WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 43+44

20.10.-02.11.2002

 

 

SADR

25.-30.10.02
Official visit to Italy
ThePresident of the Saharawi republic was received in Rome by Alfredo Mantica, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who expressed his country's support for the UN resolutions concerning Western Sahara and the necessity of resolving the conflict in accordance with international law.  Mohamed Abdelaziz was accompanied by the Minister for Cooperation, Baba Salek, the President's councillor, Mohamed Sidati, the MINURSO co-ordinator M'Hamed Khadad and by the secretaries of UGTSARIO, of NUSW and UJSARIO.  The Saharawi delegation met the local and provincial authorities of Modena and took part in the 28th European conference of support for the Saharawi people.
Following his visit to Rome, the Saharawi president was received by the vice-president of Parliament and by the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Mr Fiorello Provera.  He also met with representatives of several political parties - Left Democracts (DS), National Alliance (AN), Rifondazione Comunista (RC), and the Italian Communist Party (PDCI).  He further visited the WFP, where he met the executive director. (SPS)

29.10.02
Valladolid
The University of Valladolid organised a day conference on "Western Sahara: one people, one nation", facilitated by M'Hamed Khadad, Saharawi co-ordinator with MINURSO, Brahim Ghali, POLISARIO Front representative in Spain and Felipe Briones, General Secretary of the International Union of Saharawi Jurists for Western Sahara.  (agencies)

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

24.10.02
Tamek judgement confirmed at appeal
Agadir Appeal Court publicised its judgement in the trial of 17th October.  The sentence was confirmed as 2 years of imprisonment and a fine of 10000 Dirhams (cUS$1000).  Tamek went on hunger strike from 1st November to protest against his conditions of detention and to demand to be transferrred to the prison at Sale.
(See
week 42 and the press release from Amnesty international:  Free prisoner of conscience Ali-Salem Tamek, ai-index MDE 29/004/2002, 23/10/2002)

29.10.02
Arrests
Four young Saharawis, attempting to join the refugee camps in Algeria, were arrested on either 25th or 27th October, according to sources, in the vicinity of the Moroccan defensive wall, near Oued Safa.  After 2 days of interrogation and torture in Smara, they were incarcerated in the "black prison" of El Ayoun.  According to sources close to them, the lack of freedom of movement and repression in the occupied territories prompted the flight of these young people.  They are

  1. Mohamed-Fadel Embarec alias Mohamed Fadel M'barek Moulaye Ahmed
  2. Mohamed-Salem Mohamed-Yeslem Cheij alias Mohamed Salem Bahaha
  3. Lehbib Emhamed Laabeid alias Lehbibb Emhamed Labeid
  4. Busula alias Ould Boussaoula

(AFAPREDESA, english press release)

30.10.02
Trial deferred
The trial of
Nassiri Ahmed, human rights activist and member of the Sahara Sectin of the Truth & Justice Forum, was deferred once again to the 13th November, due to the absence of witnesses to support the charges (sic).  His lawyers presented a request for him to be temporarily released, which was refused.  Four foreign observers followed the process.

01.11.02
Protests
Saharawi students at Rabat University organised a peaceful march this week, in solidarity with Saharawi political detainees.  They published a communique in which they demanded the unconditional release of Saharawi political detainees, the establishment of the truth on the fate of the Saharawi Disappeared and the lifting of the military, security and media quarantine experienced by those parts of the Western Sahara under Moroccan control.  They again denounced human rights violations in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara and in particular the arrests and unfair trials visited upon Saharawi human rights activists.  (corr.)

NATURAL RESOURCES

23.10.02
Series of Seismic Surveys
France's Compagnie Generale de Geophysique has just completed a major 3D seismic survey on ONAREP's behalf. The survey covered 1,750 km on Morocco's west coast down to Western Sahara. Further to the south, a 2D seismic campaign that the vessel Northern Access from TGS Nopec has conducted on the Western Sahara coast has also been completed. That survey was carried out for ONAREP but also for TotalFinaElf and Kerr McGee, to which Morocco awarded huge concessions last year south of Cape Jube, off the disputed territory's coast. (AFRICA ENERGY INTELLIGENCE N° 332)

MOROCCO

24.10.02
Free officers' letter - follow up to
Week 42
According to Maghreb Confidential, the missive was prepared by a group of 200 junior and senior officers, the majority of which were stationed in Western Sahara.  It was initially going to be sent to the King on the occasion of the legislative elections.  In reaction, all officers in the Southern Military Zone have been put under surveillance and policing stepped up.  The pro-government press in Morocco, for its part, accuses the Spanish secret services of having created the Committee, which they allege is in fact just one person based in Spain.

