WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 47 - 48 : 19.11.- 02.12.2006

original french

SADR

16.11.06, Questions to the European Commission
The MEP Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/GVN, Portugal), referring to the hardening of the repression in the occupied territories by Morocco, asked “what measures the Council intends to put in place to unblock the peace process in Western Sahara and guarantee the legitimate and inalienable right of self-determination for the Saharawi people, in accordance with international law?” [portug. +reply in Finnish]

In the face of the worsening of the humanitarian situation in the Saharawi refugee camps resulting from the massive drop in humanitarian aid, the same parliamentarian asks what extraordinary emergency measures will the Commission envisage taking?
In its response, the latter declares itself conscious of the critical situation and to have noted that several donors had provided their promised contributions to WFP. It considers that there is no need to adopt special measures, but that to continue to send the humanitarian aid promised in the financing decision of 2006, so as to avoid further breaks in deliveries of aid. [full text EU]

As a consequence of the reduction in the number of beneficiaries of humanitarian aid in the Tindouf camps from 158 000 to 90 000 persons, on the basis of an estimate, in the absence of a trustworthy census, a Belgian Socialist MEP asks the Commission what measures are proposed “to make Algeria authorise the UNHCR to carry out its job”.
The Commission considers that “registration of the population would be very useful to better calibrate the aid”. [full text EU]

22.11.06, Pan-African parliament, 6th ordinary session
According to the international relations committee, the Pan-African Parliament envisages sending a mission of information on human rights abuses in the occupied territories of Western Sahara and recommends the AU to “make necessary arrangements for completing the decolonisation of Western Sahara”.[agencies]

22.11.06, Culture
The Mauritanian poet and writer, Abdallahi Ould Ebnou took part in the refugee camps, in a cultural evening dedicated to the intifada in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, in the company of several Saharawi poets. [SPS]

22-28.11.06, elections
Municipal elections took place in the camps to designate the presidents of the daïra (mayors), the members of municipal councils, as well as representatives of national institutions and grass roots organisations.[SPS]

22.11.06, Ecuador
The Saharawi ambassador Hadj Ahmed Berikallah presented his credentials to the President of Ecuador, Dr Alfredo Palacio in Quito. [SPS]

22.11.06, Diplomatic recognition
The Republic of Haïti and the Saharawi Republic established diplomatic relations at ambassador level according to a joint statement signed by the Haitian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Renald Clérismé and the Saharawi ambassador, Mohamed Yeslem Beïssat. Haïti thus becomes the 82nd country to recognise SADR. This diplomatic victory was welcomed by demonstrations of joy in the towns of occupied Western Sahara and Southern Morocco. [SPS]

24.11.06, Mali
The Saharawi coordinator with MINURSO, M'hamed Khaddad, was received in Bamako by Moktar Ouane, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Mali, who recalled that “Mali has always given its support to a just and peaceful solution” to the Saharawi conflict. [SPS]

25.11.06, desertions
According to the Moroccan daily Assabah, a Moroccan soldier called Akka is said to have deserted with arms and munitions and joined the Polisario Front in the night of 23 November. Five Moroccan soldiers are alleged to have done the same during the month of October last.

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

07.11.06, sentences
Imprisoned on 3 November, Chaibatta Moudafiaa, born on 18 April 1986 and Mouloud Lotfi, born on 18 November 1986, were sentenced to one year in prison.
[ASVDH]

20.11.06
A Saharawi citizen, El-Moussaoui Ahmed Ould Amberik, died as a result of wounds sustained in the explosion of an anti-tank mine in the region of Bakari in occupied Western Sahara.
[ASVDH]

20.11.06, claims
Eight Saharawi political prisoners from Inzegane are observing an unlimited hunger strike since 20 November 2006 to ask to be brought together in Aït Melloul prison, for a speedy court appearance and an inquiry into an attack on the Saharawi political prisoner, Lahmam Salama. [ASVDH]

21.11.06, El-Ayoun
Saharawi political prisoners, Dadai Hmada et El-Moussaoui Ahmed, detained since 10 April 2006, were sentenced to six months in prison and released after having served more than their sentence.
[ASVDH]

21.11.06, attack
The Saharawi human rights defender, Dahi Mohamed Salem, a journalist with the Moroccan weekly, Al-Watan, member of the El Ayoun branch of (AMDH), was insulted, beaten up and interrogated on his writings relating to the question of Western Sahara and interviews with certain Saharawi human rights defenders. Dahi lodged a complaint with the public prosecutor.
[ASVDH]

23.11.06, assassination attempt
A unionist and human rights defender, Jaïm Mohamed, was victim of an assassination attempt in Benguerir, where he lives. Coming back from a protest sit-in with Saharawi students from Marrakech on 23 November, his car was deliberately hit by a military truck.

