The conditions of detention in the "black prison" of El Ayoun are still catastrophic, see recent report published by AFAPREDESA (Spanish).
About a hundred Saharawi detainees, including some political detainees, signed a letter to Amnesty International to complain about their "harsh conditions of detention" and threatening to start an unlimited hunger strike if the Moroccan authorities do not respond positively to their grievances : "immediate unconditional release of all political detainees, a stop to unfair trials and forced confessions, sending an international mission of inquiry and opening of Western Sahara to international observers and media." (corr.)
Nasiri Ahmed (Hamadi Mohamed Lamine Jiyed), chair of the Forum for Truth and Justice in Smara, is presently held in the "black prison", awaiting his trial due on 18 September, accused of having been a ring-leader in the Smara riots in November 2001 (see week 47/01). A defender of human rights, he has already been in prison in 1992 and from 1993 to 1994 (see week 25). (corr.)
Meanwhile, the judicial police continue interrogating young Saharawis from the Maatallah area of El Ayoun, looking for those responsible for the attack on the police station on 19 June. Three people have already been sentenced in this affair (see week 29). (corr.)
Dozens of Saharawi graduates organised a sit-in in front of the administration building of the Moroccan occupation to demand work. The gathering which lasted three hours, was an occasion to recall that "priority for jobs goes to Moroccan settlers while indigenous Saharawis are reduced to the dole", as one participant deplored. (SPS)
Resolution of the Security Council S/RES/1429 (2002) (PDF or HTML)
The Council unanimously decided to extend the mandate of MINURSO until 31 January 2003.
The Security Council reaffirmed the validity of the settlement plan, it "continues to strongly support the efforts of the Secretary General and his Personal Envoy, to find a political solution to this long-standing dispute... and expresses its readiness to consider any approach which provides for self-determination...".
"The resolution is a victory for the Saharawi people and for international law", President Mohamed Abdelaziz stated in an exclusive interview given to SPS.
"All the members of the Security Council were unanimous in considering the conflict (...) to be a question of decolonisation, needing a solution through the exercise by the Saharawi people of their right to self-determination", the President emphasised. Reaffirming "the validity of the UN settlement plan", the international community has clearly "rejected the draft Frame-work agreement". (SPS)
In a press conference in Algiers, the Saharawi minister for Foreign Affairs, Ould Salek considered that the resolution contained two essential points: the peaceful and definitive solution must necessarily involve the application of the principle of the right of self-determination, and the UN/OAU peace plan remains valid. He added in conclusion that the Council recognises that the nature of the Moroccan-Saharawi conflict is a question of decolonisation, which must be resolved by a referendum, and that it rejects the draft "framework-agreement", aiming to legitimise the occupation. (Declaration of Ould Salek) (see also: declaration of M. Khaddad, PF coordinator with MINURSO and Press release Polisario Representation to Australia)
"The members of the Security Council have preferred to give a clear unfettered mandate to Mr Baker to continue his efforts of political mediation", observed Mr Bennouna, the Moroccan Ambassador at the UN. "We hope that we will manage to negotiate a fair and lasting solution on the basis of the approach which he will propose". A spokesman for the Moroccan ministry of Foreign Affairs declared himself "satisfied" by the latest resolution of the Security Council, considering that it supports a "negotiated political solution". (MAP, AFP)
In a statement, the Algerian minister of Foreign Affairs writes that "this resolution expresses perfectly the concern of the international community to promote a fair and lasting solution for this conflict, on the basis of international law and the doctrine of the United Nations on the question of decolonisation". (APS)
The Vice-President and spokesman of the government, Mariano Rajoy, repeated the position of Spain in favour of agreement between the parties, because, "when there is agreement, the situation becomes more stable and does not generate conflict... For the moment, the only agreement which exists is the referendum", he added.
"France, which played an active role in the search for consensus within the Council, in liaison with the parties, welcomes the adoption of this resolution, which it considers as a satisfying result." (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
The Russian ministry of Foreign Affairs underlined that "with Russia's active participation, this resolution was successfully oriented toward voicing additional political support for UN efforts to bring about a peaceful settlement of the dispute around Western Sahara that takes into account the lawful interests of the parties involved - Morocco and the POLISARIO Front - and envisaging the realization of the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination.». (full statement)
The president of the European Coordination of Support for the Saharawi People, in a letter to President Abdelaziz, is delighted with "the unanimous decision of the United Nations Security Council confirming the settlement plan for the conflict through the respect of the principles of the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination. This clarification puts an end to the prevarications and hesitations of the Council and to the attempts of Morocco to divert the international institution from its obligation to bring to its conclusion the process of decolonisation of Western Sahara. (corr.)
