WESTERN SAHARA

NEWS

original french

OCTOBER , WEEKS 40 - 44

28.09.-31.10.2003

 

SADR

06.10.03
SADR - Cuba
The President of the Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, received the new Cuban ambassador, Roberto Blanco Dominguez, who presented his credentials as ambassador extraordinary and plenipoteniary from the Republic of Cuba for SADR. (SPS)

14.10.03
Natural Resources
The director of the Anglo-Australian company Fusion Oil & Gas NL presented to Mohamed Abdelaziz the results of a survey of oil exploration in Western Sahara.
John Taylor expressed his satisfaction in the results obtained and declared himself ready to continue to cooperate with SADR. A representative of the British company, Premier, which has recently become associated with the cooperation agreement signed by SADR and Fusion, attended the meeting. Fusion Oil & Gas NL concluded on 26 May 2002, an exclusive agreement of technical cooperation with the SADR government.

XIth General Congress of the POLISARIO FRONT - 12-19.10.03

12.10.03  Opening
Held in Tifariti, in the liberated territories, with the theme "Struggle and unity for independence and peace" the congress was dedicated to the martyr M'Beirik Labeid Brahim. It is the first time since its foundation that the Saharawi movement has held its congress in the liberated territories. About 1400 delegates of wilayas, institutions as well as the diaspora took part, as well as two hundred foreign guests from Algeria, South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Namibia, Libya, Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, USA, Australia etc. representatives of governments, political parties, parliamentary groups, NGOs, trades unions, etc.
13.10.03  Abdelaziz's speech
The President of the Republic, in his opening speech, called on the international community to assume its responsibilities in the face of Morocco's intransigence. He pointed out that the Polisario Front will cooperate fully with the latest Baker Plan, while remaining attached to the initial settlement plan which was accepted by the two parties and endorsed by the international community. "The new Baker Plan is not a definitive solution to the conflict, but it is a basis for a new process", he added.
14.10.03 , Committees, debates, ...
Four committees: finance, chaired by Khattri Adouh,  national action program, chaired by Abdallahi Lehbib,  internal affairs and SADR's Constitution, chaired by Hamadi Salma and finally letters and motions chaired by Senia Ahmed Merhba. Debates were concentrated within the working groups on the reasons which led the Polisario Front to accept the latest Baker Plan and on the international guarantees needed to implement this proposal.
With great emotion the plenary heard an intervention by telephone from the Saharawi political prisoner Ali Salem Tamek speaking from his prison cell in Morocco.
15.10.03
Reports of the committees on finance and internal organisation of the Polisario Front and the constitution of the Saharawi Republic.
After intense discussion, members of the congress backed the decision of the Polisario Front to accept the Baker Plan. But they demanded that the Polisario Front ensure they have adequate international safeguards to render this process viable. The delegates criticised the management of education, health, food and administration.
16.10.03
Reports of the Committees on the program of national action and that of the resolutions and motions. The program notably recommends the strengthening and development of the army's capacity, and calls on Saharawi people wherever they may be to redouble their vigilance, to gather their ranks and to maintain cohesion so that no defiance passes unnoticed in this crucial stage of the struggle for the recovery of independence and freedom.
17.10.03       
Election of the Secretary General
The XIth congress votes Mohamed Abdelaziz back to the post of Secretary General of the Polisario Front with 92% votes. Four candidates stood for election.
18-19.10.03
Election of the National Secretariat
The National Secretariat enlarged to 41 members by the addition of 12 people from the occupied territories is elected in two stages. See the composition of the new leadership body of the Polisario Front:
list
Closure of the Congress.
In its final statement, the XIth Congress of the Polisario Front calls upon the international community to "make Morocco return to international legitimacy" and to implement "with the greatest urgency" the peace plan drawn up by James Baker. It reaffirms its choice "for peace and international law". It considers that its acceptance of the Baker Plan "has had positive consequences" and allowed "the position of the Polisario Front on the international stage to be reinforced". It decides to mobilise all possible means to raise awareness in international opinion on the situation in the occupied territories of Western Sahara and to work together with international organisations to put an end to all forms of oppression aimed at Saharawi populations living there.

