WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 07-08 : 13.02.-26.02.2005

original french

 

SADR

12.02.05, Moroccan prisoners of war
Two Moroccan prisoners, Captain Youssef Al Makrazi and a soldier, Ahmed Al Hamdaoui, escaped and returned to Morocco. There remain 408 prisoners of war in the hands of the Polisario Front. [MAP]

13.02.05, Demonstration against the wall
Over 200 people, principally from Italy, including the President of the town of Pisa, parliamentarians from Tuscany and elected representatives from Livorno, Florence, Pistoia, as well as representatives of NGOs working in solidarity with the Saharawi people, but also from Spain, France, Austria, South America, etc. gathered near the Moroccan defensive wall in the region of Tifariti, at Oum Leghta, to demand its destruction. To this end, the demonstrators addressed their appeal to the UN. Similar demonstrations were also held last January and April 2004. [SPS] [
Manifestation pacifique au Sahara-Occcidental, Karima Benour, La Nouvelle République , 15.02.05] [Importante manifestation devant le mur défensif marocain, Tarek Hafid, Le Soir d'Algérie, 12.02.05 ]

14.02.05, African Union, declaration of the President of the Commission
Alpha Omar Konaré reaffirmed the "declared intention" of the AU to contribute to the efforts being deployed by the international community towards a "just and lasting" solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, "in accordance with the legitimate aspirations of the Saharawi people". In a letter addressed to President Mohamed Abdelaziz, on the occasion of the anniversary of the proclamation of the Saharawi Republic Mr Konaré also expressed his good wishes for the happiness, well-being and prosperity of the "people of SADR". [SPS]

14.02.05, Visit to Italy
The Saharawi coordinator with MINURSO, M'Hamed Khaddad, on a visit to Italy, called on Europe to contribute to the solution to the conflict in Western Sahara "with strict respect of the law", underlining that the present impasse is "the consequence of extremism and the lack of respect for international law created as a state policy of Morocco in relation to the UN". Mr Khaddad had talks with different Italian political personalities, officials for foreign policy in the Senate and the Parliament as well as with the parliamentary intergroup, Peace for the Saharawi people.  [SPS]

14.02.05, Statement
In an
interview given to "Poemario por un Sahara libre", M'Hamed Khaddad declares that the position of the Spanish government consolidates and helps the position of Morocco in its refusal to cooperate with the United Nations.

19.02.05, Austria
On a visit to the Saharawi camps leading a parliamentary delegation, the Vice-President of the Austrian Parliament, Mrs Barbara Prammer, expressed her support for "the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination", considering that the European Union holds a great deal of responsibility for the Saharawi people's tragedy. The delegation had talks with the President of the Saharawi Parliament, Mahfoud Ali Beiba, and with several members of the National Secretariat and Government. Their tour took them to the four wilayas. During a meal given in honour of the visiting delegations, the President of the Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, called upon the European Union to put pressure on Morocco.  [SPS]

The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) announces the opening of tendering for the building of a proposed electronic national Saharawi archive. [Aufbau eines elektronischen Nationalarchivs für Saharauris in Algerien - Westsahara]

22.02.05, Interview
Questioned by the daily,
La Nouvelle République (Algiers), the Saharawi president denies General Laanigiri's statements, which he called "lying words" (week 05-06/2005). Laanigri stated that he had met the Saharawi president "nearly a year ago" with the aim "of starting direct negotiations". Abdelaziz, on the other hand, says  that "Baker's resignation is a protest at the Moroccan position". He calls for the nomination of a special envoy of the Secretary General for Western Sahara, to be "an American personality...one of the former US presidents, for example Carter, Bush senior, Clinton or else an important American figure such as a minister for foreign affairs". [full text translated by SPS]

23.02.05, Germany, Czech Republic
M'Hamed Khadad, touring Germany and the Czech Republic from 15-22 February 2005, accuses Morocco of making military use of aid granted by the European Union to fight poverty and illegal immigration. He calls on Europe to invest more into bringing a fair and lasting peace  for Western Sahara. In Berlin as in Prague, the Saharawi leader has talks with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and meets representatives from all the political parties and parliamentary groups.(SPS) [c
ommuniqué 23.02.05]

