WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 05 - 06 : 28.01. - 10.02.2007

original french

SADR

25-30.01.07, African Union, Executive Council and 8th Summit
The AU’s Executive Council, during its 10th ordinary session, examined the report by the President of the African Commission, Alpha Oumar Konaré. It noted recent developments on the question of Western Sahara and adopted the report unanimously, which reaffirms the responsibility of the United Nations towards the Saharawi people and underlines that the solution to the conflict in Western Sahara lies in the exercise by the people of Western Sahara of their right to self-determination.
[Summit]

23.01.-31.01.07, Joint WFP/UNHCR Mission
A joint delegation of the World Food Program and the UN High Commission for Refugees carried out a mission of evaluation in the Saharawi refugee camps to assess low food stocks resulting from the exhaustion of the security stock [see appeal by the Saharawi Red Crescent, week
03-04/2007]. It will “prepare a new program of food and non-food aid for the refugees”, which should begin, in principle, from April.  Meanwhile, the refugees have to make do with 750 kcal, whereas the minimal threshold set by WFP is 2100 kcal. Part of January’s food aid has been distributed, although the refugees have not received supplies for two months. The president of the Saharawi Red Crescent, Yahia Bouhobeini, accused the WFP and UNHCR of not making enough effort to replenish the stores.  [SPS] [El Watan, 03.02.07]

31.01.07, Caracas
A group of Saharawi university students arrived in the Venezuelan capital to undertake further studies as part of a bilateral agreement signed between the governments of the two countries. [SPS]

04.02.07, appeal
In a letter sent to the new UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, the Saharawi president asked for the intervention of the UN to put an end to the “flagrant violations of human rights committed by the Moroccan colonial authorities in Western Sahara. He also appealed for the “immediate release” of 38 political prisoners “on hunger strike since 30 January last.” [SPS]

05.02.07
During a press conference in Algiers, the Saharawi Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Salem ould Salek, revealed that the Saharawi president will shortly meet the new UN Secretary General. He also announced that a memorandum had been sent to the UN on developments in the question of Western Sahara and described the Moroccan proposal for autonomy “null and void”, since it violates international law”. 
[Liberté, Alger, 06.02.07]  [AmbRASD Alger], 05.02.07]

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

25.01.07, mines
After various fatal accidents due to landmines in the region of Smara and Bir Nzarane [see weeks
03-04/2007], the Collectif des Défenseurs Sahraouis des Droits de l'Homme, CODESA , asked the Moroccan authorities to proceed immediately with de-mining the zones at risk and to guarantee medical care for the victims. He asked the international anti-landmine movement to put pressure on Morocco to adhere to the Ottawa convention.

30.01.07
Saharawi political prisoners incarcerated in the Black Prison have started an unlimited hunger strike, to protest against their conditions of detention and to denounce the attacks to which they were subjected on 19 January last. Several Saharawi prisoners were attacked again on 3 February by Moroccan common law prisoners.

05.02.07, Appeal
On the eve of the trial in El Ayoun of Saharawi human rights defenders, Brahim Sabbar and Ahmed Sbai, Amnesty International expresses the hope that these two persons may not be subjected to judicial harassment for their work as human rights defenders and their defense of the self-determination of Western Sahara. Amnesty International asks the Moroccan authorities to ensure that the proceedings on 6 February respect international norms for a fair trial.
[Amnesty International Public Statement, Morocco/Western Sahara: Stop the judicial harassment of Sahrawi human rights defenders, 5 February 2007]  [arabic]

06.02.07, Trial
Six Saharawi accused, Brahim Sabar, Ahmed Sbai, Loumadi Abdessalam, Toubali El Hafed, El Ghasmi Mohamed Lehbib and Ahmeidatt Ahmed Salem, appeared before the appeal court in El Ayoun. Their sentencing was postponed until 20 February. The accused refused to respond to questions until an inquiry has been carried out into the attack on them on 19 January.
[communiqué [original arabic]

NATURAL RESOURCES

Phosphate
The ship, Delzoukre arrived on 30.01.07 at the port of Tauranga,New Zealand, coming from El Ayoun and then went on 4 February to Timaru and on 6 to South Port (Bluff) to unload its cargo of phosphate.
The ship, Santa Anna is expected on 3 March in Lyttleton, on 4 in Napier and on 7 in Dunedin, also carrying phosphate sourced in Western Sahara.

