WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 23

02.-08.06.2002

RASD 
OCCUPIED TERRITORiES
REFERENDUM
MOROCCO
ALGERIA
SPAIN
HUMAN RIGHTS
HUMANITARIAN AID
SOLIDARITY
COMING UP
INTERNET
NEW PUBLICATIONS

RASD

02-06.06.02
Visit to Scandinavia
The Saharawi coordinator with the UN carried out a working visit in Norway, which is at present a member of the Security Council and which supports a solution on the Sahara within international law.  M'hamed Khaddad was received at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he met the Foreign Affairs Committee of the parliament and various political and humanitarian organisations. In Finland he took part in the Social-Democrat congress. (
Press release Norwegian Committee)

02.06.02
The Norwegian geophysical exploration company TGS-NOPEC began its program of seismic surveys on the coast of Western Sahara, in keeping with the agreement signed on 31 March with the Moroccan government, the American oil company Kerr McGee and the French one TotalFinaElf. The Polisario Front, through the spokesman M'Hamed Khaddad, Saharawi coordinator with the UN, visiting Norway, condemned the involvement off TGS in Western Sahara, "which increases the risk of armed conflict and destabilisation of the whole region." (
Press release)

04.06.02
In a speech to the members of the National Secretariat of the Government, the National Council, the Consultative Council, Polisario Front officials and senior army officers, the President of the Saharawi Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, announced that on 9 June - "the Day of the Martyr" - a campaign will begin for the popular grassroots congresses. A commission of 84 members is to be in charge of preparing the organisation of the election of the two hundred delegates.
Abdelaziz also mentioned the Technical Cooperation Agreement signed recently with the Anglo-Australian company Fusion Oil & Gas plc, intending to determine the economic value of offshore oil deposits. He made clear that in order to avoid complicating the situation SADR, unlike Morocco, would not sign an agreement for oil prospecting with this company nor with any others. (SPS)

06.06.02
At the end of a working meeting between the Panafrican Youth Movement and the Union of Saharawi Youth, these two organisations published a joint statement (
French).

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

01.06.02
Spanish delegation turned back
A delegation of Spanish politicians and journalists, arriving by charter flight to El Ayoun, was turned back to the Canary Islands. It was led by Carmelo Ramirez, vice-president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria (government), accompanied by Maria del Mar Julios, Spanish MP, Claudia Morales, member of the Spanish senate, Txomin Aurrekotxea, member of the Basque Parliament and chair of the parliamentary intergroup "Peace for the Saharawi People", Eusebio Bautista, member of the Parliament of the Canary Islands, and mayors of Arono, Telde and La Laguna (Canaries), as well as seven journalists.  The delegation arrived about 1pm, and after their passports were checked, they were held for three hours on the tarmac 10 metres from the airport, and were refused water or the use of the toilet. They were forced to return on the threat of confiscation of the plane by Moroccan policemen who were shrieking hysterically, "Moroccan Sahara".
The Moroccan government said that the delegation had not used official channels to indicate its visit, which had been announced both to the Spanish Foreign Affairs ministry and to the Spanish Embassy in Rabat. Meetings had been arranged with the governors of El Ayoun and Smara and with representatives of MINURSO. The Moroccan authorities declared themselves "surprised" by the arrival of the delegation, but a large contingent of police was waiting on the ground.
The aim of the visit was to test "the new air announced by the Moroccan regime in recent months and to note on the ground how the peace plan was progressing". According to a journalist who accompanied the delegation, it was the Moroccan military who pushed the civil authorities to bar entry to the delegation.
The Moroccan press called the visit "hostile" and "a gross provocation", the government declared that the delegation "whose unfriendly intentions towards Morocco are well known and whose purposes are far from being impartial, was sent to Laayoune with the clear goal of antagonising the Moroccan authorities and the UN." The president of the Canaries government said the Moroccan decision was "not very clever". Carmelo Ramirez pointed out that this trip was only the first of a series of 15, which Spanish politicians from various communities would undertake to "make the blockade visible which the territory is subjected to by the occupier, Morocco". The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Piqué, asked all people wishing to travel to the former Spanish colony to fulfil "all the necessary formalities". In a public statement on 4 June through the daily "Al Ittihad Al Ichtiraki", the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, said he was surprised by this visit, denying categorically that he was informed about it and denying that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had authorised elements known for their hostility towards Morocco to visit "the Southern Provinces". The Canaries MEP, Isidoro Sanchez, in front of the European Union denounced on 5 June the expulsion of the Spanish delegation.(communiqué MinInfo RASD
French, Spanish media)

