WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 37-38 : 10.09.-23.09.2006

original french

SADR

10.09.06, South Africa
The ANC secretary general for youth, Snuki Zikala, at the celebrations marking the 62nd anniversary of the creation of ANC Youth, renewed the “unconditional support” of the organisation for the legitimate struggle of the Saharawi people for freedom and independence.

11-12.09.06, Latin America
The permanent Conference of political parties of Latin America and the Caribbean, [Conferencia Permanente de Partidos Políticos de América Latina y el Caribe] COPPPAL, , meeting in Managua, expressed itself in favour of the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people and the UN peace plan. They asked the governments of the region to strengthen their diplomatic relations with SADR, represented by the President of the Parliament, Mahfoud Ali Beiba. COPPPAL, created in 1979, brings together 52 political parties.

14.09.06, European Union
Mhamed Khadad, Saharawi coordinator with MINURSO, was received in Brussels by the Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Erkki Tumioja, who reaffirmed the position of his country “for the respect of the right to the Saharawi people to self-determination” and recalled “the interest that his country takes in the respect of human rights in Western Sahara, and the continuance of the exchange program of visits between Saharawi families as well as humanitarian aid to the Saharawi refugees.” Finland is the current President of the EU.

16.09.06, European Union
An ad-hoc delegation from the European Parliament, charged with inquiring into human rights abuses in Western Sahara as an application of  resolution RC6-0561/2005, visits the Saharawi refugee camps. Led by the former Cypriot Foreign Affairs Minister, Joannis Kasoulides, a member of the European Popular Group, the delegation is composed of seven MEPs from different groups.
The Saharawi President rejected, during discussions with the delegation, “any form of negotiations” with the Moroccan government “which are not based on the Settlement Plan (Baker II) or on the Peace Plan for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara”. The delegation will travel, at the beginning of October, to Western Sahara. [SPS]
[resolution RC6-0561/2005 of 27.10.05]

18-21.09.06, South Africa
A SADR delegation and  representatives of the UGTSARIO, Saharawi Trade Union, participated to the 9th Congress of COSATU, the union of south african trade unions. The resolution concerning Western Sahara calls for an increase of the solidarity to the Saharawi people and the Saharawi workers and to continue the support to the anticolonial struggle thy fight against Morrocan occupation.

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

Arrests – violence
Arrests continue, between 8 and 11 September eleven Saharawi citizens were called in for questioning, in some cases following demonstrations, sometimes several times and were violently mistreated. [See testimony of Mohamed Chrif
On 14 four other questionings in El Ayoun, in Smara a child of 13 years was abducted and underwent bad treatment.
[fr/arabic].
13.09.06
Moroccan general intelligence agents abducted the activist and human rights defender, Yahdih Ettarrouzi in Tan Tan, sought for over a year because of his activities at the time of the intifada. Yahdih is a member of the Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders, of the Forum for Truth and Justice and the AMDH, he has taken part in meetings with foreign journalists and NGO delegations. On 16 September, Yahdih goes before the instructing magistrate in El Ayoun and taken off to the Black Prison, accused of numerous offenses. During the three days of his disappearance he was interrogated and tortured in Tan Tan, then by the Criminal Investigation Department in El Ayoun and forced to sign under threat a fabricated police record.[Dossier]
Appeals - sentences
11.09.06, El Ayoun
The court of appeal reduced to one month’s prison, the sentences handed down to Torgui Ali and Laaraibi Mohamed Ali, arrested on 12 August and sentenced to two months in prison on 16. They were released having served their sentence.

19.09.06, Agadir
The court of appeal sentenced Tamek Mohamed and Najiaa Bachir, to 4 years’ prison, Kajout Brahim and Mansouri Driss, to 3 years, while Waissi Elkharchi was acquitted. Bouregaa Omar and Banga Cheikh being minors, the presence of their parents was obligatory, their sentencing was postponed to 26 September, that of Lefkir Lahsen to 10 October. The French barrister, Aline Chanu attended as an observer to the hearing.