DOCUMENTS - special Congress website of SPS.

History

Photos

  • Intervention of the AFAPREDESA and the Union of Saharawi Lawyers
  • Documents sent out by the Congress (French):
    • Lettre au Président de l'Union Africaine, S.E.M. Alpha Omar Konare
    • Lettre au Comité International de la Croix Rouge (CICR)
    • Lettre à la Coordination Européenne de Soutien au Peuple Sahraoui
    • Lettre à S.E.M. Jacques Chirac, Président de la République Française

27.10.03
African Union
The President of the Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz received Ambassador Tedesa, bearer of a message from the President of the African Commission, Alpha Omar Konaré. SADR, founding member of the African Union, was being asked to ratify the "Protocol setting up the Council of Peace and Security" of the AU. (SPS)

29.10.03
New government
Mohamed Abdelaziz appointed a new government. Abdelkader Taleb Oumar is replacing Bouchraya Beyoun as Prime Minister. He is a member of the National Secretariat and was wali of Smara for four years. He has several times served as minister.
The new team:
Four new ministers: Bachir Moustapha Sayed Minister of Education, El Khalil Sidi M'Hamed Minister of Occupied Territories and Emigration, Babiya Chiia Minister of Transport, Abdelkader Hamada Selma Minister of Justice.
Several changes: Mohamed Lamine Dedi moves from Transport to the Interior, Salek Bobih from Education to Equipment and Boullahi Said, President of the Saharawi Red Crescent, becomes Minister of Health.
One notes further two new ministers as counsellors to the presidency, Malainin Sadigh and Ahmedou Souelem, the creation of two secretaries of state, one responsible for the civil service devolves to Chaibani Abas, the other responsible for social welfare and the emancipation of women, is taken on by Mafouda Mohamed Rahal, as well as the creation of a General Secretariat of Government, with Moulay Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed at its head.
Meanwhile, the President of the Republic has designated a new President of the Constitutional Council in the person of M. Mohamed Bouzeid, former minister of justice. (SPS) ( >>
list )

REFERENDUM

58th session of the UN General Assembly
29.09.03-01.10.03
General Debate
In the context of the general debate, representatives of several countries (among others Timor Leste, Angola, Mauritania, Tanzania, Namibia, Lesotho, Honduras) spoke of the necessity of decolonising Western Sahara in their interventions.

07-11.10.03
Fourth Commission - Commission on special political questions and decolonisation
As every year, Western Sahara appeared on the agenda. The majority of delegations expressed themselves in favour of the latest peace plan proposed by Mr James Baker. The 14 Caribbean countries (CARICOM) appealed for its rapid implementation, and the 19 countries comprising the Rio Group (GR) asked Morocco to abide by international law by implementing UN decisions on the subject of decolonisation.
After a detailed speech on the development of the situation by Polisario Front representative Mouloud Said, several European parliamentarians and NGO representatives spoke. (See
UN press statements and some complete interventions - Complete declaration of the Polisario Front representative at the UN, SPS engl. )

16.10.03
Resolution
The 4th Commission adopts by consensus a resolution which underlines the importance of the Baker Plan seeking an optimal political solution to the conflict. The resolution, presented by 28 countries, is expressed in the terms of Resolution 1495 adopted by the Security Council on 30 June this year. (
A/C.4/58/L.6)

20.10.03
UN Secretary General's Report
S/2003/1016 of 16.10.03
Kofi Annan proposes to the Security Council to extend MINURSO's mandate by three months, at the request of Morocco, that is until 31 January 2004. The new
Baker plan, which foresees the holding of a referendum to determine the final status of Western Sahara after a transitional period of autonomy, was accepted by the Polisario Front on 6 July, while Morocco has not changed its opposition. Kofi Annan "invites Morocco to seize this opportunity and to participate in a constructive manner in the process by accepting the plan and implementing it." He hopes to receive the response of Morocco before the end of the year.
The Secretary General indicates that the ICRC questioned, in the territory from 27-29 May, four persons who figure on the list of disappeared of the Polisario Front. He appeals to Morocco and to the Polisario to continue to cooperate with the ICRC to find the disappeared.
Concerning the Saharawi refugees, Annan mentions that the World Food Program expects food shortages between now and the end of December in the absence of new contributions. There has been some progress in the implementation of confidence-building measures (communications by post and telephone and family visits), but they have still not actually happened.

