WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 01-02 : 01.01.-14.01.2006

original french

 

SADR

05.01.06
The Saharawi authorities authorised the Paris-Dakar Rally to pass through Western Sahara, the SPS announced on 5 January. The rally had already passed through the preceding night.

04-05.01.06
Meeting in an ordinary session, the National Secretariat (SN), the highest Saharawi political body, reaffirmed, in a statement, "the will of the Polisario Front to continue cooperating with the UN". The SN asked the UN to protect the Saharawi civil population against the repression exercised by Morocco. It welcomed the peaceful demonstrations in favour of the national rights to freedom and independence and condemned "the sentences and arbitrary trials of Saharawi prisoners of opinion." The SN considers that the UN has also a duty to "protect Saharawi natural resources and to prevent the methodical pillage perpetrated by Morocco". It also called on the European Union to revise "the terms of the fishing agreement with Morocco". [SPS]

07-08.01.06
The national conference of the Committee of External Relations took place in the camps in the presence of the ambassadors and representatives of the Polisario Front in Europe. The conference adopted its program of action for 2006. [SPS]

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

02.01.06, Assa
Demonstration of Saharawi citizens. Meeting in Touizqi, 40 km south-east of Assa, a zone where many people have been victims of antipersonnel mines, the demonstrators then gathered outside the office of the governor of Assa to ask for the "immediate and unconditional" release of all Saharawi political detainees and most particularly that of

M'Barek Mouaazez, arrested by the Moroccan authorities and referred to the military court in Rabat on 30 December 2005. This young Saharawi was accused of possession of arms and explosives in the company of other Saharawis.  M'Barek Mouaazez was released the same evening. The unexploded ordnance carried by the demonstrators were deposited on there, on the spot, as a symbol of the dangers represented for the population by the many anti-personnel mines still present in the area, an aftermath of the Saharawi-Moroccan war 1975-1991. [Photos]

02.01.06, Dakhla
Arrest of two Saharawi citizens, Mamay Ahmed Elhenoun and Chigali Mohamed M'Barek, accused of being responsible for the intifada. Mamay was interrogated for over three hours, Chigali was allegedly tortured for several hours.

03.01.06, El Ayoun
The Criminal Court of El Ayoun postponed until Monday 9 January the appeal of the fourteen human rights defenders sentenced on 14 December. The defendants and the defence lawyers had only been informed of the date at the end of the previous week and certain lawyers were not able to attend the sitting.

03.01.06, Smara
Saharawi high school students organised a sit-in to demand the reintegration of two Saharawi students, Karoum Salam and Baha Said, sent down by the administration of the educational establishment. The two students protested vigorously about the racist insults made by their Moroccan teacher, calling them "dirty Saharawis". [SPS]

03.01.05
The Saharawi political prisoners affirmed, in their response to a letter from the Saharawi head of state of 31.12.05 [
see SPS] that "the Saharawi people in the occupied territories are committed to their peaceful struggle for the independence" of Western Sahara... The Saharawi population has decided to reject violent methods". [SPS]

04.01.06, Balearic Islands
A group of parliamentarians from the Balearic Islands will travel to Western Sahara to study the situation on the ground, the president of the Balearic parliament, Pere Rotger, announced, without naming the date of the visit.[
El Mundo]

05-06.01.06: Demonstrations continue in the occupied Saharawi towns, El Ayoun and Dakhla as well as Assa (South Morocco)

05.01.06
Independence demonstration in the Inaach quarter of El Ayoun with distribution of leaflets and SADR flags in many educational establishments including Lycée Alqods and Attaaouen College.

In El Ayoun a young Saharawi activist ran down Boulevard Ali Salem Tamek brandishing a big SADR flag, quickly joined by about a hundred Saharawi citizens, who called for the immediate release of all Saharawi political prisoners, chanted slogans supporting the Polisario Front and demanded respect for the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and independence.

Workers and retirees from the mining company Phosboucraa organised a sit-in outside the central police station, calling for their rights denied since the departure of the Spanish occupier in 1975.

Saharawi national colours were flown in Dakhla.

Lycée students in Assa organised a cultural evening during which SADR flags were carried.

06.01.06
Once again, Saharawi lycée students organised a peaceful march in El Ayoun, surrounded by young activists carrying SADR flags. Police dispersed the demonstration with violence and proceeded to make several arrests.

08.01.06
The Saharawi population of Assa organised a sit-in outside the local transport agency office, calling for "the immediate release of all Saharawi political detainees" and expressing its "solidarity with the Saharawi citizens of occupied El Ayoun".

09.01.05
The 14 human rights activists presented themselves before the appeal court of El Ayoun. The sitting took place in the presence of international observers including Spanish lawyers. The trial was postponed until 24 January at the request of the defence.