Hunger Strike
The unlimited hunger strike of Saharawi prisoners in the prisons of El Ayoun, Inezegane, Aït Melloul, Kénitra, and Tiznit which started on 4 September, continue. The prison management is not addressing their demands. The state of health of the majority of the detainees has seriously worsened, necessitating their transfer to the prison clinic, then to hospital, where they maintained their strike. Loumadi Saïd, on hunger strike since 7 August in Inezegane, is in a particularly worrying state. NGO appeals in favour of the hunger-strikers increase. The representation of the Polisario Front in Switzerland and the United Nations in Geneva called on the UN Council of Human Rights. The President of SADR wrote to the Secretary General, Kofi Annan. One action has been launched of sending letters to the Moroccan Minister for Justice and to the Directors of Prisons. [more info]
13-15.09.06, Washington
Aminatou Haïdar is visiting the USA as the guest of members of Congress and officers of American human rights organisations and humanitarian associations. During meetings with members of the Congress, officials from the Department of State and representatives from human rights NGOs, she was able to offer her testimony on the violations of the elementary rights of the population of Western Sahara.
In the course of a reception organised in Capitol Hill, the seat of the Congress, the Freedom Award 2006 was presented to her by the Defense Forum Foundation for her fight for the respect of human rights and international law in Western Sahara. Aminatou Haidar considers that her meetings received “favorable reactions” from her audience, who showed themselves to be “very aware” of the fate befalling the Saharawi population in the territories occupied by Morocco”.
The jury of the Premio Marenostrum (Italy) awarded Aminatou Haidar its 2006 prize in the category of solidarity, which will be presented to her on 7 October in Viareggio. [more in Italian]

Death of Hassena El Karcha, who fought against Spanish colonisation and resisted the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. Born in 1934, he suffered detentions and harassment and was expelled twice from El Ayoun, living under surveillance in Tan Tan for 2 years, then in Goulimine in 1993. Members of his family have also suffered imprisonment, including his son,
Hammadi El Karcha.

NATURAL RESOURCES

01.09.06, Norway
Norway's Global Pension Fund (formerly called Norwegian oil fund) , which had withdrawn its investment in Kerr McGee for ethical reasons, has revised its attitude now the American enterprise has withdrawn from Western Sahara. [Easybourse.com]  [Aftenposten]


11.09.06, fishing
A fishing agreement with Russia has been renewed during the last visit to Morocco of President Putin. 12 ships are authorised to fish south of Boujdour, from 15 October and for a period of 3 years. The agreement renews an earlier agreement which expired in 1999, a second had been renewed in 2002. [L'Economiste]

14.09.06, oil
The President of the Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, ratified three oil and gas agreements signed last March in Tifariti with three British firms, Maghreb Exploration Limited, Osceola Hydrocarbon Limited and Nighthawk Energy Limited. [SPS]

REFERENDUM

18.08.06, Denmark
The Foreign Affairs Minister replied to a member of parliament that Denmark supports the efforts of the UN Secretary General towards a solution acceptable to all. The right to self-determination should be the corner stone of any proposal concerning the future of Western Sahara.”

07.09.06, MINURSO
The present military commander of MINURSO, General Kurt Mosgaard, decided to extend his mission in Western Sahara. [Statement]

14.09.06, USA
The new American Ambassador to Algeria, Robert Ford, clarified the American position: “...for there to be progress on the question, there must be direct negotiations between all the parties concerned...the Moroccan government has proposed the alternative of autonomy, but we have encouraged them to make proposals which guarantee the greatest prerogative possible to Saharawi officials”. [Liberté, Alger, 14.09.0]

11-16.09.06, Non-Aligned Movement
The 14th summit of the NAM reaffirmed the right of Western Sahara to self-determination, after four days of hard negotiations, the most bitter the movement has seen between Algeria, favouring self-determination, and Morocco, opposed to any form of independence. