WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 13-14 : 27.03.-09.04.2005

original french

 

SADR

28.03.05, Diplomacy
Ahmed Boukhari takes part in investiture festivities of the new president of Uruguay, M. Tabaré Vázquez. In an interview with the daily La Republica the SADR representative declares that his country would like to establish diplomatic relations with Uruguay and hopes for a favourable decision from the new government. [
Entrevista, La Republica, 28.03.05]

30-31.03.05, Consultative Council
The Saharawi Consultative Council, composed of former notables who took part in the identification process, meet in Ausserd wilaya. They issued a statement calling on the international community to work for the respect for international law in Western Sahara.[SPS]

03.-04.04.05, Cultural colloquium of Saharawi women
The twelfth cultural colloquium opened at 27 February school, in the presence of a large number of foreign participants and Saharawi political and cultural officers. The participants took part in four workshops, on maternal health, religious, moral and cultural affairs, a third on the struggle for liberation and means of development and the last one on the occupied territories and human rights.
Contributing by telephone from the occupied territories, Aminatu Haidar, former disappeared Saharawi calls on the international community "to put pressure on Morocco to make it conform to international law and to put an end to its systematic violations of human rights in the occupied territories of Western Sahara." [SPS]

06.04.05, Recognition freeze
The President of Madagascar, on an official visit to Morocco, announces that his country is freezing recognition of SADR, but that "Madagascar, following the example of several other countries on the continent, sees itself in the camp of those who place themselves in the hands of the United Nations" and does not recognise therefore the sovereignty claimed by Morocco over the territory. [AP quoting MAP]

07.04.05,Visit
The South African Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, carries out an official visit to the Saharawi Republic, the first after recognition of SADR by South Africa in September 2004. Mrs Zuma is received by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Salek, at Tindouf airport, before going to Smara where the Prime Minister Abdelkader Taleb Oumar awaits her, surrounded by members of the Government and political leadership of the Polisario Front. Mrs Zuma has talks then with the President of the Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, who gives her the national medal of honour "20 May". "South Africa will continue to support the Saharawi people until it achieves independence", she declared during a popular meeting. She communicated to the Saharawi people "the concern of Mr Mbeki for your legitimate rights to self-determination, which should be granted to you through the UN Charter", adding that "we will work in concert with the African Union, where we are members beside SADR and with the UN to allow the Saharawi people to enjoy this recognised universal right ". Cooperation agreements are signed between the two countries. [SPS]

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO
See also the
Sahara Libre blog

28.03.05, Repression
Arrest of Kotb Mohamed Salek, alias Elqotb Hamma, in the middle of a street in El Ayoune. Taken to the Criminal Investigation Department, he is released after having been interrogated about the sit-in arranged for 29.03.05 by the families of martyrs of Moroccan prisons. Kotb Mohamed Salek is deprived of his passport and the right to travel from March 2003, when he wanted to go to Geneva to attend
a meeting of families of disappeared Saharawis. Kotb is the brother of the disappeared Kotb Hafed [Elqotb Elhafed], abducted in 1992.

Hunger Strike
Urgent communiqué
[arabic] from the mother of Saharawi prisoner Abdallah Lekhfaouni, Mme Aalia Bachir Raddae.

29.03.05, Demonstration in El Ayoun
During a demonstration of women in the quarter of El Moukhayam (camp Alawda), Toufa Ali Labeid, a woman aged 50 years, is seriously wounded [
statement in Arabic and photos on the site Cahiers du Sahara]

Reaction of the Rafto prizewinner of 2002, Sidi Mohamed Dadach, who appeals to human rights organisations to condemn publicly "systematic human rights abuses in Western Sahara perpetrated by the Moroccan police."

The Moroccan daily Aljareeda al oukhra publishes a dossier on El Ouali Mustafa Sayed, founder and first secretary general of the Polisario Front. [In Arabic ]

Anti-personnel mines
A humanitarian action for a young girl from the region of Assa, the victim of an anti-personnel mine explosion in 2004, was undertaken within Saharawi circles including Tamek Ali Salem. Once known, the appeal for the victim was described by Morocco as "a political and propaganda manoeuvre by the separatists". Through the intervention of a Moroccan NGO, the authorities intervening in the name of the royal palace, have finally taken charge of the medical treatment of the child by undertaking to fund it in Rabat. One can hope that thanks to all this rumpus, the injured girl will benefit from the optimal treatment. Particularly virulent and defamatory attacks on Ali Salem Tamek were circulated in a certain press. [>> see the interview with the vice-president of the Association of the Moroccan Sahara who declares: "...it is Saharawi civil society which takes upon itself to respond to Tamek, and in a manner which will not be the nicest."[
Aujourd'hui le Maroc, 29.04.05] ["Tamek rate son rapt"... id. 06.04.05] 28.03.05 etc
Solidarity with Tamek: [
communiqué UPES] [numerous communiqués in Arabic on Cahiers du Sahara]