23.02.05, Saharawi Minister for Foreign Affairs
In a press conference in Algiers, Mohamed Salem ould Salek speaks about the coming meeting of the Arab League and the Union of the Arab Maghreb, due to take place in parallel at the end of March in Algiers. He declares that the Saharawi Republic is in favour of the "democratisation of the Arab world and the Arab League". On the subject of the Sahara, he considers that "without a fair solution in accordance with international law, it is not possible to build a Maghreb or create any other joint project in the region".

24.02.05, Invitation
The director of cooperation of the autonomous government of the Balearic Islands, Mrs Maria Magdalena Contesti, sends to the President of the Saharawi Republic an official invitation from her government to visit these islands.

25.02.05, Program
The Parliament adopts the program of Mr. Abdelkader Taleb Oumar's government for 2005, aiming to strengthen state structures, diversify bilateral cooperation, manage resources rationally and implement a policy of austerity and self-sufficiency in food. The parliamentarians criticised the government's management in the fields of education and health, the inadequate activities abroad of grassroots organisations and looked for improvement in the social and professional integration of young people.

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

12.02.05, Saharawi political prisoners
Saharawi political prisoners in Moroccan prisons are starting hunger strikes [
in Arabic - Cahiers du Sahara ]

12.02.05, Police exactions
Sidi Mohamed Deddech and three Saharawi human rights activists were the victims of police exactions. The four men, who were travelling from El Ayoun to Dakhla in a car, were arrested several times by the police and the gendarmerie along the whole length of the 600km journey between the two towns, sometimes to check identity or simply to discourage them from continuing their journey.


15.02.05, Agitation
On the eve of the anniversary of the proclamation of SADR, flags, graffiti and independence leaflets appeared in Smara (occupied territory) and in Tantan (Southern Morocco). The leaflets demand "the end to Moroccan colonialism", "self-determination for the Saharawi people", "respect for human rights" and "the immediate and unconditional release of [Saharawi] prisoners" in the hands of the Moroccan colonial authorities.

Dakhla
The "Saharawi Committee Against Torture" (CSCT), set up recently in Dakhla (Villa Cisnéros), denounces "systematic human rights abuses" in the occupied territories of Western Sahara. It considers that the Moroccan Body "Equity and Reconciliation" is attempting to hide them. Activists in the CSCT organise a sit-in outside the offices of the colonial administration where the Body is holding its meetings, chanting slogans and waving placards on which one could read: "All united in the same trench to rescue our dignity", "Makhzen, henchmen, we are a people who cannot be exterminated". [SPS] See also [
L'Instance Equité et Réconciliation (IER), nouvelle utilisation fallacieuse des droits de l'homme par le Makhzen au Maroc? AFAPREDESA & UJS 17/02/05] and [La Instancia "Equidad y Reconciliación" marroquí (IER),¿nueva utilización engañosa de los derechos humanos por el Majzén de Marruecos?, AFAPREDESA& UJS, 17.02.05]

14.-15.02.05, Sit-in in El Ayoun
The inhabitants of Southern Morocco, transferred to Western Sahara in 1991 to take part in the referendum are still living for the most part under canvas in camps around the towns. Those in El Ayoun organised a protest to demand accommodation in houses. The forces of the Moroccan gendarmerie and police intervened brutally in "Shayla" camp.>> [corr.][
Cahiers du Sahara in Arabic]

20.02.05: Statement/update on the activities of Saharawi students in Marrakech (Morocco). In Arabic in Cahiers du Sahara

24-26.02.05
As part of the celebration of the 29th anniversary of SADR, Saharawi students from the Dakhla high school "Lissan Eddine ibn al-Khatib" de Dakhla, organise a festival of hassaniya language culture threatened by Moroccan colonialism. Exhibitions of artefacts, songs, poetry and dance are on the program presented in a traditional tent.  [SPS]

