WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 16

14.-20.04.2002

TITLES

SAD
OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
EFERENDU
MOROCC
HUMAN RIGHT
HUMANITARIAN AI
SOLIDARIT
COMING U
INTERNE
NEW PUBLICATIONS

 

SADR

13.04.02
Palestine
"We are very concerned and preoccupied by the serious situation in the Middle East where our fraternal Palestinian people suffer a martyrdom after the re-occupation of their territories by Israeli forces", the President of the Republic declared before the 3rd promotion of reservists of the Saharawi Popular Army of Liberation at the military base of Chahid El Wali. As a sign of solidarity with the Palestinian people in these difficult times, marches and meetings of support were organised in different Saharawi wilayas. (SPS)

13.04.02
Cape Verde Islands
On the occasion of an official visit by the Algerian Minister for African Affairs,  Abdelkader Messahel to Cape Verde, Algeria and Cape Verde expressed their common outlook on this question and reiterated their support for the United Nations settlement plan and the Houston Agreement.(APS)

14.04.02
Venezuela
The Saharawi President sent a message of congratulations to his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, after the abortive coup d'état which he reversed in 48 hours. "The awareness and maturity which the Venezuelan people showed for the return of their valued symbol, President Hugo Chavez, is an exemplary testimony that peoples are not only the holders of national sovereignty but above all the impregnable rampart protecting democratic governments and constitutions", the President said. (SPS)

17.04.02
East Timor
President Abdelaziz congratulated Xanana Guzmao on his election as President of East Timor.

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

12.04.02
In a statement, a group of human rights defenders from the "territory of Western Sahara under Moroccan control" denounce the recent intimidations towards members of the human rights organisations after the actions carried out for the release of political prisoners: threats of reprisals against Saharawi families, refusal of granting a passport, refusal to leave the country, as well as travel by militants to Morocco. Human rights defenders reiterate their desire to pursue their struggle to establish the truth on the fate of the disappeared, for the release of political prisoners, compensation of injured parties, bringing to justice of those guilty of human rights abuses. They demand protection of the population faced with the dangers represented by anti-personnel mines, lifting the military patrol as well as giving access to the territory for press and observers. (
Communiqué )

16.04.02
Recent acts
Last week Tamek Ali Salem and Mohamed Adbaddayem, two employees of the commune of Assa-Zak, received orders to leave Assa to go, respectively to Meknès and Taounate.
The authorities refused to issue a passport to Tamek, former political prisoner, also local secretary of the CDT trades union and member of the national council. As the civil registration of the name of his daughter, Atthawra (revolution), was disallowed because this name does not figure on the official list of Moroccan names, Tamek does not receive a family allowance for his daughter.

The traditional dyeworks of El Hadaoui M'barek in Assa was ransacked and pillaged by the Moroccan secret police. El Hadaoui is accused of being a friend of the former Saharawi political prisoner, Sidi Mohamed Deddach.

The authorities forbade Ismaili Brahim from attending the Euromed Forum,  being held in Valencia, Spain from 12-14 April 2002.

A sit-in, organised a week ago in Dakhla by Saharawi unemployed demanding jobs, is continuing in front of the administration offices of the Moroccan occupier. (SPS, corr.)

14.04.02
Natural resources
Western Sahara has immense dunes 8 to 10 km wide and stretching 250 km south of Tarfaya. The sand is quarried and the major part exported by sea from the port of El Ayoun, to the Canary Islands in sand boats. In 1988, when this industry started, 4,450 t were exported. In 1998, the quantity exported rose to 596,522 t and in 2001 it reached 754,579 t, while the quantity destined for the internal market was around 30,000t. (press)

REFERENDUM

16.04.02
Italy
The Assembly of Regional Councils unanimously adopted a
declaration in which it invites the Italian government and the European Union to strengthen their support of the Peace Plan, to reject any other solution not having the agreement of the parties or not conforming with international law. It calls also for the respect of human rights and the release of prisoners of war on both sides.