23.10.03
European Parliament
The European Parliament Intergroup "Peace for the Saharawi people" gives its support to the observations and recommendations of Kofi Annan and asks Morocco to respect the international law, represented in the resolutions by the United Nations Security Council, in particular the Resolution 1495. Concerning the French position, the Intergroup states that "France must respect its compromises and obligations as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and honestly support the implementation of the Baker plan. (
Press release )

23.10.03
Germany
The parliamentary group of the Liberal-Democrat party (FDP) and 27 members of parliament submitted a petition to the German parliament asking the government to take initiatives immediately within the Security Council for the implementation of the Baker Plan, to press Morocco to accept this plan and to take steps with European partners to get them to act in the same direction. The petition asks also for funds to be made available to the WFP and UNHCR for the refugees, for the speeding up of the repatriation plan for the refugees and for Germany to take part in MINURSO. The parliamentarians also ask for guarantees to the Polisario Front on the holding of the referendum within the time-scale allowed and according to the criteria laid down by the UN Identification Commission.

Morocco: The publication of Annan's report provokes many reactions of rejection:
Morocco has rejected as "erroneous" the interpretation of the Council's Resolution as contained in the recent report of UN Secretary general, as well as any attempt to impose a solution in the dispute without the agreement of the involved parties. This came in a letter addressed by Morocco's representative to the UN, Mohamed Bennouna, to the chairman of the Security Council, American Ambassador John D. Negroponte, prior to the debate on the Sahara issue.
14 Moroccan political parties have expressed refusal of the referendum in the Sahara proposed by UN secretary general's personal envoy, James Baker, saying "it is a serious escalation in an artificial conflict", rather than "a peaceful solution to a regional conflict".
Morocco voiced astonishment at the conclusions contained in the UN secretary general's latest report on the Sahara and "rejects its recommendations", the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation said in a release. Morocco deplores the fact that James Baker has failed to comply with the Security Council's resolution that called parties to work together and cooperate with the UN to move towards a mutually acceptable political settlement, the release goes. The report's conclusions do not correspond to the provisions of resolution 1495, adopted by the Security Council on July 30th, 2003, nor to the expectations of the whole international community.

The Moroccan press :
"L'opinion" urges Annan to observe a duty of neutrality and abstain from contradicting the will of the Security council members and the international community. For "Assabah", Baker has played a negative role in the quest of a solution that would guarantee stability in the region and Morocco's sovereignty over its territories. "Al Ittihad Al Ichtiraki" blames Annan for making a step backward in the gains achieved by the international community. "Al Ahdath Al Maghribya" notes the "two-standard policy" and the partial attitude of the UN secretary general who is trying to impose a solution on Morocco. "Liberation" says "it is a dangerous initiative". For "Le Matin du Sahara et du Maghreb" the report is an unscrupulous deviation from the UN charter and a source of general indignation in Morocco. "Aujourd'hui le Maroc" comments that Annan's report "contains seeds of a dangerous deviation in the process for a fair and lasting solution since it reflects a biased attitude that contradicts UN principles". Annan's attitude was described as "curious" and "biased" by "La Nouvelle Tribune".

24.10.03
Pedro Canales writes in the Madrid daily, La Razon, that, under pressure from the army, Morocco is in search of an "alternative plan" to Baker's plan. A "crisis cabinet" is alleged to have met in Rabat to evaluate the situation. It is thought to have adopted a resolution, in the absence of the king and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, whose consequences would be serious, according to the journalist. The army is apparently not satisfied with the way in which the diplomats are handling the question, and is demanding active participation in the search for a solution to the conflict.  

25.10.03
RASD
The Polisario Front reacts in a statement to Morocco's refusal to be subject to United Nations decisions, by asking for the admission of SADR to the UN as a member, should it happen that Rabat succeeds in sabotaging for an nth time the settlement plan which the international community is expecting to be implemented in Western Sahara.

25.10.03
USA
"With regard to the issue of Western Sahara, I simply want to emphasise the American policy of continued support for the efforts of the U.N. Secretary General and his special envoy James Baker,"Burns, Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Near Eastern affairs, told a news conference during a two-day visit to Algiers. Burns said the United States would continue to encourage dialogue between Morocco and Algeria, but that it would not seek to impose a solution on anyone. "We hope the United States takes appropriate measures as soon as possible to ensure Morocco accepts the Security Council resolution and implements the Baker plan for the good of the Maghreb region," declares Mohamed Yeslem Beissat, the Polisario Front's ambassador to Algeria.

25.10.03
"Lobbying"
According to the Algerian Arabic language daily El Khabar, "Moroccan intelligence, backed by diplomatic channels and with direct financing from the special funds of the [Moroccan] royal palace, is waging a savage campaign targeting European human [rights] organizations to tarnish Algeria and Polisario's image and demanding a halt to humanitarian aid to Saharan refugees in Tindouf.
Moroccan intelligence is using a group of Saharans, who were former middle-ranking officials in the Polisario They are  presented to humanitarian aid organizations as representatives of non-governmental organizations under the name of "human rights organizations group in the Sahara". This is an attempt to divert attention from the impasse that Rabat has found itself in, following the UN secretary-general's warning about the need for it to agree to Baker's proposal by the end of this year."

28.10.03
USA
Richard Boucher, State Department Spokesman, in his Daily Press Briefing: «Our basic view, I think, remains the same, that we support the efforts of the Secretary General and his personal envoy, Mr. James Baker, and their peace plan for self-determination for the people of the Western Sahara. We believe the Baker plan provides a fair basis on which to move forward towards resolving this dispute, and we've urged the parties in neighboring states to seize the opportunity presented by the plan, and cooperate closely and actively with the Secretary General and his personal envoy to move the process forward. So, that's where we stand going into these meetings.»

28.10.03
Security Council Resolution
S/res/1513 (2003)
Security Council extends MINURSO mandate of UN mission in Western Sahara until January 31  by adopting unanimously Resolution 1513 on the recommendation of the Secretary-General to accede to a request from Morocco to give it more time to reflect and consult on the new peace plan (Baker Plan II) the POLISARIO Front had accepted in July. (
Press Release SC/7906 )

29.10.03
SADR
In a statement, the head of Saharawi diplomacy emphasises that "Morocco finds itself with the weighty responsibility of  choosing between the way of law and peace and that of intransigence and delaying tactics leading to instability and confrontation". Ould Salek appealed to the Security Council and the international community to "deploy efforts and to use all means during these three months to force Morocco to submit to international law.
"The Polisario Front considers that the pliability of the UN gives comfort to Morocco in its intransigence at the same time as it erodes the credibility of the international Organisation, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, declared. (SPS)

29.10.03
XXII Congress of the Socialist International, São Paulo Brazil
The SI expresses its support to the UN process and the resolution 1495 in order to achieve the self-determination of the people in Western Sahara and calls all the parties to cooperate with the UN and, in particular, with the efforts of the Secretary General of the United Nations, as reflected in the latest report of his plan. (
Resolution )

