WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 45-46 : 06.11.-19.11.2005

original french

 

SADR

08.11.05, Belize
Souleyman Tayeb presented his credentials in Belmopan to the General Governor of Belize, Colvile N.Young, as Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Saharawi Republic in Belize. [SPS]

17.11.05, African Union
Five countries, including SADR, will make their soldiers available to the African Union's Council for Peace and Security, according to a statement published after the meeting of military officials from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and SADR in Tripoli.

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

01.11.05
The Moroccan opposition party, "Ennahj Edimoukrati" (Democratic Way) in a statement asked for a "transparent inquiry to be opened into the circumstances of the death of Lembarki Hamdi Mahjoub".

03.11.05, arrest
Haiba Mohamed Mahmoud Razzak, 35 years, corporal in the Royal Army Forces, was kidnapped by members of the Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie at his place of work, the military barracks of the 4th genii group in Laayoune on 3 November. His family was informed on 09.11.05 of his detention in Agadir prison. Haiba was interrogated on 31 October by the criminal investigation police, his house searched and ransacked the day before.

04-05.11.05, El Ayoun
Despite the security and military patrols and the exceptional situation imposed on the town, demonstrations hostile to the Moroccan occupier claiming the right to self-determination have been taking place on 4 and 5 November 2005. Hundreds of young Saharawis turned out on different streets, brandishing Saharawi national flags and chanting slogans saluting the Polisario Front and in favour of self-determination, under the eyes of the Spanish press on the ground. The Moroccan police arrested three Spanish journalists and a Moroccan one, while they were attending a demonstration and confiscated their photographic equipment. Only part of it would be returned. Taken to the police station they witnessed the blows being struck on those arrested and heard their cries. A cynical policeman told them: "Listen to the music"... The attitude of the police was very threatening, they accused the journalists of provoking the demonstrations and revealed that they were listening to their phone calls.
The journalists were released following the intervention of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This same government has just replied to a member of parliament, who was expressing concern about freedom of expression in Morocco, that the Spanish media provide the news "in complete liberty and in depth" on the situation in Western Sahara... [
ABC 05.11.05] [La Vanguardia, 05/11/2005] [El Periodico, 05.11.05] [El Periodico, 07.11.05]

06.11.05, El Ayoun

30th anniversary of the start of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara.
The official ceremony, at which only those invited participated, slightly over 200 persons, mostly notables and those responsible for the forces of repression, took place on Méchouar Square in the presence of the governor.

King's speech
On the subject of the conflict in Western Sahara, the King of Morocco repeated his choice of a "negotiated political solution" respecting territorial integrity of Morocco in the form of autonomy for Western Sahara. He has the intention of consulting the political parties, "to see how they envisage autonomy taking place concretely". The local population and elected members of the region, notably the heads of tribes, will be consulted in their turn. The Royal Consultative Council for the Affairs of the Sahara, a purely decorative body, will be "restructured". [Royal speech-
full text]

The Saharawi government immediately denounced the "intransigence" of the King of Morocco who  "once again carries on recklessly showing contempt for international legality". The government called on the United Nations to decree "economic sanctions" against Morocco, considering that it is the best way of "imposing respect for international law and promoting security and stability in the region and of defending the credibility and prestige of the UN".

07.11.05, Smara
Trial of a Saharawi student El Ismaïli Mohamed before the magistrate's court in Smara. The prosecutor asks for one year in prison, the court delivers a sentence of three years and a fine of 5000 Dh (about 500 dollars).

08.11.05, Dakhla
Demonstration violently repressed for the first time with Moroccan settlers who help the police.

08.11.05, Boujdour
The Moroccan information services abducted a Saharawi student, El Iza Hedi, in the evening, outside the college of the occupied town of Boujdour.  

09.11.05, Assa
Peaceful march ending in the principal square. A statement was read condemning the murder of young Lembarki, refusing autonomy as proposed by the king, and demanding the release of the political prisoners.