MOROCCO

12.02.05, AMDH holds parallel hearings: "Testimony for truth in complete freedom".
Testimony of Mrs Id Jimmi el Ghalia, Saharawi citizen, abducted in 1987, tortured, released in 1991, who names the principal torturers to hold sway in Western Sahara and recalls also her mother, disappeared in 1983, whose fate remains unknown. [
Testimony French] [Enquête. Et les tortionnaires ?, Karim Boukhari et Driss Ksikes, Tel Quel No 163, 12.02.05] [Auditions parallèles, El Watan, 13.02.05] [Le Maroc revient sur ses "années de plomb", Smahane Bouyahia, afrik.com, 14.02.05] [Sahara. Cruelles années de plomb, Tel Quel no 164 du 19.02.05]

14.02.05, Appointment
The King of Morocco has appointed a civilian, Mohamed Yasine Mansouri, a former college friend, to the position of being in charge of the DGED, (General Direction of Studies and Documentation), or counter-espionage. He replaces General Ahmed Harchi, who openly criticised the King's policy on the Saharan question. This appointment caused surprise within the army, which hitherto had control over the service. It would seem that Mansouri has been undergoing intensive training recently provided by the CIA. Like the DST, the DGED depends directly on the King.
Up until now, Mansouri had been Director of the DGAI (General Direction of the Interior), responsible for the Sahara dossier. For Tel Quel, the Moroccan weekly, "if one day, Morocco arrives at a negotiated solution with the Polisario, Mansouri will certainly be of the party. In the immediate entourage of the King, he embodies the moderate wing, favouring dialogue and negotiation."[
TelQuel no 162] h [Dossier contre-espionage dans Le Journal Hebdo, no 196]

20.02.05, African Tour
The King Mohamed VI of Morocco is conducting an African tour in Gabon, Burkina-Faso and Senegal.

SPAIN

21-25.02.05
The Queen of Spain visits the Maghreb, she goes to Algeria, Mauritania and Morocco to inspect  Spanish cooperation projects. The Spanish associations of solidarity with the Saharawis, in an open letter, ask her to visit the Saharawi refugee camps, where Spain is also involved in development projects. The General Secretary of the National Union of Saharawi Women, Fatma Mehdi, issues the same invitation. [SPS 23.02.05]

The Polisario Front designates the poet Mohamed Ali Ali Salem, coordinator of Saharawi culture in Spain.

ALGERIA

15.02.05, Rabat/Algiers, thaw
The King of Morocco will take part in the Arab summit in Algiers, due on 22 and 23 March next, Rabat announced officially. This participation marks the first official visit to Algeria of a Moroccan sovereign since 1991 although relations between the two countries remain very tense because of the conflict in Western Sahara.

17.02.05, Algiers/Rabat
Mohamed Rochdi Chraïbi, a member of the royal cabinet and emissary for Mohamed  VI with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, is received by the Algerian head of state.
The same day Abdelaziz Belkhadem, Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, arrives in Rabat to take part in a meeting of foreign ministers of the Maghreb Arab Union on the occasion of its 16th anniversary.

24.02.05, Algeria-Spain
The Algerian President Bouteflika arrives in Madrid for the second Spanish-Algerian meeting. The problem of the Sahara is raised as well as the preparation for the Euro-Mediterranean conference in Barcelona next November. In a joint statement publicised at the end of the meeting, the two chiefs of State declared to be attached to "a fair and definitive solution" to the conflict of Western Sahara in accordance with "international legality and pertinent UN's resolutions" and referred to UN's Security Council's resolutions 1495 an 1541.

HUMAN RIGHTS

14.02.05
The Arab committee of support for the Saharawi people (CASPS) asks the ICRC to intervene with Rabat for the release of Saharawi prisoners in the hands of Morocco. [SPS]

COMING UP...