12-14.04.02, Euro-mediterranean Civil Forum Valencia
Sidati's Statement
Speaking in the context of the Euro-mediterranean Civil Forum 2002 in Valencia, Spain, the minister counselor to the Presidency, Mohamed Sidati, declared that the Saharawi people do not agree with partition of the territory of Western Sahara. Criticising the multiple manoeuvres attempting to prevent the decolonisation of the territory, he asked the international community to show greater interest in the question in order to avoid a return to hostilities.

Report of the Working Group on the resolution of conflicts
The Forum noted that the conflict in Western Sahara is a problem of unfinished decolonisation, which could not be resolved by UN resolutions. It explicitly condemned  the attitude of Morocco postponing the referendum and favouring the illegal exploitation of Saharawi natural wealth. The Forum launched an appeal for free access to the occupied zones, the implementation of resolutions ensuring the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people and the appointment of a special representative for the Sahara in the EU.

18.04.02
European Parliament
Mrs Margot Kessler, President of the European Parliamentary Intergroup "Peace for the Saharawi people" in a
press statement expressed her "categorical rejection of the contents and the conclusions" of the report of the mission of Mrs Lalumière, President of the ad hoc delegation of the EP on Western Sahara. Kessler points out that, in defiance of any objectivity and impartiality, she defends the Moroccan position in the conflict. The report does not reflect, she says, the opinions of all the members of the delegation and does not respect her initial mandate, which was to deliver observations.

19.04.02
UN Secretary General's report on Western Sahara
In his report Kofi Annan limits himself to recalling that he is waiting for the decision of the Security Council on the four options. He states that his personal envoy, Mr Baker, is still ready to undertake the activities required by the option that the Council will choose. At the end of the month, the Council must decide on an extension of the mandate of MINURSO, it will not yet pronounce on an option.  

MOROCCO

17.04.02
Citizen Initiative
A group of 13 Moroccan citizens have formed a collective with the aim of thinking through and starting a discussion on the question of the Sahara. The collective has defined its principles and objectives in a charter, the exact contents of which are not yet known. (to be continued). (
Le Matin du Sahara et du Maghreb, L'Economiste)

HUMAN RIGHTS

58th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights , Geneva 19.03.-26.04.02

11.04.02
Item 5, Right to self-determination
The Organisation of Solidarity with the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America, OSPAAL, as well as a coalition of 15 Norwegian NGOs, NGO Forum for Human Rights, spoke in favour of the right to self-determination of Western Sahara.

12.04.02
The Commission adopted by consensus a resolution (
E.CN.4/2002/L.6), under the heading of the right of peoples to determine themselves, which invites the two parties in the conflict to implement the agreements which they have concluded on the settlement plan. It encourages the parties to pursue discussions already begun and to implement all the measures proposed for the identification of voters and the appeals procedure. It reaffirms the responsibility of the UN towards the Saharawi people, as defined in the Settlement Plan. It asks the parties instantly to "settle the problem of disappeared people and exhorts them to honour the obligation incumbent upon them in virtue of international humanitarian law, to release all persons held since the beginning of the conflict."

14.04.02
The Union of Saharawi Jurists sent a
letter to the President of the 58th session of the United Nations Commission of Human Rights, and a "Memorandum on the human rights situation in the occupied territory of Western Sahara".

16.04.02
Item 11: Civil and political rights
Abba Salek El Haissen, in the name of the American Association of Lawyers,
appealed for the creation of a committee of inquiry on forced disappearances, abductions and other human rights abuses perpetrated on Saharawis in Western Sahara by the forces of occupation. The NGO LIberation as well as the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination IMADR called for the setting up of adequate mechanisms able to warn and protect the Saharawi civil population in Western Sahara.

16.04.02
Mr Diégo Garcia Sayan (Peru), chair of a Working Group on forced or involuntary disappearances notes in his report that of the 249 cases concerning people of Saharawi origin disappeared in the territories controlled by Moroccan forces because they or members of their family were known to be or suspected of being members of the Polisario Front, the group has elucidated 143 cases. No new information has been received from the Moroccan government on the subject of 115 suspended cases whose fate remains very worrying. The group reminds the Moroccan government of the obligation incumbent on it, in virtue of article 13 of the declaration, to continue proceeding with inquiries so long as nothing is known on the fate of Saharawi victims of disappearance or the place where they are.