REFERENDUM

30.01.07
At a press conference during the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, declared that he hoped that the issue of Western Sahara would be resolved between the parties concerned through dialogue.
[unofficial transcript]

01.02.07, MINURSO
The UN Secretary general has appointed Julian Harston, United Kingdom, as Special Representative for Western Sahara and head of MINURSO. Harston, who entered the United Nations in 1995 after a career in the British foreign service, was until 2004 Director of the United Nations office in Belgrade.
[UN Press release

04.02.07
In a statement, the Polisario Front declares that “it will give all the help and the cooperation necessary to the new special representative to ensure the success of the mission of the United Nations for Western Sahara whose ultimate goal is the organisation of a free and transparent referendum of self-determination for the Saharawi people”. The Polisario has elsewhere condemned “Morocco’s procrastinations and manoeuvres of which the latest example is its attempt to railroad acceptance of the “autonomy” plan. 04.02 [SPS]

05.02.07, Moroccan autonomy proposal
A high-level Moroccan delegation informed the French President, Jacques Chirac on progress of the autonomy proposal, which comprises three aspects, “respect for the sovereignty and national unity, taking into consideration specific social and cultural characteristics of the region and conformity with international norms and standards as concerns autonomy”. Chirac thanked the Moroccan delegation for having accorded to France the first sight of the plan, which he described as “constructive”.
[compte-rendu du porte-parole de la Présidence]
The French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Douste-Blazy, received the Moroccan delegation the next day and called the Moroccan proposal serious and constructive.

05.02.07, Saharawi reaction
The Saharawi government considered, in a written declaration, that the role of France should have been to encourage the parties to the conflict, Morocco and the Polisario Front, to respect and implement the resolutions of the United Nations instead of supporting Rabat in its unilateral and dangerous proposition for Western Sahara.[full text]

07.02.07, British parliament,
Replying to a question from Jeremy Corbyn, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Kim Howells declared that the United Kingdom fully supports the efforts of the UN towards achieving at a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.
[statement]

08.02.07
The Saharawi government denied categorically “a meeting [in Paris] between a very important Saharawi official with Moroccan officials to discuss the autonomy proposal”, as the Moroccan daily, Assabah announced the day before. [SPS]

08.02.07, Madrid
After Paris, the Moroccan delegation presented its plan for autonomy to the Spanish government. At the end of the meeting, the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs pointed out that it is important that the Moroccan proposal should be discussed within the dynamic of a dialogue between the parties under the aegis of the United Nations and that they should take account of the principle of self-determination. [AFP]

SPAIN

06.02.07, sale of arms
The Spanish government authorised the sale to Morocco of 1200 Rebeco four wheel drive vehicles [equivalent of the American Hummer], of 800 military trucks and 10 patrol boats, for a sum of approximately 200 million euros.
[España vende a Rabat 1.200 blindados como los usados en Afganistán, El Pais, 06.02.2007]   [La venta española de 1200 blindados a Marruecos agrava la situación en el Magreb, José Daniel Fierro, Rebelión, 09.02.07]

08.02.07
The Saharawi government considers that the sale of arms by Spain to Morocco constitutes an affront to Spanish public opinion and is a disloyal and treacherous act similar to the Madrid Accords of 1975. Through this act Spain has excluded itself from the group of friendly countries for the peace process and any future mediation. [original text]

MOROCCO

25.01.07
Maghreb Confidential reveals that the Moroccan government and the Office chérifien des phosphates OCP have engaged Avatar Enterprises Inc, a powerful American lobbyist, to “raise the awareness of American officials concerning questions involving Morocco and the United Nations and OCP’s business.”. The contract is said to have cost the sum of US$40,000. [Maghreb Confidential N° 772]

29.01.07
The Moroccan party Annahj Addimoucrati points out, in a long memorandum on the conflict in Western Sahara, that “the Saharawi people should exercise their right to self-determination under the aegis of the United Nations”. [SPS]

29-30.01.07
The King of Morocco informed the Prime Minister, Driss Jettou, the President of the Chamber of Representatives, Abdelouahed Radi, the President of the Chamber of Councillors, Mustapha Oukacha, and the President of CORCAS, Khalli Henna Ould R'Chid, of the progress of the autonomy proposal. Talks continued over 31 January, 1 and 2 February with the heads of the different political parties.

