WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 29-30 : 16.07.-29.07.2006

original french

 

SADR

17.07.06, Spain
The National Union of Saharawi Women's Officer for Information and Culture, Khadija Hamdi, is visiting Cantabria. She met several political officials and stressed that the autonomous government should intervene with the central government in favour of the decolonisation of Western Sahara. [SPS] [
Entrevista en El Diario Montanes, 20.07.06]

21.07.06, National Secretariat
At an ordinary meeting, the Polisario Front's executive body decided that the movement's next congress, initially planned for 2006, would be held "in the course of 2007". The NS reviewed the first semester of the year and called on the UN to set up "mechanisms capable of guaranteeing security, freedom and rights for Saharawi citizens in the occupied zones". The NS asked France to "abstain from" encouraging Morocco to "rebel against international law" and recalled Spain to its "legal responsibilities" in the tragedy of the Saharawi people in in "the decolonisation" of Saharawi territory. [SPS]

19, 20 et 21.07.06, Madrid
The autonomous University of Madrid organised a summer school on the subject "Los saharauis y nosotros un desafío pendiente y urgente" (The Saharawis and us, a present and urgent challenge). On this occasion the Saharawi Minister delegate for Europe, Mohamed Sidati, questioned, in relation to the "autonomy proposal" put forward by Morocco, "how, in a decolonisation process, whose solution resides in the implementation of the right to self-determination, could one substitute a pseudo-solution, which is nothing more than a manner of trying to legitimise, between inverted commas, an illegal occupation, a fait accompli? Morocco can propose autonomy for the Rif or the Atlas, but not for Western Sahara, because it has neither the administrative power, nor sovereignty over the territory", he added. Concerning "direct negotiations" between Morocco and the Polisario Front, Mr Sidati remarked that "negotiations have already taken place under the auspices of the United Nations and that they have ended". [SPS]

25.07.06, Madrid
A Saharawi parliamentary delegation was received on Tuesday morning at the seat of the National Spanish Parliament by Mrs Clemencia Torredo, President of the parliamentary group "Peace and Freedom for the Saharawi people". [SPS]

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

Police reinforcement
The Moroccan authorities reinforced the police presence in Western Sahara. In Foum ElOued (El Ayoun beach) a new barracks has been built and 800 gendarmes have moved in, to prevent Saharawi students from demonstrating during the summer holidays. In Boujdour, large quantities of munitions have been recently delivered to the GUS (Urban Security Group) and over 400 police and 300 members of the secret services have been transferred to Smara and integrated with the Mobile Intervention Companies (CMI).

Harrassment
Atouilia ment Ali ould Hmad was sexually harrassed at Boujdour market by a member of the Moroccan auxiliary forces. The young woman started calling out "Long live the Polisario". Members of the auxiliary forces then beat her with truncheons. The girl was hospitalised. [
ASVDH, 24.07.06]

New arrests
At the end of July we learned that the Saharawi citizen, Freik Mohammed ould Brahim ould Mahmoud had been arrested on 8 June 2006 near El Ayoun by the Royal Moroccan Gendarmery. Taken to an unknown destination, he was tortured and detained until 14 July 2006 without knowing the reasons for being abducted. He was to lodge a complaint with the General Prosecutor, which has not been pursued, like hundreds of other previously lodged complaints. [
ASVDH 20.07.06]

In Smara, Moroccan forces of repression have carried out numerous arrests in July in response to the demonstrations being held. On 12 July 11 people were arrested, three of them were imprisoned in El Ayoun (Belyazid Ammar ould Alamine, Benalla Cheikh ould Dadah ould Boumrah, Zagham Ghali ould Asaaidi ould Mahmoud ould Bahaha). On 18 July three other Saharawis, accused of having hung up SADR flags, appeared before the instructing magistrate and were transferred to the Black Prison of El Ayoun (Dida Abdesalam, Bahaha Mohamed Salem and Mouloud Mustapha Brahim nicknamed "Mouloud Elhaj"). The latter's mother is under psychiatric treatment following the arrest of her son. On 23 July Abdel Fatah Mohamed Hamadi El Moukhtar Lekhrif and his brother, Abdel Maati were arrested. Still in Smara, five young people questioned on 26 July by plain clothes agents, were released following a sit-in by the population outside the police station. [ASVDH, 21.07.06]

On 20 July, Limam Sabbar, brother of Brahim, was arrested right inside the Black Prison during a visit to his brother. He was expelled from the town of El Ayoun after having been violently attacked. The same day El Houssein Limlih was arrested in the course of a demonstration in the Polco quarter. [ASVDH, 20.07.06]

Trial
The Court of Second Instance in El Ayoun confirmed on appeal, on 20.07.06, the sentences handed down on 27 June 2006 to the secretary general of the ASVDH Sabbar Brahim and Saharawi former political detainee Haddi Sidi Ahmed Mahmoud Elkainan. [
ASVDH 20.07.06].

Demonstrations continue
At Foum elOued, the beach of El Ayoun, Saharawis organised a sit-in for independence on 24 July. Saharawi political prisoners in the Black Prison held a 48-hour hunger strike on 26 July to protest against "bad treatment and their conditions of detention", the prison authorities having not kept their commitments. In Mhamid elGhizlan, Southern Morocco, a demonstration of solidarity was organised on 23 July, which continued for several days as a sit-in.