09.04.05, Confrontations between Sahraouis and Morocans close to Dakhla.
The octopus fishing season began on February 1, after pressure from Saharawi fishers and citizen the number of boats authorized to fish was fixed at 2005 in order to reduce the overexplotation. But this is not respected by illegal Moroccan fishers. So Saharawi citizen opposed to the overexploitation of octopus, blocked the roads and prevented the trucks charged with illegally fished octopuses to pass, in some cases they put fire at their cargo. The wali of Dakhla who tried to intervene was wellcomed by strawing of stones. The army was called in reinforcement, soldiers shot in the air but could not break the demonstration . According the last news the Minister of Interior and the General Benslimane joined Dakhla. >> some picturess
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [corr.] [SPS]

MOROCCO

30.03.05, IER
Sessions for hearing witnesses (or victims?) of serious human rights abuses during the period 1956-1999 were recently organised by the Equity and Reconciliation Body, (Instance Equité et Réconciliation - IER) in El Ayoun and Tan Tan. According to the Journal hebdomadaire, to avoid any excesses, the date and place of the sessions were kept secret until the last minute,
and Saharawi human rights activists were excluded from the sessions. Similar sessions had been organised in February last by the IER, which has 4000 dossiers to deal with from occupied Western Sahara and whose mandate ends on 13 April.

31.03.05, Social Forum
Morocco announces that the decentralised Social Forum planned for January 2006 will not take place in Morocco due to a refusal by the authorities.

US Military Base
The armies of Morocco and the United States organise from 1-10 April joint exercises of "humanitarian intervention" in the Moroccan region of Tan-Tan, the staff of the Moroccan Royal Army forces indicated. These exercises have been named "African Lion 2005" and aim to "reinforce the capacities of the two armies as regards planning and conduct of operations in the context of humanitarian interventions". [AFP]
The Moroccan press relates this reinforcement of American military presence with the possibility of the construction of a military base in the region of Tan-Tan. [
Lunes en África, Gonzalo H. Martel, Canarias7, 04.04.05] [El Independiente De Canarias, 8-4-2005]
These manoeuvres are taking place in parallel with those of NATO on the island of Fuerteventura, with the participation of 3,000 men, including American troops and are arousing lively protests in the Canary Islands. [
Carta al Segretario general de la ONU Sr Kofi Annan] [OTAN: Más que maniobras - una invasión en toda regla, ElGuanchePress, 02.04.05]
According to As-sabah of 08.04.05, an American military official has allegedly denied the intention of the United States to set up a military base in the region of Tan-Tan.
See dossier
" No a la militarizacion" on El Guanche.

06.04.05
First session of the trial of Ali Lmrabet on charges made by a defector from the Polisario for his declarations on return from his trip to Algeria and the Saharawi refugee camps in November 2004. ["As for what is put around about the Saharawis in Tindouf, that they are hostages, these are lies and mystification", Al Moustakil].[
communiqué de Ali Lmrabet]

ALGERIA

02.04.05
Algeria has decided not to issue visas for people of Moroccan origin who wish to enter its territory. Morocco is supposed to have accepted that the question of the Sahara will not be on the agenda of its negotiations with Algeria.

HUMAN RIGHTS

61st session of the UN Commission of human rights
Interventions relating to the Saharawi question:

02.03.05, Written submission by LIDLIP on item 5 and 10

24.03.05, Item 9: Right to self-determination
Speaker:
Ubbi Bouchraya in the name of the International Union of Socialist Youth - IUSY)

31.03.05, Item 10: Economic, social and cultural rights.
Intervention of M'Hamed Cheikh, in the name of ISMUN, International Student Movement for the United Nations.

05.04.05, Item 11: Civil and political rights
Intervention by M'Hamed Cheikh in the name of ISMUN and by Ubbi Bouchraya in the name of IUSY.

"Forced disappearances in Western Sahara" A panel organised in the Palais des Nations [communiqué French]

08.04.05, Item 12, Women's rights
Intervention by Ubbi Boucharaya, in the name of International Union of Socialist Youth, IUSY. t

30.03.05, European Parliament
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament declares itself preoccupied by the human rights abuses taking place in Western Sahara. The committee also calls on the parties to the conflict to take the Baker Plan as a basis for progressing to a solution to the conflict. [
Europa Press]

04.04.05, European Parliament
MP Willy Meyer (Spain) sends a written question to the EU Council on the subject of repression of the demonstration of Saharawi students in Rabat on 8 March 2005.

25.03.05
Wall of shame and mines
Letter from the Belgian senator, Pierre Galand to the UN SG,
French or Spanish .

SOLIDARITY

30.03.05: se renovó el hermanamiento del distrito de Sant Martí en Barcelona con la daira de Argub en Dajla. Asistieron a la firma el regidor del distrito Sr. Francesc Narváez, el delegado del Frente Polisario en Catalunya Sr. Emboirik Ahmed y el presidente de Sant Martí amb el Sàhara Joan Piñol, así como miembros de la asociación y diferentes representaciones de las fuerzas políticas y de las entidades del distrito.

31.03.05: 'Sahara Marathon', de Jon Garaño y Aitor Arregui, ha sido seleccionado para la sección Derechos Humanos del Festival Cinematográfico Internacional del Uruguay, Montevideo.

COMING UP...

Abril, 13 - 16. : II Jornadas de Cultura Saharaui. Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) Programma:

Abril, 23 y 24: Cáceres: Curso sobre Ley de Extranjería, impartido por abogados expertos en la materia. Organizado por la Asociación de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui de la Provincia de Cáceres. Info y boletin de inscripcion

INTERNET

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