WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 27-28 : 02.-15.07.2006

original french

 

SADR

01.07.06, training
Twelve Saharawi students graduated from the National Centre for Training of specialised officials in Birkhadem in Algiers, with diplomas testifying to their training in Braille for the benefit of blind Saharawi children. This is the first time for SADR that training of this kind has been given. [SPS]

03.07.06, African Union
Morocco came away smarting from a "dismal failure" at the summit of the African Union, Mhamed Khadad, member of the National Secretariat, declared to the Saharawi Press, adding that "the manoeuvres of Moroccan diplomacy, aimed at attacking SADR's achievements in Africa, and to pervert the facts of the conflict of decolonization setting the Saharawi people against the Moroccan agressor, have failed lamentably". For Khadad, SADR came out of it "reinforced by the solidarity shown towards it, in course of debates and by this new commitment of Africa in favour of the exercise by the Saharawi people of its inalienable right to self-determination." [SPS]

05.07.06, Youth Forum
Creation of the National Union of Algerian Youth (UNJA) and the Union of Youth of Saguia El Hamra and Rio de Oro (UJSARIO) of the "Forum of Youth and Students for the Support of the Intifada of Independence of the Saharawi People". [SPS]

05-15.07.06, Algiers, Week of Solidarity with SADR
Organised by the Algerian National Committee of Solidarity with the Saharawi People, this week of solidarity offered a great deal on both cultural and political levels. The Saharawi delegation consisted of 150 people. A big  kheima (traditional tent) was erected outside the square of the Grande Poste in the center of the city, exhibitions took place in different locations including a photo exhibition of the resistance of the Saharawi people. Young Saharawis participated in various cultural activities.
The Prime Minister, Abdelkader Taleb Oumar was received by his Algerian counterpart, Abdelaziz Belkhadem and the Saharawi President of the Constitutional Council, Mohamed Bouzeid,  by Boualem Bessaieh his Algerian counterpart.
Saharawi elected members met their opposite numbers, the Saharawi political delegation had talks with political parties (FLN, RND, MSP), with Said Abadou, Secretary General of the National Organisation of Moudjahiddines, Abdelmadjid Sidi-Saïd, Secretary General of the General Union of Algerian Workers and with Farouk Ksentini, President of the Committee for Human Rights.

Many articles and interviews appeared in various media. A humanitarian caravan comprising over a hundred trucks laden with food aid, clothing, medication etc left Algiers for the camps on 12 July.

During the opening ceremony, the Prime Minister Abdelkader Taleb Omar read a message from the Saharawi President, which stressed that "stability and security in the region can only happen when the occupation of Saharawi territory comes to an end." He called for the international community to "defend legality" and to recognise SADR. For his part, the Saharawi Prime Minister considers that negotiations must take place on the implementation of the Baker plan. Abdelkader Taleb Omar regretted that France tries every time to impede the implementation of the resolutions of the UN Security Council. The figurehead of the movement of the archs imazighen, Belaïd Abrika, said his presence at this demonstration came from his support "for all just causes" of peoples and from his "respect" for the principle of self-determination of the Saharawi people.

In parallel a university summer school for Saharawi cadres took place, consisting of a series of lectures and workshops. Within this context, the Saharawi President Abdelaziz interpreted the fact that Algeria had agreed to hold the summer school for the Polisario Front as a manner of expressing to the whole world its willingness to help SADR, even after it acquires its independence. "The Saharawi people never could be Moroccan", he insisted. "Morocco and its allies, Spain and France, exert pressure to deprive the Saharawi people of their rights and persuade some countries not to support the Saharawi question", he regretted. "Saharawi identity and their attachment to independence do not concern the older generations. They are carried forward by the new generations of Saharawis who did not experience the invasion and who were born in the occupied territories of Western Sahara."

The twelve lectures dealt with

- international law: "The self-determination of the people of Western Sahara : a determining factor in the building of the Maghreb Union", by Abderrahmane Belayat; "The UN and the principle of the right of peoples to self-determination" by Boukera Idris; "Support of Algeria for the right of peoples to self-determination, the case of the people of Western Sahara", by Smail Debbeche;

- the Algerian experience: "The Algerian Revolution and founding of the State", by Réda Malek, former head of the Algerian government; "Democratic experience in Algeria" by Lazhari Bouzid; "The building of the Algerian state after the recovery of national independence : study of the case of political organisation and human resource management" by Abdellah Serrir; "Memory of the Nation", by Abdelmajid Chikhi, Director of the  National Archive Centre;

- regional politics: "The place of the Saharawi state in the regional order" by Abdelkader Mahmoudi; "The creation and development of SADR" by the Saharawi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ould Salek;

- human rights: "The pillage of natural resources of colonised countries, the case of Western Sahara" by Abdelmadjid Keddi; "The globalisation of human rights, the case of the people of Western Sahara by  Hafida Ameyar, followed by a workshop "Popular peaceful resistance for the independence of Western Sahara and Moroccan repression";

- terrorism: "Terrorism - an academic or political concept?", by Amar Djefal, followed by a workshop, " Terrorism and religious extremism", led by Abdelhamid Besaa;

- on the situation of women: "The Saharawi woman : between duty of liberation and demands of the state, by Mme Khadidja Hamdi with contributions of the Secretary Geneal of the National Union of Algerian Women, Mme Nouria Hafsi and the President of the Algerian Women's movement for solidarity with rural women, Mme Saida Benhabilès. [dossier en espagnol et en arabe ] with photo gallery.

