KINGDOM of MOROCCO
MINISTRY OF INTERIOR
Translation by WSC, UK
Rabat, 22 January 1998
This circular results from examination of the dayily activity reports on the ethnic workshops, forwarded by yourselves, and from remarks, suggestions and proposals made by the Moroccan party's Observers in the light of seven weeks of identification, some twenty weeks from the end of this operation.
The results of identification having so far fallen short of the necessary level, owing in part, certainly, to evidence from the Chyoukh representing the other party which is often negative, but also owing to the manifestly insufficient preparation of our applicants, you are invited to pay the closest attention to this briefing and supervise personally, in accordance with my earlier instructions, the strict application of the following measures:
1 - Exhaustive pre-identification of the applicants and their sub-fractions:
It emerges from the daily activity reports from the ethnic workshops forwarded by yourself that, unfortunately, only a small number of Walis and Governors (see list attached to this circular) have an exact knowledge of the tribes and sub-fractions relevant to their respective commands, and have consequently been able to provide the Ministry of the Interior with statistical data on the applicants that conforms to the information in the central index.
The others are invited immediately to produce their data on the tribes and sub-fractions and on the number of applicants present in their respective commands and held ready to be summoned at any time to MINURSO's Identification Centres.
It goes without saying that an incomplete knowledge of the sub-fractions and their numbers in a prefecture or province results in underestimation of the real population of applicants, so that an isufficient number of these is being trained and taken to the Identification Centres, contrary to the objectve of my earlier instructions.
The Walis and Governors concerned will therefore, on receipt of this circular, require their information technology units to contact the central information technology service to arrange immediate presentation of the province's or prefecture's data on the sub-fractions and their numbers.
2. Preparation of applicants for identification:
As specified in my previous circulars, the basis for the summoning and identification of applicants by MINURSO is the form filled out by them in 1994, on which the computerised data-banks used by this mission and by the Ministry of the Interior itself are both based.
Each applicant is registered and can be sought through his form number. The form contains the applicant's main details and those of his father and mother, in addition to all the elements that specify which identification criterion, out of the five criteria defined by the United Nations Peace Plan, is likely to be fulfilled by the applicant.
The applicant must also have perfect knowledge at least of the contents of the said form. However, when this document does not reflect the applicant's real situation, he should not be imprisoned by it but should seek to make it easy for the Identification Commission to recognise key elements, such as:
- the birthplaces of the applicant and his immediate family (father, mother, children).
- the seasonal pasture zones frequented in the Sahara by the applicant or his family.
- landmark dates in relation to the birth of the applicant and his immediate family (father, mother, children) in the Sahara.
- the lineage of the applicant and his immediate family and kinship with a known Sahrawi family.
- the history of the applicant's tribe and family.
- geography of the region in which they lived and travelled.
Lastly, there is a need to inculcate the applicant with a psychological stance enabling him to:
- demystify the identification operation and the MINURSO commission.
- be motivated and aware of the stakes in the referendum.
- have confidence in himself and be self-assured.
- overcome shyness and diffidence and speak loudly and clearly.
- learn in advance, from applicants already identified as belonging to the same sub-fraction, what questions the Identification Commission is asking.
- be able to cite one or more family members already counted or identified, and give their numbers.
- convince the Moroccan Cheikh who will then convince the Identification Commission.
Full mastery of these elements implies preliminary training of the applicant in his prefecture or province of origin and 2 or 3 days of fine tuning with the Moroccan Cheikh before the identification session.
3. Responsibilities of the Cheikh and the Observer:
As specified in the document attached to this circular, concerning "verification of eligibility" of applicants, the Cheikh's main mission with MINURSO is to testify that the applicant fulfils one of the five identification criteria defined by the United Nations Peace Plan.
To this end, it is necessary for the Cheikh to meet at least once with the Observer and the applicants from each sub-fraction to become amply acquainted with the latter in preparation for the identification session. A list, in Arabic, of the applicants from his sub-fraction should be supplied to the Cheikh.
To facilitate contact between the applicants and the Cheikh of their fraction, the Observer teams will be tripled to enable them to follow the identification operation at the same time as preparing the applicants.
In the identification session the Cheikh should appear credible and convincing and should not restrict himself to recognising the applicant, but seek to support and defend him as well. He should listen closely to the applicant's declaration and give active, reasoned and coherent testimony in support of the applicant's answers.
He should have perfect knowledge of the applicant, his lineage and his links with the sub-fraction and region.
He should relate this in a clear and convincing manner to the Identification Commission to elicit a positive verdict from it.
4. Role of the Instructors
Close contact between the Instructor, the Cheikh and the Observer is essential to train the Cheikh, teach him the identification process and the five eligibility criteria, raise his awareness, motivate him and remove any complexes he may have about the MINURSO Commission.
At least one full-day session involving the Observer, the Instructor, the Cheikh and the applicants from the sub-fraction is necessary to coordinate, evaluate and plan their common action.
For each ethnic sub-fraction, it is proposed that a group of applicants from the Southern Provinces who have already been identified, along with qualified cadres from these provinces, should be formed to help with the training programme of applicants from the Northern Provinces.
These applicants should identify the best-known and most widely distributed parts of their lineage and make them known to the Identification Commission.
In the same context, applicants from the Northern Provinces who are of Sahrawi origin should be integrated with their respective tribes to familiarise themselves with certain details that may help facilitate their identification.
Nevertheless, in cases where applicants in this category are certain of their Sahrawi origin but have acquired the culture of Northern Morocco, those concerned should defend their Moroccan personality while providing convincing proofs of their Sahrawi origin.
Lastly, agensl of the authorities, notables, young people and women should be mobilised in support of this operation.
A special unit is to be established for preparing the Chyoukh, and a system set up to train the Instructors and the Chyoukh in, for example:
Finally, deserving Chyoukh are to be encouraged and treated with respect.
In conclusion, the next twenty weeks are of determining importance for the outcome of the referendum to confirm the Moroccanness of the Sahara, whose result depends on your immediate action to apply intergrally all the instructions you have been given on this subject, which I invite you once again to execute rigorously in liaison with the central Governors concerned, who are required to keep me regularly informed.