WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEKS 32 + 33

05.-18.08.2001

 

27.07.01
Australia
The  Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) State Council voted in favour of self-determination for the Saharawi people and the implementation of the United Nations peace plan. It asks the Australian government to take action along these lines and to establish official contacts with the Polisario Front.

29.07.01
Morocco
The writer Tahar Ben Jelloun drew a positive picture of the Morocco of Mohamed VI in an article published by the Italian daily "La Repubblica".  The Italian League for the Rights of Peoples send a letter to the paper, not published, reminding them of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, which Ben Jelloun totally ignored.
(corr.)

30.07. - 17.08.01
53th session of The Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Question of acknowledgment of crimes under colonialism:
The representative of LIDLIP, the International League for the right and freedom of peoples, declared that it was difficult to understand why the UN/OUA peace plan should now be replaced by an autonomy project, which could only increase tension in the region and the risk of war.

Administration of Justice:
The representative of the International Movement of Youth and Students  for the United Nations (ISMUN) drew attention to the continuing and worsening human rights abuses in the territories occupied by Morocco. He expressed concern for the situation of Saharawi detainees and was astonished that such serious oppression had been passed over in silence by the reports of the UN Secretary General. He noted that the only preoccupation expressed by Kofi Annan is the fate of the Moroccan prisoners of war, whereas the Saharawi prisoners of war in Moroccan hands and hundreds of disappeared Saharawis are not mentioned.

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:
The same representative confessed himself deeply concerned by the worsening  socio-economic situation of the Saharawi population under Moroccan colonial domination. He quoted the case of workers in the phosphate mines of Boucraa, dispossessed of their rights from 1977. One part of their salary has been frozen unilaterally and workers are subjected to a campaign of intimidation (arbitrary arrests, even forced disappearances). Today, after over 25 years the Saharawi workers continue to claim their rights.

04.08.01
Algesiras
Over 3000 people marched in the streets of Algesiras in favour of the independence of the Saharawi people. The demonstration finished in front of the Moroccan consulate, where representatives of associations of solidarity made speeches.

06.08.01
Mayors for peace
Jean-Paul Lecoq, Mayor of  Gonfreville L'Orcher (France), twinned with the Saharawi camp of  Jreifia, took part in the 5th world conference of mayors for peace in Hiroshima, accompanied by the Saharawi representative Kenti Ouballah. During a press conference, Lecoq emphasised particularly the role France ought to play on the question by helping Morocco find a way out that was dignified and respectful of democracy.

06.08.01
Mauritania
President of the Republic Maaouiya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya received Mohamed Ould Kheddad, the Saharan coordinator with Minurso and special envoy of President of the SADR Mohamed Abdelaziz.
(AMI)

07.08.01
El Ayoun
A young Saharawi aged 23 years, Abeidi Boussoula, appears to have been stabbed by a Moroccan settler at  El Ayoun Playa.  The wound proved fatal. The Moroccan police claimed that it was an accident following a dispute.
(corr.)

09.08.01
Humanitarian Aid
The European Commission has granted aid for the Saharawi refugees in the Tindouf camps for 2001 of 11.8 million euros (approx 10.5 million US$). This aid is intended to provide a more balanced and varied diet and to cover urgent non-food needs of the groups at risk. The Commission released emergency aid of 3.77 million euros last June.

08.-16.08.01
15th World Festival of Youth and Students, Algeria 2001
A Saharawi delegation of over four hundred took part. The controversial festival was criticised by part of the youth and the independent press in Algeria because of the repressive policy of the authorities.
This time once again, violent incidents set the Moroccan and Saharawi delegations against one another. Moroccans attacked Saharawi participants during the opening ceremony, causing injuries on both sides. Already the day before the Moroccans had vandalised the Saharawi pavilion at the University of Bab Ezzouar. The Moroccan government protested, the king had given instructions for the wounded to be cared for in Morocco, the Algerian Ambassador was called to appear in Rabat. The Moroccan delegation withdrew on the 10th after having taken part in a dinner where it kept quiet about its intentions... The decision of withdrawal - taken at the top level of th state - probably arose following a political debate on the question of Western Sahara, organised on the 9th, during which the majority of the audience expressed itself in favour of independence. This is the fourth time that Morocco has left the festival on various pretexts.
For the highlights of the political activities, see
SPS dispatches (french) (english résumé).

10.08.01
Slovenia
In a letter addressed to the chairman of the Western Sahara support society, Mr. Samuel Zbogar, the state secretary at the Ministry of foreign affairs of the Republic of Slovenia reiterated full support of the Slovenian government for the ongoing efforts of the UN Secretary-General and his personal envoy James Baker to implement the settlement plan and agreements adopted by the parties to hold a free and fair referendum for the self-determination.

17.08.01
Spain
A delegation of Moroccan journalists will go to Madrid in September for meetings and debates on the question of the Sahara with officials from Spanish political organisations and NGOs. This propaganda campaign, just like the preceding one in the Canaries last June, is organised by the "Moroccan Sahara Association".

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