FRANCE-MOROCCO

30.10.02
Questioned about the Western Sahara conflict while visiting Morocco, the French Foreign Minister declared "Western Sahara is very important for the stability of the whole Maghreb... We think that the coming months must be used to try and find a lasting and balanced solution.  In our opinion, this solution must be founded on the base of the Framework Agreement." (
Diplomatic news, French Foreign Affairs Ministry)

HUMAN RIGHTS

20.10.02
Freedom and Justice for the 526 Saharawi Disappeared
The International Bureau for the Respect of Human Rights in Western Sahara, BIRDHSO, launches an appeal to to the King of Morocco, to the Spanish Government and to the UN Commission on Human Rights and is collceting signatures.(
Appeal and petitions )

01.11.02
Rafto Symposium
In honour of Mohammed Daddach, Rafto Foundation Human Rights Prize Laureate 2002, a symposium took place in Bergen (Norway) on the theme of "Western Sahara  - an occupied secret". 
In the presence of Daddach, specialists giving talks included: Yahia M. Mahmoud, Saharawi Researcher at the University of Lund, Department of Social and Economic Geography, Margot Kessler, Member of the European Parliament, President of the Intergroup "Peace for the Saharawi People", Group of the Party of European Socialists, Member SPD - Germany, Pedro Pinto Leite, Secretary General of the International Platform of Jurists for East Timor (IPJET) and Member of Executive Council of the International Association of Jurists for Western Sahara, Emhamed Khaddad, Chief negotiator with Morocco and UN, Member of the National Secretariat of Front POLISARIO, the liberation movement of Western Sahara, Ronny Hansen, Coordinator of the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara and Executive Officer for International Affairs, Norwegian Humanist Association .(
Sahara update )

The Rafto Prize Ceremony took place on Sunday November 3rd at 6pm in the National Theatre of Bergen. Daddach left El Ayoun on 30th October for Casablanca, with a dozen Saharawi human rights activists waving him goodbye.... and numerous Moroccan secret service agents.  Although his baggage was checked in, it wasn't put on the plane at El Ayoun, and Daddach left for Norway without his baggage... (corr.)
>>
More info

HUMANITARIAN AID

24.10.02
UNHCR
The UN agency renewed its urgent appeal (see
UNHCR News, 29.08.02 ) aimed at getting donor countries to finance aid for the Saharawi refugees.  It has only received $1.6million of its required budget of $4.6 million, from the governments of USA, Japan and Spain - and the actress Angelina Jollie.  (UNHCR news 24.10.02)

SOLIDARITY

20.10.02
Switzerland
The Swiss Socialist Party Congress approved a resolution in which it reiterated its support for the self-determination of the Saharawi people and demanded access to the occupied territories for independent observers. 

21.10.02
ESIB, The National Unions of Students in Europe, umbrella organisation of 50 national unions of students from 37 countries, adopted a resolution during its congress in Turku, Finland, which expressed its solidarity with Western Sahara and demanded respect for international law and a self-determination referendum.  The resolution called on the international community to secure humanitarian aid flows sufficient for the refugees and to promote training that would allow Saharawi students in the camps and the occupied territories to prepare themselves for the construction of a democratic and prosperous society in Western Sahara.  (full text
Sahara update )