01.02.07
the Prime Minister informed the government of progress on the autonomy proposal. Rabat plans to organise a campaign of explanation with all the members of the UN Security Council.

COMING UP...

09.02.07: Els Drets Humans al Sahara Occidental, Exposicio de fotografies, Audiovisual d'Aminetu Haidar, Taula rodona. Comitè Català Aminetu Haidar per l'Alliberament dels Presos Polítics Sahrauís, el  9 de febrer a les 7 de la tarda, al Centre Cultural Can Fabra, Barcelona. Infos: joaquimcarreras@terra.es

09.02.-23.03.07, photo exhibition on the Saharawi People, Institute of Social Studies, Kortenaerkade 12, The Hague: Danielle Smith (Belgium/UK), Nicolien Zuijdgeest (Netherlands), Simon Thorpe (Zambia/UK), Dimitrios Tsironis (Australia) and Pedro Pinto Leite (Portugal/Netherlands). Infos: Martin Blok blok@iss.nl

Sandblast London: February 1st-17th 2007 Photo exhibition on Western Sahara, Host Gallery, London.
Wed, Feb 13th, 7-8pm, Film screenings of Western Sahara: A Forgotten War (1998) A BBC 2 Correspondent film (52min). Tim Braunholtz of Western Sahara Campaign will present and do Q&A. <http://www.sandblast-arts.org/> (go to: events - forthcoming)

12-23 de febrero de 2007, GRANADA : exposición de paneles y fotografías: "Sahara Occidental, soñando con el reencuentro:  17:00 a 20:00 horas, Salas de Exposiciones, CENTRO CIVICO ZAYDIN, C/ Pintor M. Maldonado.
13.02.07, INAUGURACION: 13 de febrero, 19:00 horas
VIDEO FORUM: "Lalia", de Silvia Munt,  20 de febrero,19:30 horas
http://www.aspa-andalucia.org/   Infos: aspa.cordoba@nodo50.org

16.02.-04.03.07, Melbourne : Australia Western Sahara Association presents, Images of Western Sahara: A picture tells a thousand words. Paintings from Saharawi artists in the refugee camps. Photographs of land mine victims by Simon Thorpe. Photographs by Georgia Vlassopoulos, at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, to be opened by Maria Vamvakinou, MP. Details: www.bundoorahomestead.com and <http://www.awsa.org.au> .

16.02.07, CONCENTRACIÓN DEL MOVIMIENTO DE SOLIDARIDAD CON EL SÁHARA EN APOYO A LOS PRESOS POLÍTICOS SAHARAUIS, frente a la embajada de Marruecos en Madrid c/ Serrano, 179 (metro república Argentina) desde las 17:00 horas hasta las 20:00 horas. Asociaciones de Amistad y Solidaridad con El Pueblo Saharaui - Comité de seguimiento de los presos políticos saharauis. Teléfono de contacto: 91.531.76.04. e-mail: ceas-sahara@ceas-sahara.es

17-24.02.07, RASD, protección juridica de la zona arqueologica
Una comisión de juristas y arqueologos, viajara al Sahara, a los territorios liberados. Dicha misión está organizada por el Observatorio de derechos humanos del Colegio de abogados de Badajoz. El objetivo de la misma es una toma de contacto por especialistas sobre el terreno, con el fin de recabar toda la información posible para estudiar formas de protección juridica (ante los organismos internacionales como Unesco), de la zona arqueologica, así como realizar prospecciones cientificas de los yacimientos
Infos: "observatorio de derechos humanos" <hafdala@icaba.com>

26.2.07:  VII. Sahara Marathon
English: http://www.saharamarathon.org/desktopdefault.aspx
Espanol: http://www.saharamarathon.org/desktopdefault.aspx?lg=3
Deutsch: http://www.lauftreffreisen.de/html/besuch_bei_den_kindern_der_wol.HTM
Italiano: http://www.saharamarathon.org/desktopdefault.aspx?lg=1

27.02.07, Tifariti
Commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the proclamation of SADR
International Conference of solidarity with the Saharawi people
International Meeting of towns in Europe and Africa twinned with Saharawi dairas
Protest demonstration at the wall of shame

INTERNET

Site web  ASVDH, mis à jour (témoignages , rapports): http://www.asvdh.net/

Documents

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

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

Italiano

Arabe


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