25.11.06, trial
A Saharawi political prisoner Hassan Abdallahe, in Aït Mellou prison, appeared before the instructing magistrate in Agadir, on a new charge, questioning the sacred principles of Morocco. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison on 5 September 2006.

19-30.11.06, visit of Ali Salem Tamek to South Africa
The Saharawi human rights activist and former political prisoner, Ali Salem Tamek, is in South Africa carrying out a visit to raise awareness about the human rights abuses in Western Sahara. Tamek was received by many human rights organisations , churches, political parties, trades unions, by the President of the Pan-African Parliament and members of the South African government. He took part in a TV broadcast on SABC and with Timothy Othieno, a specialist on the Western Sahara conflict, in a seminar organised by the Institute for Global Dialogue on “The UN and its Obligations to Protect Human Rights in the Non Self Governing Territories: The Case of Western Sahara”.
[details -->SPS] [arabic  UPES  or Cahiers du Sahara]

24-26.11.06, Rome
During a meeting of civil society of the Mediterranean for peace, justice, rights and democracy organised by Medlink 2006, El-Ghalia Djimi, vice-president of the Saharawi Association of Victims of Serious Violations of Human Rights perpetrated by the Moroccan State, (ASVDH), spoke of the situation in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.
[Intervention]
The Saharawi activist also took part in an informal meeting concerning the Magreb Social Forum with representatives of human rights organisations from all the countries of the North African Maghreb.

26.11.06, shipwreck
31 young Saharawis dead or disappeared – victims of illegal emigration
For several months, various sources have mentioned the increase in illegal emigration to the Canaries, in particular by young Saharawis.
According to the enquiry by Tomas Barbulo [El Pais]  the routes between Western Sahara and the Canary Islands, which had not been used for two years, have been reactivated since the beginning of the year. About a hundred boats arrived in the Canaries of which 70 in the last four months. The emigrants are no longer Sub-Saharans, but young Saharawis. 200 requests for political asylum have been lodged since September, over half in the last fortnight. The journalist points out that young Saharawis are pushed into emigration by the Moroccan authorities, who facilitate their departure. Moroccan repression in Western Sahara is ferocious, certain immigrants carry traces of torture or documents showing they have been detained.
The Polisario Front representative in the Canaries regrets these departures, for which the responsibility rests with Morocco and recalls the dangers undergone by the emigrants. Since January, 50 Saharawis have reportedly been lost at sea. The latest tragedy happened off Boujdour, when two boats with 44 young Saharawis on board capsized. Fourteen bodies have been found on the beach, thirteen persons swam to safety. Among the dead was an activist and human rights defender, Naji Mohamed Salem Ali Fal (Boukhatem), born in 1970, member of the ASVDH. 17 persons are still missing. The Moroccan owner of one of the two boats, Brahim Sergheni, one of the principal traffickers, survived and was not troubled. The Saharawi representative in Spain, Brahim Ghali, denounced the “impunity” enjoyed by the people traffickers and the “complicity” of various Moroccan security bodies, the beaches of Boujdour from which the little boats leave were perfectly well-known and identified: Rmila, Tbila, Haimar Mah et Awzioualet.
The Spanish committee for refugees CEAR considers, in a statement, that the increase in the exodus of young Saharawis is the consequence of the repressive policy of the Moroccan regime.[Comunicado CEAR]  [Comunicado LEPDDHH]
The Coordination of Spanish associations in solidarity with the Saharawi people
(CEAS-Sahara) called on the Spanish government to denounce before international bodies the violations of human rights committed by Morocco in the occupied territories of Western Sahara and to demand the “immediate” holding of a referendum of self-determination of the Saharawi people. [more...]

28.11.06, repression
Saharawi human rights activists Toubali Elhafed, El-Gasmi Mohamed Lahbib, Ahmeidate Ahmed Salem and Loumadi Abdessalam appeared before an instructing judge in El-Ayoun. They allege to have been mistreated by the police while being moved around. In protest, Saharawi political prisoners in the Black Prison observe a 48-hour hunger strike and reaffirm their support for the struggle of the Saharawi people and the Polisario Front. The Moroccan authorities forbade access to the Black Prison to Aminatou Haidar, Brahim Dahane and Bachir Lakhfawni. [ASVDH]

NATURAL RESOURCES

22.11.06, EU-Morocco fishing agreement
The Moroccan Chamber of Representatives adopted the fishing agreement. The Party for Development and Justice (PJD, Islamists), indicated that the financial reward from which Morocco benefits in virtue of this agreement is “derisory” in relation to the possibilities of fishing offered to the EU. The Moroccan Chamber of Councillors must also pronounce on it before the agreement is put to the king. The agreement was concluded on 28 July 2005, its ratification was delayed thanks to the efforts of the group “fishelsewhere”, which considers that the agreement is illegal because it includes Saharawi territorial waters.