OCCUPIED TERRITORIE

29.09.03
Transfer of civil servants - Further to the news of
weeks 36-39
According to an "
Urgent Appeal to international opinion" of Saharawi human rights defenders, the addition to the list already published should be made of five people illegally transferred from El Ayoun to Morocco. Their names are: Ahmed Khabz Skhoune - moved to Rachidia, Boutazrout Mohamed - moved to El Jadida, Beleghzal Abdlemjid - moved to Azilal, Khaadad Hamadi - moved to Souera, Salek Jamaa - moved to Kalaat Esraghna, Habadi Hamadi - moved to Marrakech, Raybou Abdallah - moved to Zagoura, as well as three teachers from Boujdour: Bougnine Lahcen, trades unionist in the FDT, general supervisor of a college transferred to  Benimellal, Saili Mohamed, trades unionist in the FDT and member of the former FVJSAH (Forum for Truth and Justice Sahara Section) and general supervisor at a college moved to Benguerir, Lakhal Mohamed Salem, member of the former FVJSAH and of the local branch of the GSU, transferred to Safi.
Four teachers from Assa have apparently also been transferred.
Four Moroccan activists, members of trades unions and NGOs and left-wing parties, GSU and Annahj Addimoucrati, have also been moved to Moroccan towns.
Human rights defenders speak of about fifty teachers working in different towns of Western Sahara and southern Morocco, transferred to towns in the interior of Morocco in flagrant violation of the rules governing transfers within the Moroccan Ministry of education. They are asking the government to annul all these decisions immediately.

The Moroccan weekly Tel Quel headlines on 9 October : "Do they want to move witnesses out of the way?" and concludes : "Briefly, with less than one month to go before the final settlement of the question of the Sahara, it seems that "they" may have chosen to get out of the way the only people capable of informing civil society of what could be going to happen on the ground".

16 and 17.10.03
Saharawi and Moroccan teachers abusively transferred to Moroccan towns organised a sit-in outside the Ministry of National Education and Youth in Rabat. They stayed in Rabat waiting to be received by the Minister of the Interior as they had been promised.
Teachers from Western Sahara under Moroccan control as well as those from southern Morocco held a one-day strike in solidarity with their comrades.

Rafto prize-winner for 2002, Mohamed Daddach, sent his congratulations to Mrs Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize winner of 2003, was awarded the Rafto prize in 2001. The former Saharawi political prisoner, as well as two of his friends were summoned by the DST on 11 October, who warned them orally not to go to Smara, threatening them with being expelled from Western Sahara or brought before the law.
Meanwhile Mohamed Daddach launches an appeal for Ali Salem Tamek, whose state of health is seriously affected by his conditions of detention and his successive hunger strikes.

21.10.03
Trials
A committee of Spanish lawyers denounced in a press conference in Madrid the repeated violations of fundamental rights in occupied Western Sahara and the frequent lack of respect of the principles of law and the presumption of innocence, the abuse of preventative prison, etc. The committee was made up of the president of the General Bar Council of Spain, the president of its Human Rights Committee and a member of the delegation which attended trials of Saharawi political prisoners. The report points out "the flagrant violations of the norms of the Moroccan penal code" during the nine trials the committee attended in El Ayoun, involving 29 people. The report also notes the attempts to disguise the political character of these trials to make it appear that they concern common law offences. (texto completo en
castellano PDF)

27.10.03
At the beginning of October 2003, about a hundred Saharawi graduates from Moroccan universities, unemployed for years, were called, in the context of a job-creation scheme, to posts in the Moroccan civil service. The two first groups called were to take up posts in the courts and national education establishments. But these young Saharawis - both young men and young women - were assigned to jobs in Moroccan towns to the north of Marrakech. No placement was made within the territory of Western Sahara under Moroccan control or in the towns of southern Morocco "heavily populated with Saharawis" such as Goulimine, Tan Tan, Assa and Tarfaya. Furthermore this operation was reserved exclusively for young Saharawi men and women but dozens of jobs were assigned to young Moroccan unemployed graduates on the pretext that they lived in the territory of Western Sahara under Moroccan control which is not the case for any of them.
It is clearly a case of a policy aiming to empty the territory of its young inhabitants, especially well-educated ones, and to modify its long term demography, in violation of the law.

HUMAN RIGHTS

09.10.03
Two Amnesty International delegates will visit Morocco and Western Sahara next week (AI Index: AFR 05/005/2003) to investigate allegations off torture of political and islamist prisoners or those active in favour of independence for Western Sahara.

