WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 35-36 : 27.08.-09.09.2006

original french

SADR

01-03.09.06, South Africa
Invited by the South African government, a Saharawi delegation participated in the first senior officials meeting of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP) in Durban. This meeting follows the summit which met in 2005 in Indonesia on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Bandung conference. Morocco could not stop SADR from taking part, despite the support of certain Arab countries and Senegal. The Saharawi ambassador Oubbi Bouchraya welcomed the positive neutrality of participating Asian countries and expressed the gratitude of the Saharawi people to South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya as well as to the Southern Africa Development Community, SADC, for their “brotherly and unconditional” support for the just cause of the Saharawi people expressed in the course of debates. [SPS]

06.09.06, humanitarian crisis
The UNHCR will dispatch an envoy to negotiate with the Saharawi about the humanitarian aid going to the refugees near Tindouf which was massively reduced recently. [see week 31-32/2006]
The Saharawi ambassador in Algeria, Mohamed Yeslem Beyssat, described as “Machiavellian” the attempt to put pressure on the Saharawis through this means: “if the aid is cut to the Saharawis, they will go and ask alms from the King”. He added that “the Saharawis did not come to Algeria because they were hungry, but because they are a proud people and ready to eat anything rather than abandon their legitimate rights...”. He recalled that international law forbids “the use of food as an arm for political ends and to put pressure on the refugees to make them accept the autonomy proposal”.  [ El Khabar, Algiers, 06.09.06,
english

07.09.06, Ecuador
Hach Achmed, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of SADR, presented his credentials to the Ecuadorian Minister for Foreign Affairs.

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

Demonstrations and arrests continue in El Ayoun, over the night of 25 to 26 August, and from 30 to 31 August and 8 September, followed by several arrests. Demonstrations also in Smara on 27 August. In Foum El Oued three arrests on 27 August. Ali Mohamed Tacloubet was imprisoned in the Black Prison. Distribution of leaflets and flags in Zak, Boujdour and Tan-Tan are reported, where brutalities were committed to a family whose house was ransacked on 26 August.

Exactions imposed against families for their supposed independentist sympathies. Saharawis going to Mauritania are suspected of espionage for the Polisario. Thus a family returning from Mauritania was arrested and mistreated by the police on 30 August. Exchanges through Mauritania have probably increased following the blockage by Morocco of the UNHCR-organised family exchange visits.
A shop keeper, El Haiba Mohamed Mahmoud El Mah, known for his political opinions, was expelled from El Ayoun with his family on 31 August.  Aminatou Haidar’s two children have not obtained a passport to enable them to join their mother abroad.

In the prisons, both in the occupied territories and in Morocco, new attempts at assassination of Saharawi activists have taken place, such as an attack in Kenitra on Salek Laaseri on 24.08.06. In the Black Prison,
El Hafed Toubali was the victim of an assassination attempt on 30.08.06, the attackers were the two policemen found guilty of the assassination of Lembarki Hamdi, the first martyr of the intifada on 30 October 2005. Previously Lehmam Salama Brahim Mouloud, detained in the prison of Inzegan, had been stabbed at the end of June and on the night of 24 to 25 August, Mohamed Salem Mohamed Yeslem Bahaha, Mohamed Mouloud Gemid Elhaj et Abdeslam Kasem Dida were attacked by fellow common law detainees.

Hunger Strikes
Hunger strikes are multiplying: in Kenitra
Laaseri Salek snd Ameidane Saleh since 26.07.06, in Tiznit Mahmoud M'Barek Abou El Ghassem, Mohamed Bouanan and Abdeljalil Moujahid since 29.07.06, in Aït Melloul Loumadi Saaid  since 07.08.06.
In the Black Prison 18 political prisoners decided on an unlimited hunger strike from 4 September. In Inzegan and Ait Melloul 14 political prisoners fasted on 30.08. and 31.08.06 in solidarity with the other detainees. 11 have been on an unlimited strike since 7 September, to denounce the “deplorable and inhumane policy carried out by Morocco against them”. These people were arrested following their public declarations in favour of the independence of Western Sahara and the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence.  [plus]
[ASVDH [SPS]
The Saharawi former political prisoner Sidi Mohamed Aalouate started a 48-hour hunger strike as a protest at being abducted on 31 August, he and his brother Hamza. The two Saharawis were tortured by GUS agents and DST agents who abandoned them outside the town of El Ayoun.
[ASVDH]