HUMANITARIAN AID

13.04.02
The WFP grants aid to Saharawi refugees
Dr.Tareq Chaya, regional coordinator of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) gave a press conference after his visit to the Saharawi refugee camps. He announced that the WFP will continue to supply humanitarian assistance to the refugees with the support of international donors, explaining that the next program covering a period of two years starting in September 2002, has an allocation of 30 million dollars for food aid estimated at 68,000 tonnes, for 155,000 persons. This program will be put before the Administration Council next month.
The 2000-2002 program currently under way, which will finish at the end of August, allocated 27 million dollars, provides for the delivery of 64,000 tonnes of foodstuffs (cereals - usually flour, legumes - generally lentils, oil, sugar and salt). It is the total quantity for two years that the WFP should deliver before the end of August. But the actual cover in terms of confirmed contributions of this program is at present 50% of the budget and the quantities, whereas the representative of WFP believes the supply to cover 80%. "We will continue to offer assistance to reach the result of 100%, Mr Chaya declared, who recalled that the WFP has been supplying humanitarian aid since 1986 at the request of the Algerian government. During a debate, the WFP official, replying to a question on the conditions of life in the camps, is said to have emphasised that he had concerns about malnutrition of women and children. "We have seen some children in the hospitals suffering from malnutrition", Mr Chaya said.
Needs for basic foodstuffs for 155,000 people represent 65,083.2 tonnes over 2 years, the duration of the WFP program. Monthly ration per person : cereals: 13.5kg, legumes: 2kg, oil: 1kg, sugar 0.9kg.

SOLIDARITY

Support committee for Western Sahara in Scotland
On the occasion of the 105th STUC congress (Perth, from 15 to 17 April 2002), the following trade unions agreed to set up a Scottish Support Committee for Western Sahara: AMICUS-MSF, RMTS, PCS, FBU, GPMU, NUJ, UNISON, ASOLEF.

12-16.04.02
Sweden
Different demonstrations of support for a referendum of self-determination in Western Sahara took place in Sweden: on 12 April a demonstration in Stockholm, handing in hundreds of signatures on a petition to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the 15th a seminar organised by Emmaus Björkå and on the 16th a meeting organised by  "Föreningen Västsahara" with the participation of a student group "Jakobsbergs Folkhöskola" (
"Morocco out of Western Sahara", Press Statement of the Polisario Front Office to the Nordic Countries).

Nueva Asociación de apoyo al Pueblo Saharaui: Asociación Cantabria por el Sáhara (constituida el pasado 27 de febrero de 2002),
General Dávila 294 - Barrio San Francisco 19, 5º dcha, 39007 SANTANDER - CANTABRIA,
Telf: 942 331 767 / 942 558 351, e-mail:
mahbes@nodo50.org

COMING UP...

23.04.02, UK: Over 40 people from all walks of life (students, pensioners, police, engineers, TV producers, academics) forming the Rainbow Rover convoy will travel in about 20 Land Rovers, buses and lorries, carrying such diverse items as spare parts, medical equipment, textbooks and children's toys out to the Saharawis. They leave the UK on 23 April and will drive through Spain and Algeria to Tindouf. This "Chris Winchilsea Memorial convoy", commemorates the Liberal peer who started the convoys in the 1980s, and did much to spread awareness of the Saharawis' plight in Britain and further afield. The vehicles and everything in them will be left for the Saharawis and the participants will fly home at the beginning of May.

25.04.02, New York: The Security Council intends to hold consultations on Western Sahara.

21-22.05.02, Marriott Champ-Elysées, Paris, France: "Sanctioned Oil States 2002" conference. Focus on Sanctioned Oil States worldwide and issues for investment, exploration, oil and gas venture, production, competition, negotiations and contracts, players and competitors, US policies, political risks, Government policies, strategies, contagion, investments and energy finance. Key impacted countries covered include inter alia: Western Sahara.

24.05.02, Brussels: International Conference on rights and duties relating to the protection of the natural resources of the occupied territories of Western Sahara. Programme and reply formulary Contact : sahraoui.comite@oxfamsol.be

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