15.10.03
POWs
The Algerian daily, El Watan tells of the testimony of one of 66 Saharawi prisoners released on 30 October 1996 "I spent three years wearing the same combat suit in which I was arrested", records Saïd Ibrahim Moulay Zine, president of the group of 66 Saharawi prisoners of war, imprisoned for 17 years. "They chained us in irons, blindfolded us and forced us to undergo long and testing sessions of interrogation and torture", he testified. "A treatment which the Moroccan regime reserved for over 200 Saharawi prisoners". "I remained for over 7 months in a narrow cell in complete darkness, I only saw the guard who came and threw food to us once a day", the ex-prisoner recalled, adding ironically : "Periodically they would come and suggest asking for the King's pardon, but we replied each time that we were not criminals and that we did not recognise ourselves as subjects of the Kingdom." According to Saïd Ibrahim Moulay Zine, there are still 121 prisoners of war in Moroccan prisons.

28.10.03
Tamek
A delegation of the Consultative Council of Human Rights (CCDH), official body charged by the king to deal with problems of human rights abuses, visited Ali Salem Tamek  in his prison of Aït Melloul. The Saharawi political prisoner expounded on his demands and his actions (hunger strikes, letters to the Minister of Justice, etc>) and handed a dossier to the members of the committee.  The president of the delegation promised he would get an official response.

MOROCCO

17.09.03
A Royal Gendarmerie patrol in the locality of Tighmert (an oasis to the south-east of Goulimine, in southern Morocco) proceeded to the arrest of Saber Tamdaoui ould Mohamed Lembarek, 30 years of age. The police are at present trying to intimidate young farmers of Saharawi origin in this region. Saber was tortured, accused of having attacked a person in authority and sent before the magistrate's court in Goulimine, which sentenced him to two months in prison.
Tighmert is the largest oasis in the whole of Western Sahara, in the heart of Noun Wadi, above an artesian well the size of which has only become known in recent years. The region has become the new Eldorado of big property holders and agricultural landowners, notably from the region of Houara (to the south of Marrakech, between Haouz and Souss) and of Ouled Tayma in the Souss (between Agadir and Taroudant). Saharawi farmers feel threatened, but they lack the means and modern know-how to compete. Some are obliged to rent their land to these people to survive. We are seeing now a growing awareness among young Saharawis who are asking questions about the falsification of history by Morocco, about the impact of the conflict in Western Sahara and about discrimination against them. Saber's brother is one of the rare people who dared to say in front of the MINURSO identification commission that the information presented by the Moroccan authorities about him was false. (corr.)

29.09.03
Bernard Petit, head of OCRTIS (Central Office for the repression of illegal drug traffic), giving evidence to a French Senate commission of inquiry declared: "Honesty drives me to say that 85%, even 90% of cannabis resin intercepted in all countries of Europe comes from Morocco. Morocco is the greatest producer of cannabis resin for the whole of Europe. This represents about 2,000 tonnes of resin produced in Morocco - some would go as far as saying 3,000 tonnes - and the Moroccan authorities only recognise 1,750. It is huge. Between 600 to 700 tonnes are seized in Europe and 1000 tonnes therefore evaporate and pass through all the filters. Morocco really is a problem in regard to the traffic in cannabis resin." (Sahara-Info)

03.10.2003
In an
interview for the weekly Tel Quel, Abraham Serfaty declares that the Baker plan "is an acceptable plan if a few amendments are made. To reject it is an irresponsible act."