10.11.05, El Ayoun
Despite close police surveillance of educational establishments in the occupied towns of Western Sahara and in southern Morocco, since the start of the intifada in May 2005, Saharawi students from two lycées set off a protest strike.

12.11.05, inquiry
A commission of inquiry of the general inspection service of the General Management of National Security (DGSN), designated to inquire into the death of Lembarki, considers that "serious presumptions weigh upon an officer and brigadier of the police in El Ayoun". The Public Prosecutor's office ordered the opening of an investigation by the national brigade of the criminal investigation department. The Moroccan newspaper Al Ahdaz Al Maghrebiya says on 15.11. that two agents, an officer, Abdarrahmane Behja and a sergeant, RachdI, had been imprisoned in Agadir. According to SPS the two men were simply transferred to Agadir to cool down.

13-14.11.05, El Ayoun
After a short period of calm, demonstrations start again in El Ayoun on a scale never equaled until now, particularly around educational establishments. All the forces of repression were mobilised: the GUS, the police, the CMI, the auxiliary forces and the gendarmerie. Detachments from the army were also deployed and Moroccan settlers came to the rescue of the police. About forty houses belonging to Saharawis were ransacked. Demonstrators carried the emblems of SADR, with flags flying from roofs of houses and electricity poles. Barricades were erected in several avenues out of stones and burning tyres. Several Moroccan national flags were burned. The CMI used rubber bullets and tear gas. Helicopters flew over the erupting quartiers. Over 50 people were arrested and nearly a hundred wounded. The Spanish press speak of a state of undeclared siege, while the Moroccan government describes the situation as "normal".

The town has become a military zone with army and gendarmerie taking operations of repression in hand. The Minister for the Interior, Moustafa Sahel arrived in El Ayoun, accompanied by the head of the armed forces of the southern zone, General Abdelaziz Bennani, the director of the gendarmerie Hosni Benslimane and General Laanigri, director of National Security. 4,000 soldiers were brought from Casablanca to El Ayoun (officially 350 men). Throughout the whole morning electricity was cut in the upper town to interrupt communications with outside. [details] [photos on ARSO]

15.11.05
Mohammed Ahmed Daaki, a student, serving a sentence of 15 months for his participation in student demonstrations in May, was violently attacked by Moroccan co-detainees in the prison of Kalaat Sraghna. He was placed in isolation and his family prevented from visiting him.

15.11.05
In Smara and Dakhla solidarity demonstrations with the victims of repression take place, we hear.

16-17.11.05
Demonstrations continue in El Ayoun and Dakhla. [
photos]

17.11.05, appeal
The Saharawi President writes another time to the UN Secretary General, fearing a "possible hecatomb" and calling on the UN to intervene urgently: "The entrance of the Moroccan army on the scene with its arsenal of military arms and equipment constitutes a new and dangerous development whose consequences could lead to a real blood bath, under the eyes of the world and MINURSO, present on the ground."

18.11.05, trial
The Saharawi Ambassador in Algiers, Mohamed Yeslem Beissat, announced that the trial of the Saharawi human rights defenders, imprisoned for several months, is due on Tuesday next, 22 November before the Moroccan court in El Ayoun. "We ask the media and humanitarian organisations of the entire world to bear witness to this judicial mascarade", Mr Beissat said.

REFERENDUM

07.11.05, USA
During the daily press briefing of the Department of State, the deputy spokesman, Adam Ereli replied to a question concerning the autonomy proposal made by the King of Morocco in his latest speech. Ereli declared that the United States supports the efforts of the United Nations to find a resolution to the Western Sahara conflict.. " We also support regional efforts to improve unity among the states of the Maghreb and bilateral relations within the region. In that respect, I think, obviously the release of prisoners in Algiers and the return to Morocco was an important step. And we would certainly welcome additional steps that promote that kind of regional cooperation to address this longstanding dispute."