25-26-27.10.02
«Peace and Self-Determination for the Saharawi people»
The 28th European Conference of Coordination of Support for the Saharawi People, EUCOCO, took place in Modena, Italy with over 350 delegates from 18 countries in attendance.   The conference was hosted by popular associations in Emilia-Romagna and welcomed by the municipal, provincial and regional authorities of Emilia-Romagna.  In his opening speech, Saharawi President Mohammed Abdelaziz emphasised the responsibility of the EU in the implementation of the Settlement Plan, recalling that in the past, European hesitancy had encouraged Morocco's instransigence.  Abdelaziz felt that the EU could and should play a decisive role in the solution of the Morocco-Saharawi conflict and saluted Algeria and Spain's position on the upholding of international law.  Over two days, the participants worked in workshops on political action, humanitarian aid, human rights, women's and young people's advancement.  Hommage was paid to Fadel Ismail, the recently deceased Saharawi intellectual and diplomat, in the presence of his widow and of Ahmed Baba Miske.  This occasion was marked by the presentation of his post-humously published work "Letter to My Moroccan Brother" (now available in French).
The conference adopted a plan of campaign with the objective of securing the implementation of the UN peace plan and the establishment of a timetable for the Saharawi people to exercise their right to self-determination as quickly as possible.  The conference denounced human rights violations in Western Sahara and called for support for the "Freedom & Justice for the 526 Saharawi Disappeared" campaign launched by BIRDHSO.  The conference expressed its concern with the gaps in the supply of food aid and demanded that sufficient aid be made available and distributed through the existing experienced channels.  Working with the international jurists association, the conference decided to pursue and increase its work for the protection and defence of natural resources.  Finally, the conference appealed to Moroccan democrats to work for the pulling-out of the Moroccan army from Western Sahara and the Saharawi people's right to self-determination.  (
Special page )

01.11.02
Declaration
Eleven NGOs from Slovenia and Hungary published a joint declaration of support for the Saharawi people's right to self-determination and demanding that the UN swiftly implement its peace plan.  The declaration calls for an end to the exploitation of the natural resources of the occupied territories by Morocco, and demands that the EU make a positive engagement in the problem. (
full text )

COMING UP...

Albacete, 15.11.0,: Mesa redonda sobre el Sahara Occidental con motivo del 27 Aniversario de los Acuerdos Tripartitos de Madrid.
Ponentes: José Jimenez Morcillo, Maestro de mantenimiento 1973-76 en Fos Bucrá. Pedro Sainz de Baranda Bru, Tte.de Infanteria en Villa Cisnéros 1974-76. Antonio Manzanares Palarea, Maestro en Villa Cisnéros 1974-75.
Lugar: Salón de Plenos del Ayuntamiento Viejo (Museo Municipal) en Albacete a las 19.30 horas. Posteriormente, en los salones del Hotel Europa de Albacete, se realizará una cena reunión. Info: Asoc.Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui de Albacete, Info:
mailto:albacete@ncs.es

Fuenlabrada (Madrid), Ayuntamiento, 22, 23 y 24 de Noviembre 2002: VII CONFERENCIA INTERNACIONAL DE SOLIDARIDAD DE OSPAAAL: ¿Guerra o procesos de paz? Palestina, Colombia, Sáhara, otros ... Info: mailto:ospsolidaridad@urbs.org /mailto:osp@urbs.org

Vuelos charter

04-09.12.02, Vuelo charter Barcelona- Tindouf. Infos: ACAPS-CATALUNYA, secció Vilanova i la Geltru, mailto:afont@pie.xtec.es

05.- 09.12.02, Vuelo charter "ARAGÓN CON EL SÁHARA". Info: As. Um Draiga, mailto:umdraiga@umdraiga.com

24.-29.01.03, Volo charter Pisa -Tindouf. Associazione di Solidarietà con il Popolo Saharawi Ban Slout Larbi, Sesto Fiorentino.Info: mailto:saharawi@libero.it

21.12.02- 04.01.03: Campo di lavoro con bambine e bambini Sahrawi, Associazione "Jaima Sahrawi", via S. Vincenzi 10/a, 42100 Reggio Emilia. E-mail: mailto:jaimasahrawi@libero.it

INTERNET

OPINION

El Karama No 23, oct-déc. 2002, publication du Bureau International pour le Respect des droits de l'Homme au Sahara Occidental, BIRDHSO. (version PDF)

EUCOCO 28: 28ème Conférence européenne du soutien au peuple sahraoui, Modène 25-27.10.02

The maritime jurisdiction of the Western Sahara and the duty of states to preserve Saharan fisheries resources pending self-determination, Jeffrey J. Smith, 25.10.02.

Nuevos textos en Sahara News Papers:

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

Lettre à mon frère marocain, Mohamed-Fadel Ismaïl, introduction de Ahmed Baba Miské, édition @rso, Delémont, Suisse, octobre 2002, 58 p.

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