Vth Sahara Marathon
About 400 athletes are expected for this now traditional race linking sport with solidarity. The Italian delegation, 150 marathon runners strong, is accompanied by local elected members and sympathisers of the Saharawi cause and will present a gift of 10,000 euros for the purchase of milking camels.
The race which this year takes place on 28 February will be followed on 1 March by a race for children in which thousands of youngsters from the camps will participate.

Festival Internacional de Cine del Sahara: 03-06 de marzo de 2005.

1, 2 y 3 de marzo: JORNADAS SOBRE EL PUEBLO SAHARAUI
OTROS PUEBLOS, OTRAS CULTURAS: SÁHARA, EL SENTIMIENTO DE UN PUEBLO
La Obra Social y Cultural de Caja Cantabria, c/ Tantín de Santander, en colaboración con Cantabria por el Sáhara, ha organizado unas interesantes jornadas sobre el Pueblo Saharaui.
martes, 1 de marzo a las 20h.: EL CONFLICTO DEL SAHARA OCCIDENTAL: "PERSPECTIVAS"
Conferencia de Mohamed Sidati, miembro del Secretariado Permanente del Frente Polisario y representante ante la U.E.
Miércoles, 2 de marzo a las 20h.: CUENTOS DE LA GUERRA SAHARAUI
Película del director valenciano Pedro Pérez Rosado. Al finalizar la proyección habrá un coloquio con el director.
Jueves, 3 de marzo a las 20h.: MARIEM HASSAN.
Cantante saharaui de prestigio internacional. Actuará acompañada de varios músicos y nos presentará un amplio repertorio de canciones y bailes saharauis.

Semana de la mujer en Tres Cantos
Exposición
sobre las cooperativas gestionadas por las mujeres palestinas y de las cooperativas de las mujeres saharauis.
Casa de la cultura del 4 al 6 de marzo de 2005.
Charla debate
La experiencia de  las cooperativas bajo la ocupación " mujeres palestinas" / las cooperativas en la situación de refugio : "mujeres saharauis"
Fecha:  6 de marzo de 2005 a las 6 de la tarde Auditorio casa de la cultura
Participan: Begoña Carazo / Asociacion hispano-palestina "Jerusalen", Fatma el Mehdi / secretaria general de la Union Nacional de Mujeres Saharauis
Presenta: Victoria Peralta
Organiza: Concejalia de la mujer del Ayuntamiento de Tres Cantos
Colaboran: Asociación hispano-palestina "Jerusalen" / Asociación Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui de Tres Cantos / Asociación Paz ahora / Grupo Apoyo Union Nacional de Mujeres Saharauis

Las primeras jornadas internacionales sobre derechos humanos del pueblo saharaui, Ciudad de Olivenza (Badajoz), 11 y 12 de marzo de 2005.

18 March &endash; Geneva
30 years is enough! The Saharawi People have a right to self-determination. Referendum now!
Demonstration on the occasion of the 61st session of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
10h - 12h : Meeting at the Place des Nations
13h - 15h: Conference: The Moroccan "Wall of Shame" and the problem of antipersonnel mines. (Speakers:  Carlos Ruiz Miguel, Elisabeth Reusse-Decrey, Oubbi Bouchraya, Jean Lamore) at the  Centre de l'Organisation Météorologique Mondiale.
Info: Comité Suisse de soutien au peuple sahraoui,
NouvellesSahraouies@arso.org

VUELO DE SOLIDARIDAD CON EL PUEBLO SAHARAUI
- Salida desde Aeropuerto de Zaragoza: día 21 de Marzo a las 12 h.
- Regreso a Zaragoza: día 27 a las XX.XX horas. (por concretar)
Info:
As. Um Draiga

Vol "Catalunya amb el Sàhara" setmana santa 2005 Info: sahandreu[at]yahoo.es

Noviembre 2005: Jornadas internacionales de arqueología, Sahara Occidental (Rekeiz, Tifaritti) Info: bcheij[at]hotmail.com - narcis.soler[at]udg.es 

 

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