05.09.06, Trial
Very heavy sentences were handed down in Agadir:
Hassan Abdallah was sentenced to 6 years in prison, he had been arrested on 15 February 2006 in El Ayoun. Labyad Hamdi was sentenced to 3 years in prison, Sid'Ahmed Rgueibi and Moustapha Bakrimi to one year in prison. The three had been arrested in Goulimine on 6 February 2006.

06.09.06, Trial
El Ayoun’s court of appeal postponed to a later date the sentencing of the Saharawi political prisoner,
Choubida Laroussi. Choubida entered the court room making a victory sign and chanting slogans for the “immediate withdrawal” of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara and calling for the respect of human rights. Responding to a question from the judge on his identity, Choubida Laroussi affirmed "I am Saharawi and I defend the right of my people to self-determination and independence”. He rejected all the accusations drawn up against him. He was arrested on 19 March 2006 in Dakhla and transferred to the Black Prison. [SPS]

Appeals follow one another thick and fast, coming from Saharawi individuals or associations, condemning the attacks on human rights and demanding the intervention of the UN and human rights organisations: the former political prisoner, Bouamoud on 29.08., the Saharawi Committee for the referendum on 03.09, the Saharawi Association of Victims of Serious Human Rights Violations committed by the Moroccan state on 4 September, the Boujdour branch of the same association on 5 September. Added to these is the urgent appeal of the OMCT
[français  [espanol]  as well as a statement of the Association of Saharawi Families of Prisoners and Disappeared (AFAPREDESA) and the Union of Saharawi Lawyers (UJS).

NATURAL RESOURCES

Pillage of phosphate
The vessel Navios Astra (Bulkcarrier) is currently 28.08.06 in the harbour of Freemantle,
Australia, discharging phosphates.
 Arrived from El Ayoun  approx. 25 August 2006. Agent: Inchcape Shipping Services
The vessel Mary H is about to arrive Port of Napier, New Zealand. Estimated Time of Arrival: Oct 8th, 2006, from El Ayoun, with fertilisers
Agent: SMS. Continuing towards: Lyttleton, NZ, on Oct 9th.

REFERENDUM

04.09.06,
On the eve of the tour of the personal representative of the UN Secretary General, Peter Van Walsum to Western Sahara, Morocco and SADR, the Saharawi ambassador in Algiers, Mohamed Yeslem Beissat, declared that he saw no purpose in a new mandate for MINURSO beyond 31 October next, if it is not to take the peace process and decolonization of Western Sahara further.

06.09.06, visit of van Walsum
The Saharawi Prime Minister, Abdelkader Taleb Oumar received Peter Van Walsum in Chahid ElHafed (the refugee camps). At the end of the meeting, Mhamed Khaddad, Saharawi coordinator with MINURSO, declared that the visit of Van Walsum, the second of the kind since his appointment, comes within the context of consultations of the parties a few weeks away from the presentation of his interim report to the Security Council. “We reiterated to him the attachment of the Saharawi people to their inalienable right to self-determination through a free, democratic and fair referendum”, and recalled that “any solution beyond the prescribed framework is doomed to failure”. The human rights abuses in the occupied territories were also brought up, as well as the enlargement of MINURSO’s prerogatives, in order to guarantee “the protection of defenceless Saharawi civilians”,  Mhamed Khaddad specified.
The Algerian authorities apparently refused to receive the personal representative of Kofi Annan, who went on to visit Mauritania and Spain.