The Federation of Spanish Institutions of solidarity with the Saharawi people (FEDISSAH) expressed its "satisfaction" with the adoption of the resolution which constitutes a "resounding defeat" for the Moroccan position and claims and "buries for ever the draft Framework-Agreement". (SPS)
The National Algerian Committee of solidarity with the Saharawi People (CNASPS) "welcomes the results and conclusions of the UN, which establish unequivocally that the question of Western Sahara is a question of decolonisation." (SPS)
The French Committee for Western Sahara writes that, "if one can be satisfied with being reminded of the principle of 'self-determination of the Saharawi people', resolution 1429 only brings with it a mitigated satisfaction. Too many telling indications of the inclination of the UN in favour of Morocco and suggestive of pressure on the Saharawi leadership, lead one to doubt the sincerity of the intentions of the internationalorganisation." (Declaration French>
Speech from the throne
On the occasion of the Feast of the Throne, King Mohammed VI repeated his "unshakeable determination to protect our territorial integrity and not to give up a single inch of our territory". He stressed "with force the categorical rejection of any partitionist position" and reaffirmed Moroccan sovereignty on the islet Toura (Leila/Perejil). He asked Spain for a "clear definition" of the relations it intends to establish with Morocco.
The President of the Saharawi Republic "deplored" that Mohamed VI should have lapsed into "escapism and intransigence on the colonial fait accompli". He pointed out "the falsification" of obvious truths and "mystifications", which tend to divert the attention of public opinion from the socio-economic and political problems with which Morocco is struggling. The king of Morocco attacked Algeria head-on by blaming it for "his own problems", the President pointed out, denouncing this policy "which is contrary to fraternity and good neighbourliness". Morocco attacked Spain, Mr Abdelaziz indicated, which is "a privileged partner of countries and peoples of the Arab Maghreb", affirming that "provocation, blackmail and aggressiveness against a good friend of our peoples and those of Africa, is contrary to the interests of the peoples of the region". (SPS)
The elections of the Chamber of Representatives (parliament) will take place on 27 September with a proportional ballot.
According to the Madrid daily La Razon, Morocco has just bought from Byelo-Russia 50 combat tanks T-72, in the context of a programme of arms purchases from countries other than its usual supplier, the USA. The objective is to avoid, according to the paper, an American veto on the use of these arms in the case of a possible conflict with Spain. Morocco recently bought in France F-3 self-propelled 155 mm artillery batteries with a range of 30 km. Morocco is negotiating with the Saudis for the purchase of 20 F-16 fighter planes, bought by Saudi Arabia from the USA, which have just arrived at Saudi bases. (week 10). La Razon claims that about 20 Moroccan pilots are thought to be receiving training on the F-16 in Belgium, which was denied by the Belgian minister of Defence in a letter last March to Pierre Galand, President of EUCOCO.
54th session of the Sub-Committee on promotion and protection of human rights
The International League for the rights and liberation of Peoples (LIDLIP) declared: "For some months, we have been receiving reports on cases of serious human rights abuses in the Spanish former colony, Western Sahara.
Human rights activists and defenders are living through a real martyrdom in this country: threats, persecutions, attempted arrests, arbitrary arrests and sacking of human rights defenders. Should Western Sahara remain at the mercy of daily abuses of international norms of human rights? LIDLIP launches an appeal to the International Community to put more pressure on Morocco to implement immediately the settlement agreement to bring this country out of its exceptional state. The right to self-determination of the Saharawi people, reaffirmed, once again by the latest resolution of the UN Security Council, should be respected in accordance with contemporary international law."
Informe sobre la situación de los presos políticos saharauis en la Cárcel Negra de El Aaiún: Hacinamientos, Enfermedades, Falta de alimentación, Violaciones Sexuales y Cohecho de las autoridades, AFAPREDESA, 11.07.02.
European Conference of support to the Saharawi people, EUCOCO 2002,
Peace and Self-determination for the Saharawi people
Modena (Italy) 25-27 October 2002
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