The Saharawi president gave at least two interviews. In El Khabar, 10.07.06), [full text], Mohamed Abdelaziz declared that the Polisario is willing to negotiate with Morocco on condition that the negotiations are within the context of the UN and on the basis of a referendum of self-determination of Western Sahara. The body called the Royal Consultative Council is only a Moroccan manoeuvre, there is no place for another party in the question, we will never talk with it in any shape or form. The Saharawi president appealed to the Spanish government to stop its military support for Morocco. On the subject of the 10.5 million euros granted by the Spanish government for the Moroccan army for the acquisition of sophisticated equipment to control illegal immigration, the Saharawi president said: "we denounce the policy of blackmail practised by the Moroccan government, which uses the question of illegal immigration to put pressure on Spain which has repercussions in the Spanish position on the question of Western Sahara."

In Liberté (11.07.06), he declared that the Moroccan proposal of autonomy is neither more nor less than a plot. It is an attempt to get around the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence. Morocco has no right to present proposals for autonomy to a non-self-governing country.

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

28.06.06, respect for human rights
Joint
statement from the Association des Amis de la RASD, the Association Française d'Amitié et de Solidarité avec les Peuples d'Afrique (AFASPA) and the Comité français pour le Respect des Libertés et des Droits Humains (CORELSO) to denounce the Moroccan diplomatic offensive in favour of an autonomy plan, accompanied by an intensification of repression in the occupied territories.

28-29.06.06, El Ayoun
Many graffitis on the walls of Inaach quarter. The next day, by way of reprisals, several arrests, bad treatment, searches and destruction of homes.

30.06.06, Smara
Three people were arrested and 20 others tortured, while several houses were ransacked during the month of June, according to the monthly report of the Saharawi Committee of defense of human rights in Smara. The Committee called for inquiries to be opened on the abuses committed by the police and Moroccan auxiliary forces.

30.06.06, Boujdour
Saharawi students "reaffirmed their determination to pursue the intifada of independence", despite bad end-of-year results at school, due to the climate of repression and discrimination prevalent in educational establishments.
Three Saharawis were wounded during independence demonstrations. The president of the local committee of ASVDH, (the Saharawi Association of Victims of grave violations of human rights committed by the Moroccan state), Tahlil Mohamed, arrested on 29 by the Moroccan forces of occupation, was abandoned 5 kilometres out of town, after being handcuffed and tortured.

01-02.07.06, Smara
Three arrests in the course of a night demonstration in favour of the withdrawal of the Moroccan occupier. On El Jadida school, demonstrators replace the Moroccan flag with the Saharawi flag.

02.07.06
The Saharawi political prisoner, Ahmed Sbai, arrested on 17June, called for Morocco to respect human rights in the occupied territories of Western Sahara and denounced the bad treatment to which Saharawi prisoners are subjected by the staff of the Black Prison.

03.07.06, appeal of OMCT
Following the sentences of 27 June of Sid Mohammed Mahmoud Kainnan Haddi - nicknamed Elkainan -, former political detainee, and his brother, Saleh Haddi, the OMCT launched an appeal for the guarantee no harm to their physical and psychological health, their immediate release, an inquiry into the events and the respect for human rights. [
Appel OMCT, Cas MAR 230606.1, 03.07.06]

03.07.06, South Africa
The Saharawi human rights activist and former political prisoner Aminatou Haidar was received in Johannesburg by the Secretary General off the South African Council of Churches, Eddy Makue, who condemned Morocco's repressive practices against Saharawi citizens in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.

04.07.06
Saharawi prisoners of opinion held a 48-hour hunger strike to demand the satisfaction of their claims by the administration, viz: to be considered as political detainees, right to visits, newspapers, books, food from outside and medical care. [
Communiqué, 03.07.06]

04.07.06
Salek Saadi, victim of extensive burns to the face and neck, left Casablanca hospital. His family has no means to assure the necessary care for his condition. [
Le brûlé d'El Ayoun, article de Ali Lmrabet dans El Mundo 04.07.06, résumé en fr ], [La amarga gloria del 'quemado de El Aaiún', Ali Lmrabet, El Mundo.es 04.07.06] [photos de Saidi Salek sorti d'hôpital]

05.07.06
Arrest of Lahmad ElMahjoub, known as Ali Echein, born in 1987, tortured in a secret detention centre (immersion in a vat of water, electrical shocks, strung up to the roof by his handcuffed hands, thrown downstairs and beaten over his entire body). He was released on 7 at midnight.

05.07.06, exile
A boat with 41 people on board, including 10 Saharawis waving SADR flags, arrived in Fuerteventura. Amolng them a woman and
Bouchama Nafaa, a prisoner of opinion released in March after 19 months in prison Bouchama's sister declared by telephone that her brother, had been under surveillance since his release and could not leave his home. He asked for political asylum. Some Saharawis presented former Spanish identity documents.