REFERENDUM

31.05.-01.06.02
Lawyers Congress
The International Association of Lawyers for Western Sahara organised, in collaboration with the Barcelona College of Barristers, a legal congress on Western Sahara. The discussions were on (1) the present situation in Western Sahara, the latest proposals from the United Nations, the Peace Plan and international law; (2) the protection, through international institutions, of the natural resources of Western Sahara from exploitation; (3) the situation of the Saharawi population in the occupied territories and human rights abuses. The first subject was presented by the lawyer Felipe Briones Vives and the Saharawi coordinator with MINURSO, M'Hamed Khaddad; the second by Anna Badia, professor of international law at the University of Barcelona and Mohamed Fadel Mhamed, legal adviser to the presidency of SADR; the third by Abdeslam Omar Lahcen, president of AFAPREDESA and Juan Soroeta, professor of international law at the University of the Basque Country.

03.06.02
The Dutch Section of the International Association of Jurists for Western Sahara, IAJUWS, sent a
letter to the Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok and the Spanish Jose María Aznar.

06.06.02
UN : Committee of 24
The special committee charged with studying the situation concerning the implementation of the Declaration of Independence in colonial countries and peoples looked at the questions of the non-self-governing territories of Gibraltar and Western Sahara. After having heard petitioners from the two territories and having proceeded to an exchange of views, the special committee referred the examination of this question to the Fourth Commission of the General Assembly's fifty seventh session.
Among the four options that the Secretary General presented to the Security Council in February 2002, the last three signify simply abandoning the Settlement Plan, observed Mr Boukhari, Polisario front representative to the UN. He judged these options to be worrying, in so far as they amount to accepting the legitimacy of Moroccan obstruction to the Settlement Plan, which remains the only solution accepted by the two parties. If the UN does not have the courage to stand up to Moroccan obstruction, it should retire from the territory in order not to legitimise the Moroccan occupying power, he concluded.
The resentative of Antigua and Barbuda expressed his concern in regard to the provision (of the Framework Agreement) permitting participation in a referendum after having lived at least twelve months in Western Sahara. What is there to stop an occupying power from sending its citizens en masse to this region, he asked? (
UN News)(Intervención of Bukhari in Spanish)

MOROCCO

"Economy and Enterprise", a Moroccan monthly, uncovers the face of royal wealth, estimated to be at least 550 million dollars. The main elements of the royal patrimony : Omnium nord-african (ONA, mines, agri-business, communications, insurance, distribution). "Ergis" is the reference shareholder with 13% of the capital alongside multinationals such as AXA, Coca Cola, Auchan), Sevam (packaging and bottling), Royal Agricultural Domains (150 million dollars' turnover of which two thirds from export, notably citrus fruits), Primarios (furniture), Sherifian Company of Textiles (CCT, textiles, agricultural greenhouse film).(AP 05.06.02, repris par Africatime - El Pais 07.06.02)

ALGERIA

05.06.02
Mahrez Lamari, President of the National Algerian Committee of solidarity with the Saharawi people (CNASPS), received a delegation of the Committee of Algerians in Europe in solidarity with the Saharawi people (CAESPS). In a press statement, CNAPS points out that common actions and initiatives have been decided on "in order to demand respect" for the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people and the implementation of the settlement plan and the Houston agreements to organise a referendum of self-determination "with every safeguard". (SPS)

SPAIN

05.06.02
The Basque government announces the visit, from 30 June to 6 July, of the head of the autonomous government, the lehendakari Juan José Ibarretxe, to the Saharawi refugee camps and to the liberated zones of SADR. This is the first visit of a president of an autonomous region of the Spanish state.

12-30.06.02
Plebiscite
A popular consultation will be organised in the Canaries allowing the population to pronounce on the opportunity of a referendum in Western Sahara. 200 polling stations will be set up over the whole of the Canary Islands by the Canarian Association of solidarity with the Saharawi people. In order to avoid double voting, a list of voters will be drawn up daily on the basis of identity cards.  