09.11.05, Morocco-USA
The King of Morocco conferred the title of "Commander of the alawite ouissam" on the American parliamentarians, John McCain and Lincoln Diaz-Balart. The latter participated in the latest Congress hearing on Western Sahara (see below).

09.11.05, Netherlands
During an interview with M'hamed Khaddad, responsible for Saharawi liaison with the UN, the Dutch deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hugo H. Siblesz, expressed the support of his government for "a solution (to the conflict of Western Sahara) in accordance with international law within the framework of the United Nations", underlining that "he follows with great interest the developments of the issue" (press statement of the Polisario Representation in the Netherlands).

14.11.05, interview
The President of the Saharawi Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, in an interview with the daily El Pais, deplored that "the UN has never acknowledged that Morocco has gone back on its undertakings. Today...it tells us that the positions are irreconcilable. With this logic we will make no progress. They must say clearly that the Saharawis respect international law and that Morocco is opposed to it...". "Morocco is a dictatorship which does not respect human rights, and which does not respect the UN's decisions. It is the spoilt child of the French Government and the Spanish Government in the Maghreb region", he added. [
El Pais] http://www.elpais.es/articulo/elpporint/20051114elpepiint_13/Tes/Marruecos/acepta/legalidad/internacional/retomaremos/armas

17.11.05, United States Congress
The Congress Sub-Committee for Africa, Human Rights and International Operations devoted a hearing to Western Sahara. Those contributing included, Congressmen Christopher H. Smith, James Inhofe, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Joe Pitts, Donald M. Payne, Gordon Gray from the Department of State, Toby Shelley, journalist, Ambassador Frank Ruddy, former vice-president of MINURSO's Identification Commission, Erik Jensen, former UN Special Representative, and Ali El Jaouhar, former Moroccan prisoner of war. [Getting to "Yes": Resolving the 30-Year Conflict over the Status of Western Sahara :
Hearing of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights, and International Operations, 17.11.05 ]

SPAIN

30th anniversary of the Madrid Accords

11.11.05, International Conference
Brahim Ghali, Saharawi representative in Spain, declared during a press conference preceding the conference that the Sahara cannot be the exception to the implementation of UN directives on decolonization. Mohamed Sidati, Saharawi Minister responsible for Europe, announces having sent a memorandum to the European Union to denounce the Fishing Agreement, which he called illegal since it covers Saharawi territorial waters.

"30 years of injustice and suffering! 30 years is enough! Decolonization of Western Sahara now".
The aim of the conference, organised by the CEAS-Sahara (Coordinadora Estatal de Asociaciones Solidarias con el Sáhara) in collaboration with Paz Ahora, was to express solidarity with the Saharawi people on the occasion of the anniversary of the Madrid Accords and to recall Spain's historic responsibility towards the Saharawi people.
It was the occasion for numerous interventions.

The President of the Saharawi Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, declared that "the Madrid Accords violated international law and tarnished the prestige of certain civilized nations who have contributed to the progress of Humanity, such as France, which intervened militarily in the conflict and continues today within the United Nations Security Council to support Morocco, in this way preventing peace from coming about in our region". For Abdelaziz, the only solution to resolve the conflict is the referendum.

An official delegation from East Timor took part in the conference. Agio Perea, director of the cabinet of the Timorese President Xanana Gusmao,  expressed the support of his country for the self-determination of the Saharawi people. South Africa, through the voice of its ambassador in Madrid, Gert V. Grobler, echoed the same sentiment. The Austrian MEP, Karin Scheele, representatives of Spanish political parties (Popular Party, Izquierda Unida, Socialist Party and regional parties), as well as many representatives of Spanish and international solidarity, spoke.

