- OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
- REFERENDUM - UN
- GEOGRAPHY POLITICS
- HUMANITARIAN AID
- COMING UP
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Return of the
'années de plomb' (years of lead)
After the police raid carried out on 24 September (see week 39) using methods which one thought abandoned once and for all, the Moroccan authorities of occupation are again using the most barbarous methods of torture on Saharawi activists who have been abducted on this occasion.
Salek Bazaid, after having been interrogated and tortured by the Judicial Police brigade, was taken to the headquarters of the Mobile Intervention Companies CMI in El Ayoun, a secret gaol infamous as a place of torture and which was thought to be "out of use". Bazaid was confronted by the head commissioner of the Intelligence services Hariz Elaarbi, who made death threats as well as to other human rights activists cited by name. Bazaid was then tied up with a rope wound in a spiral over his whole body for 48 hours. He was untied on medical advice which suggests he was in mortal danger.
Commissioner Hariz Elaarbi, well known as a torturer, has been active in Western Sahara since 1976. Most victims of arbitrary detention and forced disappearance have passed through his hands. He is believed responsible for the abduction in 1993 of El Kotb El Hafed and El Kayrawan Saïd, still disappeared today, and the death under torture of at least four Saharawis, including Khalil Ayach, Karroum, Hani Salama, arrested in 1987, following the visit of the UN to El Ayoun. (corr.)
REFERENDUM - UN
UN General Assembly: Special Political and Decolonisation Committee (Fourth Committee)
As is the case every year, the decolonisation of Western Sahara is on the agenda. All speakers except Morocco and its few allies, deplored the lack of progress of the peace plan. (SPS engl.- APS engl.- UN Press Release GA/SPD/236 )
Very many petitioners pleaded the Saharawi cause:
Hilt Teuwen (OXFAM Solidarity), Miguel Mayol i Raynal (Intergroup Peace for the Saharawi people of the European Parliament), Francisco José Alonso Rodríguez, President of the Spanish League for Human Rights (full text spanish), Antonio Lopez Ortiz (FEDISSAH), Felipe Briones (IAJUWS), Suzanne Scholte,President Defense Forum Foundation, USA, (full text), Nina May (chairwoman Renaissance Foundation, USA), Dan Stanley (US Western Sahara Foundation Church Liaison office), Gilma Camargo (American Association of Jurists), Juan Soroeta Liceras, Professor of Public law at the University of the Basque Country, Cristina Navarro Poblet (Coordinadora Estatal de Asociaciones de Amistad y solidaridad con el Pueblo Saharaui, observer at the trial of 17 Saharawis in El Ayoun on 24 April 2002), Claudia Morales Rodriguez (member of the Spanish Senate, Frank Ruddy, U.S. Ambassador (ret.) (full text), Karin Finkler (speaking on behalf of United States Congressman Joseph R. Pitts), Ahmed Boukhari (Polisario Front's UN Representative) (full text). (UN - Press Release GA/SPD/236)
The draft resolution (A/C.4/57/L.2), which will be presented to the General Assembly, was adopted without a vote. (UN - Press Release GA/SPD/238)
The international festival of geography of Saint Dié des Vosges (03-06.10.02) this year invited Morocco to be the guest of honour. In their presentation of this country, the organisers integrated Western Sahara without any mention into Moroccan territory, and "forgot" the conflict of Western Sahara and the presence of the United Nations. The French Association of friends of SADR (AARASD) protested strongly to the organisers. In a statement, AARASD considers that "one could hope from the festival of Saint Dié more honesty and courage" and asked it "how they could feign ignorance of the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people, how they could omit from the map of the Maghreb the border of Western and thus accept an armed occupation as the expression of real sovereignty over a territory?"
Pierre Galand, President of the Coordination of European Committees of Support for the Saharawi People, wrote to the chair of the festival, regretting "that an important geography festival, bringing well-known celebrities to Saint Dié, should tarnish its university and scientific image by accepting to erase a historical and political reality in the name of hospitality towards Morocco, the occupying power in Western Sahara."
Organisation of the Francophonie (IOF)
The Japanese Association of friendship with the Saharawi people wrote to the secretary general of the International Organisation of the Francophonie IOF, Mr Boutros-Ghali, to point out that on their map, Western Sahara was shown as part of Morocco, which does not correspond to the peace plan of the United Nations. In its reply, the IOF recognised that its map of Morocco was not in conformity with the decisions of the UN.
Italian Senate - Committee of Foreign Affairs
In its presentation of two draft resolutions concerning the conflict in Western Sahara, the chairman of the committee confirms Italy's interest in promoting a renewal of the efforts of negotiation between Morocco and the Polisario Front. The two proposed resolutions were accepted by the committee. The final resolution asks the government to support every initiative of the UN in favour of the referendum as well as any solution having obtained agreement from the parties which is in accordance with international law. The resolution also asks the government to increase its humanitarian aid to the refugees, to keep a watch on the respect of human rights in the contested territories of Western Sahara and to intervene with Morocco and the Polisario over the liberation of prisoners of war, in accordance with the peace plan. (fultext Italian)
On 31 October next, the executive of the presidency of the Senate Committeeon Foreign Affairs, enlarged to include representatives from the parliamentary groups, will meet President Abdelaziz, Secretary General off the Polisario Front.
UNHCR - WFP
That humanitarian aid to the Saharawi refugees is not diverted, but is insufficient, was affirmed in Geneva by the UN High Commission for Refugees (HCR) and the World Food Program, putting the lie to Moroccan accusations on this subject during the meeting of the executive committee of the HCR. The spokesperson of the WFP in Geneva, Christiane Berthiaume, said the food for Saharawi refugees is not subject to diversions. "If people are hungry today, if in fact we have cases of serious malnutrition, it is not because food stuffs are hijacked, it is because we do not have enough to give them to eat". The HCR only received 1.5 million dollars of the 4.6 million requested for 2002 for these same refugees. "The problem is not at all the diversion of humanitarian aid, but really is the fact that the fund-givers are not giving enough humanitarian aid for these refugees", added Peter Kessler a spokesman for the HCR. The permanent representative of Morocco with the United Nations had denounced, as is done every year, "the systematic diversion" of food aid destined for the Saharawi refugees. (AFP/UNHCR news)
Caravane de ayuda humanitaria del País Vasco para el pueblo saharaui refugiado en Tinduf (Argelia): Salida el domingo 29 de Septiembre.
12.10.02, Scandicci, Prov. di Firenze, Dibattito: Saharawi una Repubblica in esilio. Ore 17, sala Consiglio communale.
>> DIVISIONES QUE CONOCIÓ EL SAHARA DESDE EL SIGLO XV, B. Ahmed Mohamed
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