriorating, will be judged as criminals in common law and have referred the matter to Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

REFERENDUM
The days before the Morocco-Saharawi Negotiations in London (14.05.00)

09.05.00
The President of the Spanish Government, José Maria Aznar, on an official visit to Morocco, reaffirmed the adherence of his country to the UN settlement plan for Western Sahara and his support for the efforts at present undertaken by James Baker to relaunch the referendum process. (
aps)

10.05.00
In a
letter addressed to James Baker the Western Sahara Campaign UK,"welcomes the holding next Sunday of a new round of direct talks between Morocco and the Polisario Front in London" and calls on James Baker to increase his efforts towards holding a "free, fair and transparent" referendum.

10.05.00
Austrian Parliament
The four parties of the Austrian Parliament adopted a resolution asking their government for firm support, together with its European partners, for the UN Secretary-General and his efforts of conciliation, on the occasion of the talks in London on 14 May under the aegis of James Baker, aimed at making possible the holding of a referendum according to the UN peace plan. The resolution also asks the two parties to the conflict to contribute actively to the success of the efforts of conciliation by the UN.

10.05.00
Polisario Front
In a communiqué the bureau of the National Secretariat, meeting in an extraordinary session, warned against "any deviation" from the way of the referendum, which "would only block the implementation of the settlement plan". The bureau reaffirmed "the firm attachment" of the Saharawi people to its "inalienable right to independence".
The bureau designated the delegation to participate in the direct negotiations at Lancaster House in London, the same as the one which negotiated in Houston. It is composed of Mahfoud Ali Beiba, leader of the delegation, M'Hamed Khaddad, Brahim Ghali, Ahmed Boukhari, all members of the National Secretariat, as well as Radhi Sgheir Bachir, counsellor to the Presidency and Brahim Mokhtar, Polisario representative in London. (
Saharawi Ministry of Information)

12.05.00
Press release of Western Sahara Campaign UK. ( http://www.arso.org/wsc2000.2.htm)

13.05.00
Algeria
Foreign Minister Youcef Yousfi invited the international community to do all it can so that the peace process in Western Sahara "be carried out as soon as possible in order to allow the Saharawi people to express itself supremely and freely on its future."
He recalled that "the UN peace plan has already been accepted by the two sides in conflict, the Polisario Front and Morocco, and has started to be implemented," adding that from now on it belonged to the international community to do everything for its implementation''.
He also pointed out that Algeria has been invited and as such will take part by way of observer to the talks scheduled for May 14th in London (
aps).

For background informations and further updates concerning the negociations see the Referendum Page.

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