WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEKS 22 + 23

27.05.-12.06.2001

Human rights abuses

26.05.01: Ali Salem Hamdani,  one of the Saharawis arrested on 6 March 2000 following demonstrations in El Ayoun and sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment, is suffering from a serious heart condition. He has been transferred from El Ayoun to Rabat-Salé thanks to the efforts of local human rights organisations. (corr.)
27.05.01: Karim Shtouki, a Saharawi living in Dakhla, was attacked and beaten by close associates of the divisional commissar Brahim Bensami over a minor financial dispute. A sit-in took place in front of the police headquarters in Dakhla, in order to protest against these attacks, which are becoming more frequent in the town, and against the impunity enjoyed by the attackers.
(SPS, corr.)
30.05.01: The president of the Sahara section of the Forum for Truth and Justice, Moutik Lahoussine was summoned several times by the police on the orders of the Procurer of the King of the Court of El Ayoun, in relation to his activities defending human rights. He refused to reply to the questions bearing on certain paragraphs of a statement of the Forum published on 1 May 2001.
31.05.01:  Nine Saharawis, held since May 2000 in Marrakech prison, fasted for two days to protest about the conditions of their detention. Arrested during clashes between Moroccan security forces and Saharawi students around the university campus in Marrakech in May 2000, these students are serving sentences from 5 to 10 years.
(SPS)
The Saharawi Ministry of Foreign Affairs meanwhile brought up the case of the Saharawi student Iselkou Mokhtar, who was recently beaten up and stabbed in Marrakech after having taken up the defence of Saharawi student victims of harassment.
01.06.01: Tghana Sbai, a Saharawi shepherd aged 30, was assassinated by a Moroccan in the occupied territories in the region of  Guelta Zemmour.
(corr.)
Further from Spanish sources we learn that the Saharawis
- Maidani Ali Salem and Louloud Mohamed Ali al-Lali, who are serving prison sentences of 5 and 4 years in El Ayoun are in a serious state of health
- El Hadji Mohamed ould El Mahjoub ould Moelid disappeared while in Rabat
- Maelainine Abderrahmane ould Mohamed ould Salem,  sentenced on 29.08.99 to ten years in prison, whose place of imprisonment was unknown, is now in the civil prison of Inzegane near Agadir.

25.05.01
A French parliamentary delegation led by  François Loncle, PS,  president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, went to El Ayoun where they met local officials and Saharawi defectors.
(Le Matin du Sahara et du Maghreb)

26.05.01
The African Union, due to replace the Organisation of African Unity, has become a reality, 36 countries having ratified its constitution. In a statement, the Saharawi representative at the OAU recalled that SADR was one of the first states to ratify it and that his country continued to be subjected to outright colonial aggression by Morocco. Meanwhile it had signed on 1 June the Protocol establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Panafrican Parliament.

29.05.01
The High Commissioner for Refugees organised a colloquium in the Saharawi refugee camps devoted to the rights and duties of the refugee as well as to the role of the refugee woman in society.
(SPS)

31.05.01
The Mauritanian President gave an audience to Mansour Oumar, SADR Minister of Health, special envoy of Mohamed Abdelaziz, President of SADR, and on 5 June  to William Eagleton, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Western Sahara.

31.05.01
Four delegates from the International Red Cross, carried out visits from 11-25 May 2001 to 796 of the 1479 Moroccan prisoners held in six detention centres in the region of Tindouf and in Western Saharan territories controlled by the Polisario Front. The delegates raised with the Saharawi authorities the cases of 178 Saharawi combatants gone missing during the conflict, and paid a visit to the family of one prisoner of Saharawi origin, visited in Morocco on 26 March 2001.

02.06.01
On the occasion of the day of Spanish armed forces of Alicante, which took place in the presence of the King and the President of the Government, Associations of solidarity with the Saharawi people of the province organised a peaceful march through the town, in order to protest at the attitude of the King and the Spanish Government towards the peace process in Western Sahara. The demonstration, initially banned on the pretext of blocking traffic, brought together over 500 people.

04.06.01
The special envoy of President Mohamed Abdelazis handed to the UN Secretary General the proposals that the Polisario Front judge adequate to unblock the UN peace plan in Western Sahara. The Saharawi Ministry of Information emphasised that these proposals are such as to permit a 'real re-start' of the implementation of the UN settlement plan in Western Sahara.
(SPS)

05.06.01
The Saharawi Liberation Army (SLA) proceeded with military manoeuvres at Lakaibat, in the region of Tifariti (liberated territories of SADR). Several armoured units and heavy artillery, the DCA and motorised infantry batalions took part. Simulating an offensive on the wall of sand, the SLA  deployed their forces before German guests, representatives of the press and observers from MINURSO.
(SPS)

08.06.01
Five people are considered by  Amnesty International to be prisoners of conscience in Morocco. Excluding Captain  Mustafa Adib, four Saharawis: Mohamed Daddach, condemned to death in 1979, sentence commuted  to life imprisonment in 1994,  Brahim Laghzal, Sheikh Khaya, Laarbi Massoudi,  sentenced in 2000 by the Magistrate's Court in Agadir to four years in prison.
(Philip Luther, head of the North Africa team of Amnesty International, quoted by Maroc Hebdo International).

08.06.01
Various delegations visiting the refugee camps in recent times have spoken of the extreme precariousness of food provision, because of the insufficiency and delays in deliveries by the big humanitarian agencies. The two largest suppliers of food aid, UNHCR and WFP have greatly reduced or even stopped their promised deliveries. Since last September the European agency ECHO has completely halted its journeys to the camps. (US WSF
press release)
The High Commissioner for Refugees (HCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) launch an
international appeal for funding of 1.2 million dollars a month for the "150,000 refugees from Western Sahara installed in South West Algeria". In a joint press statement, the two humanitarian agencies confirm that "the food situation of these people remains extremely precarious".

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