06.07.06
Moroccan forces search houses looking for independence leaflets. The house of the Saharawi citizen, Mohamed Salem Deich Abdallah Sidi was searched on 30 June, then on 02, 04, and 06 July 2006 and his landlord was arrested. [
Appel de Mohamed Daddach]

08-09.07.06, Smara
Demonstrators raised Saharawi flags on buildings in the Ahmed Laroussi quarter and distributed tracts calling for the "immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara".[SPS]  Other similar demonstrations took place on 12.07.06. [
photos]

08-09.07.06, Tan-Tan
Saharawi citizens hung up national colours in the Sidi Mohamed Dadach quarter, quickly removed by the police forces. [SPS]

10.07.06, El Ayoun
The older brother of Elkaïnan, Ali Salem Haddi, suffers serious after-effects of torture inflicted by the Moroccan forces of repression in the police station on 24 September Street.

12.07.06, El Ayoun
Four Saharawis were arrested during a demonstration on Avenue Ali Salem Tamek, and a fifth in his house. The former political prisoner
Boumoud Mohamed Salem, challenged near the Mauritanian border, was tortured. He took refuge in Mauritania.

13.07.06, Agadir
Five Saharawi political prisoners, Naji/Najia ElBachir, ElKhorchi Waissi, ElMansouri Idris, Tamek Mohamed, Kayout Brahim, all arrested on 15 April in Assa, appeared before the court of second instance in Agadir which postponed the session until 27.07.06.

13.07.06, El Ayoun
Sabbar Brahim, secretary general of ASVDH, and Haddi Ahmed Mahmoud Elkainan appeared on appeal before the court of second instance in El Ayoun. Accused of attacking a police officer and refusing to obey police officers, they were sentenced on 27 June to 2, and respectively, 3 years in prison. The court postponed the trial to Thursday 20 July 2006. Defence lawyers were absent, they had not been informed of the date of the trial, a procedural irregularity which raises questions of a fair trial.

13.07.06, Illegal immigrants
Medicos del Mundo denounced the abandonment of 5 Subsaharan illegal immigrants, arrested on 28 June near Dakhla, in a mined zone of the desert in the region of Kandahar on the Mauritanian border.

REFERENDUM

08.07.06, London
In a written answer to a parliamentary question tabled by Ms. Joan Walley, Member of Parliament (Labour) about the UK Government's position with regard to the question of Western Sahara, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Dr. Kim Howells, stated that, "the Government's policy on the issue of the status of Western Sahara remains unchanged", and pointed out that the UK fully supports the efforts of the United Nations to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution "which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara."
In another written answer to a question about the UK Government's recent assessment of the human rights situation in Western Sahara, Mr. Howells indicated that the Government has "urged Morocco to respect human rights in the Territory".

Diplomatic meetings

Spain-Morocco
A meeting is due to take place between the head of the Spanish state, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the King of Morocco in September. This will be preceded by the visit to Morocco of the Vice-President of the government, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, also this summer, and by a private visit of King Juan Carlos to Mohamed VI on 24 July, probably in Tangiers. [
El Mundo, quoting the Ambassador to Spain, Omar Aziman]
This autumn another high level bilateral summit will take place in Morocco this time, the last one was held in Seville in 2005.  

Spain-Algeria
To improve relations with Algeria, which have progressively become frostier because of the Saharan policy of the Zapatero government, an Algerian &endash; Spanish summit chaired by Bouteflika and Zapatero is planned to take place in Algiers, at the end of October &endash; November and a state visit to Algeria of the Spanish royal couple at the end of the year or beginning of 2007. [
El Mundo]

MOROCCO

11.07.06, Report
In presenting the annual report of the AMDH for the year 2005, its president, Abdelhamid Amine, declared in a press conference in Rabat that his country "is far from being a state of law", and that "we note a serious backwards slide" on the subject of the respect of human rights, "we are among the top countries not respecting human rights". Concerning Western Sahara, one reads in the report that "since May 2005 we have noted several abuses that we point out in a
special report: among these violations they point out arbitrary detentions, torture, intrusion into the homes of many inhabitants, the abusive use of violence on the part of the forces of order, unfair sentences. Most of the detainees were released last March and April &endash; nevertheless there were new arrests, for political reasons, of several Saharawi citizens since that date and some were sentenced to 2 years in prison." [Compte-rendu du rapport annuel 2005 + conférence de presse du 11.07.06]

SOLIDARITY

Holidays in peace
Over 10,000 Saharawi children are spending their holidays in Algeria, Spain, France, Italy and other European countries.

ENERGIA SOLAR para LOS REFUGIADOS SAHARAUIS
La empresa DADI & DUNKEL ENERGY (DDE), en mano de Saharauis de la diaspora, con gran experiencia en esta técnologia y en la situación en los campamentos de refugiados, ofrece en estos momentos importantes REBAJAS de más del 40% sobre todos los tipos de PLACAS SOLARES dirigidas al SAHARA y ONGs. [
más]

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