REFERENDUM

21.11.06, declaration
During a press conference in Geneva, the UN Secretary General replied to a question on the principle of self-determination, “Let me say that the right of auto-determination is something that we at the UN should and must respect. It is that right that is driving us in our discussions with Polisario and the Moroccans.  I don't think the UN can turn its back on that.” [UN news]

23.11.06, Italy
The Legislative Assembly of the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna called the government of Romano Prodi to recognise SADR and to begin diplomatic and political moves with the European Union for the full exercise of the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people.
[texto]

24.11.06, analysis
In an article, the former representative for Western Sahara, Francesco Bastagli wrote : “ France, which has the lead in the European Union on Western Sahara, is a stalwart champion of Morocco. It should use its privileged relationship to advocate a more courageous and innovative stand. As permanent members of the Security Council, the United States and France should join forces to prompt the Council into robust action. Western Sahara has remained at the periphery of the international agenda for too long. Acting with the Council, the new secretary general could secure progress in the early stages of his mandate. Failure to do so may soon bring Western Sahara and its surrounding region to the front pages for all the wrong reasons.” 
[International Herald Tribune]

28-30.11.06, ONU, committee of the 24
Within the framework of the second decade of the United Nations for the elimination of colonialism, the Committee of the 24 organised a seminar on the island of Yanuca, Fiji, dedicated to the situation in non-self-governing territories. Kamal Fadel in the name of the Polisario Front deplored the fact that the United Nations had closed its eyes to Morocco’s abuses, its violations of UN resolutions and its rejection of any peace plan. He called on the OHCHR to publish their report on Western Sahara and asked the committee of the 24 to send a delegation to the area.

MOROCCO

22.11.06, repression
Following organised demonstrations in the Moroccan universities of Marrakech and Agadir on 13-14 November to denounce the tripartite agreement of Madrid, the Moroccan authorities reacted in the usual fashion, arresting three Saharawi students in Agadir and wounding four others in Marrakech,
Meanwhile, it is reported that Saharawi students have also been attacked in their rooms and wounded by Moroccan students under the complicit eye and of the administration. In Moroccan universities there is lack of respect and  jealousy towards Saharawi students as repeated attacks on them bear witness.

30.11.06, first Africa- South America summit
The King of Morocco participated in person in this summit in Abuja in Nigeria and expressed himself in favour of South-South cooperation. The setting up of a Forum of Africa-South America Cooperation, framework within which the governments of the two zones meet every two years, alternatively in Africa and South America were decided upon.
[Afrik.com]

SOLIDARITY

Cantabria por el Sáhara ha editado un precioso calendario de pared con algunas de las fotografías de la exposición "Miradas con Voz. Saharauis en tierra prestada" y sus poemas. e-mail mahbes@nodo50.org

COMING UP...

05.12.06, Paris, MARDI DE L'AFASPA, 20 heures au CICP, 21 ter rue Voltaire Paris 11° (métro rue des Boulets).« Le Maroc va-t-il perdre le Sahara Occidental : nouvelle donne » avec la participation de Ennaâma Asfari, de retour des territoires occupés et Kenti Ouballa, militant des droits humains.

26.02.07 - Sahara Marathon  2007 --> INFO (EN, SP, FR, IT)  (deutsch)

INTERNET

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OPINIONS: http://opinions.arso.org 

NEW PUBLICATIONS
[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]

Français
>> Revue de la presse internationale francophone http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/revue-de-presse-sahara-occidental/messages

NOUVEAU livre:
Quand le Maroc sera islamiste, Nicolas Beau (Canard enchaîné) et Catherine Graciet (Le Journal Hebdo), La Découverte, Paris (sortie le 7 décembre).


English
>> English publications on Sahara Update mailinglist: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sahara-update/messages


Castellano
>> Revista de la prensa en español: http://es.groups.yahoo.com/group/revista-de-prensa-sahara-occidental/messages
NUEVO libro:
Miradas con voz, Saharauis: en tierra prestada, 96 p. 42 fotográfias de Poli Celis, Poemas de Sergio Balbontin, Limam Boicha, Mariano Calvo, Julio Ceballos, Evalinda Coleman, Isaac Cuende, Marcos Díez, Gabriel Esmero, Maribel Fernández, Alberto Gandarillas, Anabel García, Arancha García, Vicente Gutiérrez, Miguel Ibáñez, Fernando Llorente Haya, Fernando Llorente de la Peña, Ramón Maruri, Regino Mateo, Antonio Montesino, Noé Ortega, Mª Ángeles Pérez, Ana Rodríguez, Javier San José, Alberto Santamaría, Mohamed Sidati, Angel Sopeña, Ahmed Yacob. Editor: Cantabria por el Sáhara, Distribución: mahbes@nodo50.org

Italiano
Attualità in italiano: El Ouali Bologna: http://www.saharawi.org/saharawi.htm + Radio for Peace: http://www.radiokcentrale.it/du.htm

Deutsch

Arabe


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