09-10.01.06
The Spanish daily, El Paìs publishes two detailed analyses of the situation in the occupied territories, on the basis of reportage on the ground by one of its collaborators. [
El Sáhara frente a Zapatero, Antonio Caño, El País, 09-01-2006] [Las voces de El Aaiún, Antonio Caño, El País, 10-01-2006].

10-12.01.06
The Saharawi citizens in different occupied towns of Western Sahara and in southern Morocco celebrated Eïd Al Adha with independence demonstrations, which started on Tuesday 10 January and continued Wednesday and Thursday.

In El Ayoun and Smara, several Saharawi demonstrators were injured, notably, Mrs Ghlana Muly Ahmed and Mr. Cherfi Hamdi in Smara, following the usual intervention of police.

In Tan Tan in southern Morocco, a big demonstration was organised by the Saharawi population "in solidarity with the family of the Saharawi martyr,  Lekhlifi Abba Cheij", a young Saharawi killed for no reason by a Moroccan officer in Tan Tan. We deplore here also that several persons were injured, including the sister of Lekhlifi, Mrs Lekhlifi Maydouna, as well as Messrs. Sahel Mohamed, Kerdelas Ahmed and El Aatiq Ahmed. [SPS] [photos of Smara]

14.01.06
Burial of a young Saharawi killed by police in El Ayoun on 30 October last, Lembarki Hamdi Salek Mahjoub. The family of the victim had refused to consign him to a grave until they received the results of the autopsy, the notification of the causes of death as well as confirmation of police responsibility. The Moroccan authorities demanded the burial took place in a cemetry situated 11 km out of town in the direction of Smara, in order to avoid a large gathering. [
fist reports french/spanish and pictures]

REFERENDUM

31.12.05 SADR &endash; Spain
In a message sent to the President of the Spanish government, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on the occasion of the new year, the head of the Saharawi state writes that the Saharawis "are expecting the Spanish State to assume its historic, moral and political responsibilities towards the Saharawi people."

05.01.06, USA
In a letter sent to the American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, about a hundred congressmen consider that "the United Nations needs greater support from the United States and our allies...in order to succeed in persuading the parties to the conflict...of the necessity of negotiating a political solution". They judge it necessary "to endow the inhabitants of Western Sahara with the means of self-determination, in total respect of Moroccan sovereignty and its territorial integrity". They add that they are "seriously concerned because of the tensions which are worsening in Western Sahara, due to the persistant threats of war by the Polisario Front and attacks against Mauritania".

One notices a strange mixture of notions according with international law (the necessity of supporting the United Nations, the mention of self-determination, the use of the term Western Sahara), together with Moroccan expressions such as "respect of territorial integrity", the "sovereignty" of Morocco, the "political solution" of the conflict. One also notes the absence of reference to the Baker plan and the subtle, even dangerous, implication of a connection between the unexplained attack on a Mauritanian military post and Saharawi supporters of independence.

05.01.06, UN
Press conference of the President of the Security Council for January, the Tanzanian, Augustine P. Mahiga. He indicated that at the request of Algeria and Morocco, discussions on Western Sahara would be postponed from 11 to 19 January (on the official program they occur at the date of 18.01.06). This will be, he believes, "the most important meeting on Western Sahara, since it will be a question of a substantial debate on the future role of the United Nations."

MOROCCO

05.01.06
Thomas Riley, United States Ambassador in Morocco, on the Free Trade Agreement between Morocco and the United States: "We have not concluded the agreement with Morocco as a country recognized the world over. At an international level, the Sahara is not yet a part of Morocco. The day when an agreement between Algeria and the United Nations can be obtained, we will not have to change anything in the document. Fish and other products coming from this region are not part of this agreement. But do the fish have a flag? (L'économiste) [see again the
letter of the American Representative for Commerce, Robert Zoellick to Congressman J. Pitts of 20.07.2004]

HUMAN RIGHTS

27-30.12.05, International Nonviolence Conference "Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance
In the context of an
international conference on non-violence organised in Palestine on the theme "Non-violent Resistance &endash; exchange of experiences", Western Sahara was mentioned through the testimony of a Saharawi on the situation in the occupied territories. [statement of Mohammed Brahim]

COMING UP...

"EL PATRIMONIO CULTURAL DEL SAHARA OCCIDENTAL" - "THE WESTERN SAHARA CULTURAL HERITAGE"
Del 6 al 9 de febrero de 2006. Campamento del 27 de Febrero, campamentos de refuguiados saharaui (Argelia) y en el Sahara Occidental, República Árabe Saharaui Democrática. Infos: narcis.soler@udg.es / bcheij@hotmail.com

26.02.06 : Tifariti - International Conference of Solidarity with the Saharawi People

27.02.06: 30th Anniversary of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic

27.02.06: 6th Sahara Marathon 2006

INTERNET

 

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