WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 16

15. - 21.04.2001

 

03.04.01
European Union
The Polisario Front has asked the European Union to send a mission of enquiry to Western Sahara, as is the case for other conflicts.
(SPS)

11.04.01
Occupied zones
A Moroccan flight lieutenant has died following the explosion of his Mirage f5, during a test flight in the region of Smara (Western Sahara). This type of machine has recently been updated by French experts.
(corr.)

14.04.01
Algeria-Morocco
The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed  Benaïssa and the director of the royal cabinet,  Mohamed Rochdi Cheraïbi,  made a lightening visit to Algiers. They were received by President Bouteflika, in the presence of the head of government and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. This meeting was described as 'very important' by APS, since it is unusual for the head of government to be present at the head of state's meetings. The motive could have been the Moroccan plan for autonomy for Western Sahara.

14.04.01
Algeria
"The Caravan of Peace" and solidarity with the Saharawi people has started a tour in Algeria, which will take it to 13 wilayas in the west of the country. The wilaya of Naama was its first stopover. Composed of 60 Saharawi people, it presents a cultural show and an exhibition of Saharawi craftwork.
(SPS)

14.04.01
SADR
A committee responsible for the organisation of the election of the National Council (Parliament) has been set up. The 51 members of parliament will be elected by universal suffrage on 21 April in 30 constituencies: wilayas, socio-economic institutions, the army and overseas legations. The National Council will be officially installed on 28 and 29 April. Its mandate is renewed for a year and a half, according to the Constitution.
(SPS)

16.04.01
Fishing
The Canaries Association of Solidarity with the Saharawi People (ACSPS), following the failure of the negotiations on the renewal of the fishing agreement between the EU and Morocco, recalls in a press release that any agreement which attempts to profit from the resources of the Saharawi people without taking account of the illegal occupation of the territory is a violation of the historic rights of the Saharawi people.

18.04.01
Referendum
The UN Secretary General received M'hamed Khadad, special envoy of the Saharawi President, for 30 minutes.  Kofi Annan's report is expected at the beginning of next week and on 26 April the Security Council will consider the extension of MINURSO's mandate which runs out on 30 April.

18.04.01
Referendum
For the first time, a Moroccan member of Parliament has allowed himself to question the government in parliament on the management of the Sahara question, a domain which hitherto was reserved for the sovereign and the Minister of the Interior, asking that citizens should be informed on what is being cooked up behind the scenes. In his reply Secretary of state for foreign affairs and cooperation, Taieb Fassi Fihri, "revealed" that  «the government is readying to start dialogue with the United Nations to reach a fair and comprehensive settlement to the Moroccan Sahara issue ».

19.04.01
Britain
Brian Wilson, minister for the Middle East and North Africa in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, replied to Margot Kessler, who was asking for clarification of the British position on Western Sahara (
week 14). The minister writes that there has been no recent change in the British Government's policy on Western Sahara and that Britain,  in line with the United Nations position, does not recognise any sovereignty over Western Sahara.  This is one of the issues that the United Nations must address in its efforts to find a just, durable and mutually acceptable solution to the dispute , he concludes.

19.04.01
UN Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, 57th session
Four Human Rights NGOs spoke on point 17b concerning defenders of human rights. The cases of Mahmoud El Hamed and Brahim Noumri were raised (
week 13) and the message from the Sahara section of the Forum Vérité et Justice was read before the commission. The speaker expressed their deep concern for the fate of the two aforementioned people as well as those whose testimonies were contained in the material confiscated by the Moroccan authorities. They are asking for this material to be returned and to be made available to the special representative for human rights defenders,  Mrs Hina Jilani.
Last year the Commission adopted a resolution presented by Morocco on the protection of defenders of human rights...
(Intervention)
A Saharawi delegation was received on 18 April at the Palace of the United Nations by Mrs Hina Jilani. The delegation handed her an exhaustive dossier asking her to intervene with the Moroccan authorities so that these two defenders would be protected and could carry on their activities without intimidation or persecution, that the  documents confiscated by the Moroccan police should be returned intact and all of them made available to her.
(Letter)

19.04.01
Human rights
The trial of 36 militants, accused of participation in a sit-in on 9 December 2000 in Rabat called by the AMDH (Moroccan Association of Human Rights), has finished. The verdict will be given on 4 May 2001. For AMDH, this trial reveals the continuation of flagrant human rights abuses in Morocco.

20.04.01
Algeria
340 Algerian parliamentarians signed a letter to the Secretaries General of the UN the OAU and Movement of Non-Aligned Countries in which they ask for the immediate implementation of the UN settlement plan in Western Sahara and the organisation of a referendum of self-determination for the Saharawi people. (SPS)

SOLIDARITY

07-09.04.01, Sydney, Australia: The first conference of the Global Young Greens (GYG) conference adopted a resolution which "supports the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence, and expresses its deep concern for the endless delays of the proposed referendum and calls on the UN to put pressure on Morocco to allow the referendum to be organised without further delays".

03.01, Dakhla, RASD: Payasos sin fronteras organiza talleres artisticos de capacitacion para las mujeres animadoras de la wilaya de Dakhla - campamentos Saharauis. Tres titiriteros (Cia. Trapalanda) se desplazaron en marzo a los campamentos saharauis, durante tres semanas, y realizaron talleres de formación de títeres, para 26 mujeres animadoras de la wilaya de Dakhla, la más alejada en el desierto, con el fin de proporcionarles herramientas educativas y de animación, que puedan utilizar en sus trabajos como herramientas de desarrollo de la imaginación y expresividad de l@s niñ@s y adolescentes saharauis. El trabajo culminó con la representación de 5 cuentos tradicionales saharauis por las mujeres animadoras, un cuento por la Cía. Trapalanda, y una representación de un títere tradicional, manejado por los pies, por un artista local llamado "el Belga". Para más información contactar con: Payasos sin Fronteras: psf@clowns.org , Web: http://www.clowns.org

20.04.01, Jijel, Algérie: Le comité de la wilaya de Jijel pour le soutien au peuple sahraoui a été installé au cours d'une assemblée générale présidée par deux membres du Comité National de Soutien au Peuple Sahraoui (CNSPS), basé à Alger. Le comité de la wilaya de Jijel, présidé par M. Ahmed Sebbat, comprend un bureau de sept membres. (SPS)

05.07.-30.08.01, Italia: 500 bambini Saharawi &endash; di cui 40 per ricevere cure mediche &endash; saranno ospiti delle Amministrazioni locali italiane gemellate con le tendopoli e, oltre a trascorrere le vacanze, ricopriranno il ruolo di veri e propri "Picoli ambasciatori della pace", facendo conoscere la causa del loro Popolo a tutti quelli che incontreranno. Associazione di Solidarietà con il Popolo Saharawi "Ban Slout Larbi"

COMING UP...

28 april 2001, Paris: Seminar of Jurists for Western Sahara, defintive programme

10.05.01, Stockholm, Sweden: In consequence of the efforts from Morocco and others to run away from the peace plan and find a third way, the Swedish Western Sahara committee invites to a manifestation. This will take place in the square Kungshalmstorg in Stockholm, outside the embassy of Morocco, 10 May at 17.00. We remind of the fact that the land is colonised and occupied. We urge Morocco to give back the STOLEN LAND. That is the only alternative to the realization of the referendum. Swedish M.P:s and artists will appear.

17 et 18 mai 2001, Bruxelles: Conférence: "Les femmes sahraouies: vers un nouvel avenir dans la société sahraouie". Contact: Liesbeth.Lissens@oxfamsol.be

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