09-11.10.03
Official trip of French president Jacques Chirac to Morocco - declarations about Western Sahara:
In an interview to MAP Bureau in Paris prior to his state visit , the French president insisted on a "political, realistic and lasting" solution to the Sahara dispute "which takes into account Morocco's interests and regional stability". "We make a plea for a political, realistic and lasting solution that takes fully into account the interests of Morocco and the regional stability", insisted the French president who considered it "important that discussions (between the two parties) be carried on in line with resolution 1495 of the (UN) Security Council". Jacques Chirac also admitted that his country, which supports Morocco's stand on the Sahara issue, has a different point of view from that of Algeria which backs the "Polisario", a separatist movement claiming independence of this former Spanish colony. (MAP)
Chirac also reiterated France's support for Morocco on the question of the disputed Western Sahara region. "We supported Morocco" at the UN Security Council in July on resolution 1495, which Chirac said ensures that "no solution can be imposed without the agreement of both parties." "At the next Security Council meeting France will again support Morocco," said Chirac, with the Council expected to take up Western Sahara later this month. (AFP) (more in
French )

17-19.10.03
The Moroccan Forum for Truth and Justice organised a "Caravan of Truth", which was due to go to the secret detention centre of Agdz from 10-12 October, in the province of Ouarzazate. The demonstration having been banned on that date, it was postponed by a week. Several Saharawi former disappeared, from El Ayoun, Smara and Goulimine, as well as several Saharawi human rights defenders took part. Members of the "World network of mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, those close to abducted and disappeared persons" asked the Moroccan authorities, through the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, not to impede the activities of human rights defenders in Morocco. (
Retour à la prison secrète d'Agdz, Isabelle Broz, RadioFranceInternationale, 21.10.03. )

HUMANITARIAN AID

05.10.03
A delegation from an Italian NGO AUSER (Associazione per l'AUtogestione dei SERvizi e la solidarietà, an association promoting active citizenship in solidarity) accompanied by Giuliano Giuliani, the father of the young demonstrator killed on 21 July 2001 during the G8 summit in Genoa, opened a school for 580 children in Dakhla camp financed by the Carlo Giuliani Foundation. (ANSPS)

08.10.03
The German government released 250,000 euros for the Saharawi refugees in Algeria, the German minister of Foreign Affairs announced. (AFP)

SOLIDARITY

29.09.03: Japan
A group of Japanese citizen protested with force against the decision of the government not to invite the SADR, member state of the African Union, to participate to the Third Tokyo International Conference of African Development, TICAD III. They have distributed to the participants an appeal to the Japanese government. (
appel FR, English letter I + letter II)

04.10.03: UK
The British MEP Struan Stevenson (Conservative), chair of the Fisheries Committee in the European Parliament, wrote to the European Commission to ask them to press Morocco to compensate for the pillaging of Saharawi fishing resources. In his letter to Chris Patten, European Commissioner for External Relations, S. Stevenson points out that Morocco has "sold fishing rights in waters belonging to the people of Western Sahara". (SPS

Saharawi Women Visit UK
Khadidja Hamdi and Zahra Ramdan of the National Union of Saharawi Women have recently completed a 19-day tour of the UK.  Their purpose was to gain support for their work promoting the rights of Saharawi women &endash; both as Saharawis in the context of the struggle for self-determination, and as women striving to promote gender equality within Saharawi society.  Starting in London, they spoke at a meeting in the House of Commons on their first full day and rushed around the capital for the next two days meeting NGOs and Trade Union representatives, and being interviewed on the BBC Arabic service. 
Then they were off round the country to attend political party conferences: first to Wales, where they spoke at the Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales) conference and saw the party adopt a resolution supporting the Saharawi people's struggle for self- determination.  Their itinerary took them on to Brighton (Liberal Democrat party conference), Inverness (Scottish National Party conference), Edinburgh (meeting in the Scottish parliament) and Bournemouth (Labour party conference).  A further interview with Zahra was later broadcast on the BBC World Service "Everywoman" programme.
Fringe meetings on Western Sahara took place at every conference, and at the Labour conference they were also able to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair and discuss Western Sahara with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, and the well-known Labour MEP Glenys Kinnock.  They met a great number of other sympathisers from political parties, NGOs, and trade unions and were greatly encouraged by their visit. (WSC)

04.10.03: Italy
Dans le cadre de la 5ème Assemblée de l'ONU des Peuples, la commune de Lerici (Ligurie) a organisé un Forum sur le Sahara Occidental avec la participation du président de l'AFAPREDESA, de la représentante de l'UNFS, du représentant du Front Polisario en Italie et de la présidente de l'Intergroupe parlementaire Margot Kessler, du président de l'ANSPS et de nombreux représentants des administrations locales. Après un débat très animé, le Forum a approuvé une motion de soutien au Plan de paix et d'engagement des intitutions locales. (
Résolution finale - original en italien)

COMING UP...