06.09.1991-06.09.2006, 15 years of cease-fire
The chronology of the news
1991 - 1994 (so-called “Reflets” , published by ARSO in hard copy at the time) is now accessible (in French)
<http://www.arso.org/01-arch.htm
>.

06.09.06
The Spanish Ambassador with the United Nations, Juan Antonio Yánez-Barnuevo, in a statement to Europa Press, warned of the risk of the cease-fire between Morocco and the Polisario Front breaking, if the search for a solution makes no progress.

08.09.06, Madrid
The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, carried out a visit to Madrid. The Sahara issue is on the agenda of discussions between the UN diplomat and the head of the Spanish government, Zapatero.

MOROCCO

04.08.06
In order to prevent infiltration by fundamentalist elements, the King of Morocco decided to abolish compulsory military service. This decision was confirmed by the government on 31.08.06. A relationship with the discovery of a plot implicating the military (see week 33/34)?

01.09.06, nuclear
The Russian nuclear giant, Atomstroiexport is allegedly a candidate for the construction of the first Moroccan nuclear reactor for the production of energy. A Moroccan delegation met, on 30 August 2006 in Moscow, representatives of the Russian Federation’s agency for nuclear energy and those of three companies operating in this field: Atomstroiexport, TVEL and Rosenergoatom. The construction of the Moroccan reactor would be due to begin in 2016 or 2017.

04-05.09.06, visit of P. van Walsum
The Moroccan Prime Minister, Driss Jettou received in Rabat the personal representative of the UN Secretary General for the Sahara, Peter van Walsum. "We discussed the question of the Sahara in detail”, he declared to the press after the meeting. The President of the Royal Consultative Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS), Khalihenna Ould Errachid, as well as leaders of the political parties had talks with van Walsum the next day.

06-07.09.06, Russian official visit
The Russian President Putin went to Morocco for the first time “at the invitation of the King of Morocco”. The official spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made it clear that Russia had pronounced itself in favour of “an acceptable political solution, under the aegis of the United Nations on the question of the Sahara”. According the news agency Novosti, several businessmen accompanied Vladimir Putin. Andreï Maslov, from the news company Af-Ro, declared that “Morocco could also offer to Gazprom to invest in its oil fields in Western Sahara, however, these investments would be very risky, given that the status of this region has not been settled yet”. Several agreements of bilateral cooperation were concluded on the occasion of the visit, the most important being “the joint Declaration on the strategic partnership between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Russian Federation”.

Postponements
The meeting of the President of the Spanish government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero with the King of Morocco, first due at the beginning of September and postponed until 14 September has been postponed again to the end of September for reasons connected to the King’s diary, according to official sources. The coordination of Spanish solidarity associations is collecting signatures for an open letter to Zapatero, asking him to commit in favour of the respect of international law.

SOLIDARITY

28.08.06, Santander
Demonstration outside the Palacio de la Magdalena, where a session of the university summer school, UIMP, was taking place devoted to 50 years of Spanish-Moroccan cooperation, in the presence of the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Miguel Ángel Moratinos and the president of the European parliament Josep Borrel. The demonstrators’ placards express their concern about the human rights violations by Morocco in Western Sahara and call for the implementation of the referendum. Fearing to face up to this peaceful contestation, the VIPs entered by a back door.

29.08.06, Venezuela
A Venezuelan association of solidarity with the Saharawi people was born in Caracas, in the course of a meeting in the seat of the Latin American parliament. It is made up of students, university professors, members of parliament and representatives of civil society. The association called for both governmental and non-governmental international organisations to intervene “with the utmost urgency” to protect Saharawi civilians in the occupied territories of Western Sahara against the “ferocious repression” of the Moroccan forces of occupation. SPS

01-03.09.06, Portugal
The Saharawi Minister for Cooperation, Salek Baba and the Polisario Front representative in Portugal, Mohamed Lamine Abdelahe, took part in the annual "festa do avante !" of the Portuguese Communist party in Lisbon, where a stand presented Saharawi culture.

