WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

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WEEK 33

13.-18.08.2000

 

10.-16.08.00
SADR - Parliamentary Session
During an extraordinary session the Saharawi National Council (Parliament) ratified unanimously the act constituting the African Union. SADR is the second country, after Mali, to ratify the new African Charter, adopted during the latest summit of the OAU in Lome. (
SPS)
Meanwhile, the Saharawi National Council declared itself surprised by the recent speech of the King of Morocco. In its communiqué the Council regrets «that after a year of palace pomposity, folkloric visits and tyrannical royal parades before the poor and deprived Moroccans, the new king is unable to learn a lesson from the bleak situation» which faces Morocco: debt, unemployment, illiteracy, poverty and human rights abuses. The Council affirms that the Saharawi people's desire for independence is as strong as ever. It calls on them to «intensify the struggle on all fronts to demand respect for its legitimate right to self-determination and independence». (
Saharawi National Radio reproted by BBC, SPS)
Finally, the examination of the government's programme, committed during this session, will continue during a coming session in September or October.

12.08.00
Three young Saharawis drowned in an attempt to get to the Canary Islands. The body of one of them was found on 11 August. Their names are El Moukhtar Hammoudi, Salma Mahmoud and Brahim Mhaydi, who chose to die from drowning than to remain under Moroccan occupation.
(corr.)

12.08.00
Demonstrations
In El Ayoun unemployed Saharawi graduates and workers as well as retired people protested against Morocco's policy towards them, carrying banners demanding jobs and better living conditions. (
Saharawi National Radio)

14.08.00
Morocco
Mohamed VI in his speech on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the annexation of the southern part of Western Sahara: «Our southern provinces have been and will remain an integral part of our national territory».

14.08.00
Somalia - Djibouti
On the occasion of the installation of the temporary parliament of Somalia, the Saharawi President sent a message to President Ismael Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, congratulating him on his efforts to resolve the crisis in Somalia peacefully.

14.08.00
Algeria
Proposing a toast to the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, on a visit to Algeria, the Algerian President warned countries of the South against attempts to put international law into question: «Whether it be pressure on the Palestinians, the Lebanese and the Syrians to endorse the fait accompli, in violation of international law as expressed in UN resolutions, or whether it be attempts to contest the Saharawi people's right to self-determination, which is the foundation of international law as applicable to decolonisation, we consider that there are serious shifts in policy which it is important to ensure do not become precedents which could establish a new international order based on the right of the strongest. As concerns Western Sahara, the position of Algeria is simply in line with the United Nations Charter, with the resolutions of that organisation and the Houston Agreements. I reaffirm in the clearest manner that as far as Algeria is concerned, this problem is wholly the responsibility of the United Nations and has nothing to do with bilateral relations between Algeria and Morocco and should not be determined or influenced by them in any way at all». (
aps, SPS)

16.08.00
Algeria
At a meeting called by a Coordination Committee, representatives of a number of Algerian national organisations decided to create a working group with a remit to set up a solidarity committee with the Saharawi people.

16.08.00
Spain
Spain is maintaining its position on the organisation of the referendum on self-determination of the Saharawi people, which consists in defending and giving political and material support to the efforts of the UN as well as encouraging the parties in the conflict to cooperate with the UN, the government said in reply to a parliamentarian's question.

17.08.00
28 Saharawi children from the Saharawi refugee camps arrived in Switzerland. They will spend three and a half weeks in holiday camps as guests of the municipality of Bernex, Geneva.

31.07.-18.08.00
52nd session of the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Geneva
Under point 8, administration of justice and human rights, Interfaith International drew attention to the bloody events of September 1999, which show that persecution of the inhabitants of Western Sahara is not only to be attributed to the Moroccan authorities, but equally to groups of settlers supported by armed militia, which cannot fail to recall the use of militia in East Timor. The UN demanded that Morocco should admit to human rights abuses and forced disappearances of Saharawi civilians, and should liberate them and bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice.
Under point 9, the MRAP (Movement against racism and for friendship between peoples) recalled the fate of Saharawi prisoners and disappeared in Morocco. Mentioning the trial in Agadir of three Saharawis sentenced for offences of opinion, the absence of lawyers and the heavy sentences handed down to demonstrators in the trials in November 99, MRAP holds that «opinion should not be criminal», since the demonstrators are only expressing their feelings of Saharawi identity. MRAP also appealed for Mohamed Daddach, a Saharawi prisoner of conscience for 20 years who was given the death penalty in Morocco.
On point 10, Humanitarian Law Project, Los Angeles, denounced Morocco for having moved non-Saharawi civilians to the territory of occupied Western Sahara, which is contrary to article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention. The American organisation asked the Sub-Commission and the international community to support the United Nations in their effort to verify voters for the referendum.

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