HUMAN RIGHTS

15-28.05.02
POWs
A team of ICRC delegates, including a medical doctor, a dentist and an ophthalmologist, carried out a visit from 15 to 28 May to Moroccan prisoners held by the Polisario Front. The delegates also had technical discussions with Polisario Front representatives regarding combatants from the Front who disappeared in the course of the Western Sahara conflict. (
Press release ICRC)

08.06.02
Sanction
Moumen Mohamed Mahmoud lost his job in the "National Promotion" in Smara. He is a human rights activist, a member of the Committee of families of disappeared Saharawis, who attended in April the 58th session of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Following hearings of the ad hoc delegation from the European Parliament in February last in El Ayoun, the chair of the Sahara section of the Forum of Truth and Justice, Moutik Elhoussine and Noumria Brahim, members of the section, lost their jobs. (week
08/02)

HUMANITARIAN AID

31.05.02
The Saharawi minister for Cooperation signed a cooperation agreement with the autonomous government of Cantabria, which provides 90,000 euros from their community to help the Saharawi people, of which 12,000 will go to the local association of support for the Saharawi people and the rest for projects in the wilaya of El Ayoun. A joint committee will analyse various projects and fix priorities. Since 1997 Cantabria has sent nearly one million euros to projects in this wilaya, among others the construction of a school and provision of drinking water.

02.06.02
The municipality of Elche decided to grant 55,000 euros for cooperation projects in the Saharawi refugee camps.

SOLIDARITY

03.06.02
An exhibition entitled "Fotoudstilling om Afrikas sidste Koloni"(Photo exhibition about Africa's last colony) was opened at Blågårds Bibliotek in Copenhagen (Denmark) on 3rd June, 2002. The exhibition will continue until 1st July 2002. For more information, you may contact the Representation of Frente POLISARIO to Denmark at:
polisario@mail.dk.

04.06.02
Australia
Australian Parliamentarians, prominent members of Australia's legal and human rights community as well as leaders of the trade union movement showed their support for the people of Western Sahara at a reception held at Parliament House in Sydney. The event was organised by the Amnesty International NSW Parliamentary Group and hosted by Janelle Saffin MLC and Tony Kelly MLC.

COMING UP

First ever meeting between the Youth of Moroccan Democrats Abroad and the Union of Youth from Saguiet el Hamra and Rio de Oro (UJSARIO), with participation from organisations from Morocco and abroad. Saturday 15 June 2002 from 13.30 hours to 17.00 hours in the University of Paris-Sorbonne, TURGOT amphitheatre, 12 place Panthéon 75005 PARIS Métro : Cluny La Sorbonne, ligne 10. Entrance free.

Exposición de fotografías de Jose Luis Irigoien sobre los campamentos de refugiados de Tinduf
Bilbao: hasta el 30 de Junio en El espacio de los Mundos de Bilbao C/Simon Bolivar 17.
Gasteiz: durante el mes de Julio al espacio de los Mundos de Gasteiz

Documentary
Charles Calhoun and Nancy O‚Donnell, owners of Casablanca Productions, located in La Jolla, traveled to Tindouf, Algeria, to make a documentary in the Sahrawi refugees camps to witness Saharawi refugee living conditions firsthand.

Película
El director Pedro Pérez Rosado comenzará en septiembre el rodaje en los territorios liberados saharauis su nueva película, "Sahara, cuentos de una guerra", un film que denuncia la invasión de Marruecos y Mauritania y que estará protagonizada por el actor argentino Gaston Pauls. (Estrella digital, 05.06.02)

INTERNET

OPINION

>> Les méthodes du gouvernement Sharon inspirent-elles les autorités marocaines dans leur politique d'occupation du Sahara Occidental ? , Pierre Galand

>> The new Morocco looks suspiciously like the old one, Khatry Beirouk

NEW PUBLICATIONS
[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]

Français

English

Castellano

Nuevo libro

 

Algunas de las numerosas publicaciones sobre la visita de una delegación en El Aaiun y reacciones:

Deutsch

Italiano.

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