12.11.05
The March and the Declaration of Madrid
A big demonstration took place in the streets of Madrid. Spanish associations of solidarity with the Saharawi people mobilised 30,000 people to participate in this "March for the Freedom of the Saharawi people". Among them representatives of Spanish political parties, artists, writers and delegations of several European countries. On the Plaza Major the Declaration of Madrid was read. The Swiss committee associated itself with this appeal. It demands that the Spanish government should act in a resolute fashion towards the decolonization of Western Sahara, and requires the Moroccan government to stop immediately the repression against the Saharawi population and to release the prisoners. [Photos on
blog of Poemario por un Sahara Libre - Cahiers du Sahara ]

NATURAL RESSOURCES

06.11.05, Phosphates
15 Saharawi workers from the company Phoboucraa, denied their rights when the business, which extracts the phosphate of Western Sahara, transferred from Spain to Morocco in 1976, have lodged a claim with the Moroccan courts. 700 Saharawi workers and employees were the victim of injustice at the time when Spain departed.

COMING UP...

19.-20.11.05: Melbourne Social Forum
Workshop: Decolonization and exploitation in Western Sahara
Western Sahara's natural resources, are being illegally exploited by its northern neighbour and occupying power, Morocco. A UN mission known as MINURSO has not only failed to deliver a referendum of self-determination, but is turning a blind eye to human rights abuses, and also the exploitation of Western Sahara's resources: phosphates, fishing grounds and now oil. It is currently allowing an American company, Kerr McGee to prospect for oil off its Atlantic seaboard and Australia may turn out to be importing phosphates from Western Sahara.
Run by Kamal Fadel, representative of the Polisario Front in Australia

24.11.05, Stockholm
Föreningen för Utvecklingsfrågor - Swedish Development Forum -
inbjuder i samarbete med Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, ABF och Stiftelsen Global Kunskap till ett seminarium: Västsahara i fokus - ett seminarium om naturresursernas politiska betydelse i Västsaharakonflikten.

Medverkande:
Hans Corell, Pedro Pinto Leite, Toby Shelley, Pål Wrange, Magnus Schöldtz, Moderator: Lennart Wohlgemuth, direktör för Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.

Tid: Torsdag 24 november, kl. 17:30&endash;20.00
Plats: Hedénsalen, ABF-huset, 4tr, Sveavägen 41, Stockholm (T-bana: Rådmansgatan).
Anmäl gärna ditt deltagande till: Föreningen för Utvecklingsfrågor Tel: 08-6434275 Tegelviksgatan 40116 41 Stockholm Infos:
fuf[at]fuf.se Hemsida: www.fuf.se

24-26.11.05, Barcelone
Première « Conférence méditerranéenne des nations sans Etats ». Initiée par des associations et des syndicats catalans et soutenue par la Géneralité de Catalogne, cette rencontre a pour but de faire se rencontrer les représentants de peuples méditerranéens minoritaires dans leurs Etats respectifs. Participeront à ces journées, outre la Kabylie, la Corse, le Kurdistan, la Catalogne, la Palestine, le Sahara Occidental, la Sardaigne et la Sicile.

ITALIA - ROMA: Sabato 26 Novembre 2005: Sit in davanti alla Ambasciata del regno del Marocco, via Spallanzani 8 (zona porta Pia) - ROMA dalle ore 11.00 alle 13.00
Denuncia delle violazioni dei Diritti Umani nei confronti dei cittadini saharawi nel Sahara Occidentale occupato dal Marocco
Solidarieta con i saharawi prigionieri di opinione nelle carceri marocchine e con le centinaia e centinaia di desaparecidos.

30.11.05: Colloque sur l'accord de pêche Maroc - UE organisé par l'Intergroupe "Paix pour le peuple sahraouie" du Parlement belge
Pour s'inscrire:
vanbrabant[at]s-p-a-spirit.polgroups.senate.be ou 02/501.77.01

INTERNET

Novembre 1975 - novembre 2005
30ème anniversaire de la Marc he Verte/ Accords de Madrid - 30th anniversary of the Green March/ Madrid Accords - 30. aniversario de la Marcha Verde/ Acuerdo de Madrid

+ articles dans la presse voir dans Sahara-Info

 

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