02.09.06, Bilbao
Several hundred people took part in a demonstration in favour of self-determination in Western Sahara called by the Coordinadora 27 de Febrero Euskadi-Sahara.

COMING UP...

04-12.09.06, Lleida
Exposición de los pintores saharauis Fadel Jalifa y Mohamed Moulud, dentro del marco de La Feria de Sant Bartomeu d'Artesa de Segre en Lleida. El 4 de septiembre se inagurará la exposición de ambos pintores en el Centro Cultural y de Congresos Lauredià de Andorra, organizada por la Asociación de Amigos Solidarios con el Pueblo Saharaui del Principado de Andorra.

09.09.06, Cadiz
La Asociación Amal-Esperanza (Cádiz) organiza una cena espectaculo para recaudar fondos para la campaña « Caravana por la Paz 2007 ». La cena, organizada con la colaboración de la Peña « EL NITRI », se celebrará el día 9 de septiembre en el local de la Peña en la calle Diego Niño. En el espectáculo contamos al cante con Paco Bonilla, al toque con Joaquin Albert, y tendrá lugar la presentación de la cantaora Sofia Sanchez. Infos : http://www.amalesperanza.org/

11-16.09.06, XIVe sommet des pays non alignés à La Havane.

12.09.06, Madrid: Presentación del documental "vidas en pausa" 12:00 horas
mesa redonda 12:25 horas, Forum de fnac Callao Madrid
Infos : ymoya@cje.org

14.09.06, Washington, D.C.
Reception honoring Aminatou Haidar, Sahrawi Human Rights Activist, Former Disappeared and Survivor of Morocco's “Black Prison” on Thursday, September 14, 2006, 6-8 pm , B-354 Rayburn House Office Building, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
Org. : U.S.-Western Sahara Foundation (a project of the Defense Forum Foundation)
RSVP (acceptances only) by email to skswm[at]aol.com;
ph: 703-534-4313 or fax:703-538-6149.

19.09.06, Alger
A l'occasion de la célébration du 48e anniversaire de la création du Gouvernement provisoire de la République algérienne (GPRA), une rencontre de soutien à la RASD et à la résistance civile dans les territoires occupés du Sahara occidental" sera organisée par le Comité algérien de soutien au peuple sahraoui. Au cours du ramadhan prochain, une caravane humanitaire de solidarité avec le peuple sahraoui est prévue. Le CNASPS comprend l'ONM, l'Organisation nationale des moudjahidine, l'Organisation nationale des enfants de chouhadas (martyrs) et les scouts musulmans algériens. [SPS]

23.09.06, expedición de voluntarios de la Organización Juvenil Española con destino a los campamentos de refugiados saharauis de Tinduf. Su objetivo es llevar 7.000 juguetes y 7 ludotecas a los niños y niñas exiliados en la hamada. Más información en el blog  y en la web de la Fundación "Crecer Jugando"

04-05.10.06, New York, audition de pétitionnaires sur la question du Sahara Occidental lors de la réunion de la quatrième commission de l'ONU.

INTERNET

Docs

Archives ARSO 

Website

Images

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

Sahara, 17/2006
Rivista internazionale di preistoria e storia del Sahara - International review of prehistory and history of the Sahara - Revue internationale de préhistoire et histoire du Sahara, Segrate, Italia.
abstracts - résumés

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


Deutsch
- Sahara Info Nr. 99, August 2006, Bulletin des SUKS, Bern.
- IT-Net Austria errichtet elektronisches Nationalarchiv. Entwicklungsprojekt in der Westsahara - Österreichisches Netzwerk liefert Lösung, Pressetext Austria, 29.08.06.

Italiano
Attualità in italiano: El Ouali Bologna  + Radio for Peace

Arabe
Assahifa, 28.07.06-03.08.06, p. 20, Interview de Philip Luther,chargé du  Maghreb de Amnesty international .

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