Appeal
The family of the Saharawi political prisoner, Sala Mouloud Brahim Lehmam launched an appeal from Tan Tan to release all Saharawi political prisoners.

Interview
The Saharawi human rights activist, Hmad Hamad, interviewed by the Mauritanian weekly, Al Alam, said: "The Intifada is a natural response to the policy of repression and plunder of natural riches. It is the expression of the rejection of the Moroccan occupation." For Hamad, despite all the attempts of the Moroccan government trying to stop [democracy and human rights], the unshakeable desire for freedom and independence of the Saharawi people is irreversible. [
translation full text, SPS 16.07.06]. - original in Arabic

The Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders CDDHSO, analysing the events of June and July, demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all Saharawi political prisoners (numbering at least 29 at present, updated list on: http://www.arso.org/intifadalistpris.htm) and for an inquiry to be conducted into human rights abuses committed by Morocco. The CDDHSO further asked democratic governments and international organisations to take away Morocco's seat on the UN Human Rights Council. [communiqué du 22 juillet]

NATURAL RESOURCES

June-July 2006
Two ships carrying phosphate arrived recently in New Zealand, coming probably from Western Sahara. They are the ship Annou G.O. (Gleamray Maritime), which arrived in Lyttleton on 18 July, to then berth in Dunedin, Napier, Lyttleton again on 21 and finally Taranaki on 23. The Le Bianco Zealand (First Steamship Company Ltd.) arrived in Lyttleton on 10 July and continued on to Dunedin, Napier and Lyttleton on 15.

16.07.06, New Zealand
The Greens are worried New Zealand might be breaking international laws, with the arrival of a shipment of phosphate from Western Sahara in Africa. A cargo has been partly unloaded in Lyttelton. The Green Party believes it is being sold by the Moroccan state-owned mining company, but without the consent of those in Western Sahara. Co-leader Russel Norman says the United Nations has previously said it believes the phosphate is being exploited without regard to the local people. He says it is potentially damaging to New Zealand's reputation.

EU-Morocco Fishing Agreement
The agreement of partnership in the fishing sector between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco was approved on 17 July by the Council of the European Union. The Council of Moroccan ministers ratified it on 20 July. The EU and Morocco proceeded on 26 July to the final signature of the fishing agreement. The Agreement is to be ratified by the two chambers of the Moroccan parliament, whose next meeting is due in October. The Agreement was concluded on 28 July 2005 and should have entered into force on 1 March 2006. [
easy Bourse, 26.07.06]

26.07.06, New Zealand Parliament
Minerals-Importation from Non-self-governing Territories
Upon the arrival of the bulk carrier Sirius in the port of Tauranga coming from El Ayoun, two Green Party members of parliament asked oral questions on the importation of phosphates sourced in the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara of the Minister for Trade. He replied: "I am advised that the New Zealand companies concerned are not in breach of either international or domestic law in importing phosphate from Morocco that may have been mined in Western Sahara. I am aware of the opinion given by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, Hans Corell, back in 2002 on the basis of the charter principle of recognising that the interests of the inhabitants of non-selfgoverning territories must be paramount. The answer is that I do not think anybody can say with any certainty what the local people in Western Sahara feel about the mining of phosphate resources. I certainly have no evidence about that."[
transcripts]

REFERENDUM

18.07.06, Morocco-France
The first secretary of the French Socialist Party, François Hollande, on a visit to Rabat, stressed the necessity of finding a "political solution" to the Sahara question "which has been going on for over 30 years and which unhelpfully separates Algeria and Morocco". He added that according to MAP that "it is also necessary that this solution should be negotiated by all the parties involved and should be mutually acceptable and finally the solution must also receive the blessing of the United Nations."

23.07.06, Niger-Algeria
In a final joint statement at the end of the visit to Algiers of the Niger Foreign Affairs Minister, Mrs Aichatou Mindaoudou, the two ministers recalled "the importance of the respect of international law and the implementation of relevant resolutions of the United Nations for the just and lasting settlement (of the) conflict" of Western Sahara.

26.07.06, Italy
The Italian parliamentary intergroup for Western Sahara was formed in Rome during a meeting with the Vice-President of the Chamber, Carlo Leoni. About a hundred members of the lower house and the Senate belong to it. The intergroup proposes to undertake any initiative to support the cause of the Saharawi people and their self-determination.

MAURITANIA

19.07.06, Landmines
Sweden has made available to Mauritania, through the United Nations programme for development (PNUD) and the United Nations fund for children (UNICEF), a sum of 190,000 US dollars for de-mining the north of the country, the aftermath of the war with the Polisario Front.

HUMANITARIAN AID

10.07.06, Spain
The Andalusia branch of the workers commissions undertook to build a school in Aguenit (liberated territory) and to take part in the re-building of schools in the refugee camps for a total sum of 160,000 euros.

COMING UP...

The 32nd European Conference coordinating support for the Saharawi people, EUCOCO 2006, will take place in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) on 3, 4 and 5 November 2006. Further information --> contact

 

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