Vitoria-Gasteiz, 5 al 11 de noviembre de 2003: Encuentro "Mujeres construyendo país, el caso del Sahara Occidental a la luz de la experiencia latinoamericana". Org: Asociación de Amigas y Amigos de la R.A.S.D. y la Asociación Cultural Hikaateneo Elkartea elkartea@saharaelkartea.org >> Mas info

Valencia: 14 de Noviembre a las 21:30 horas: II Concierto Solidario con el Pueblo Saharaui en la Sala República de Valencia. Con los grupos "SAHARA LIBRE y AMPARANOIA. Org: Federació d'Associacions de Solidaritat P.S. emparsor@hotmail.com

Ferrara, Italia: 18 novembre 2003 : Festival dei Diritti, Ferrara, ore 21:00 - Casa Cini: Le donne Saharawi, Sahara Occidentale: Incontro e dibattito con alcune rappresentanti di associazioni di donne Saharawi .

RASD: 20 - 23 de noviembre 2003 : Festival internacional de cine en los campamentos de refugiados saharauis en Tinduf, Un proyecto de la Asociación Amigos del pueblo saharaui, Ministerio de Cultura de la RASD y Media Luna Roja Saharaui (MLRS) Consultar el programa en <http://www.festivalsahara.com>
Vuelos charter:
Vuelo nº 1: Madrid-Tindouf-Madrid, 18.11.03 - 23.11.03
Vuelo nº 2 : Madrid-Tindouf-Madrid, 20.11.03 - 23.11.03
Precio: 500 Euro, Información:
vuelos@festivalsahara.com Telf. 679 356 470

Barcelona: 25 noviembre.- Conferencia sobre la Mujer Saharaui en Cornellà de Llobregat, con la participación de la escritora Anna Tortajada, autora de "Hijas de la Arena", y de una representante de la Unión Nacional de Mujeres Saharauis. Asociación Catalana de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui (ACAPS) colonies@sahara-acaps.org

Vuelo charter:
Desembre 2003, 04-09.12.03 : VOL "Catalunya aamb el Sahara"
Barcelona Prat - Tindouf- Barcelona: 04.12.03 - 09.12.03
Info: ACAPS-CATALUNYA, secció Vilanova i la Geltrú,
acaps_vilanova@yahoo.es

-29th European Conference of Solidarity with the Saharawi People: 5, 6 et 7 décembre 2003, Info, contact: bur.aarasd@wanadoo.fr
Info, contact: mailto:bur.aarasd@wanadoo.fr
>> Flyers, Programme and Pre-registering Formulas in PDF (
english)

FRANCE: 4 au 19 décembre 2003, Musique sahraouie
Tournée en France de Mariem Hassan, Nayim Alal et le groupe de femmes Leyod,
04.12.03, Gonfreville l'Orcher (ECPC),
06.12.03 Le Mans (Palais des Congrès),
07.12.03 Vitry sur Seine (Gymnase Paul Eluard,
08 à 18.12.03 sous réserve Maromme, Achères, Bègles, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Lyon...,
19.12.03 Limoges (théâtre Jean Gagnant)

Vitoria-Gasteiz, Pays Basque: 12-13-14 de diciembre de 2003
IIIe Journées de Coopération Sanitaire avec le Peuple Saharaoui
Organizado por : Coordinación Sanitaria Saharaui en colaboración con el Ministerio de Salud de la RASD que asistirá a las Jornadas con una delegación de expertos.
Secretaría de las III Jornadas: Unai Arribas, Edi Feros, e-mail:
saharasalud@kokia.org, Teléfono: +34 945146490, Fax: +34 945147357
Mas informaciones :
presentación y dossier (PDF)

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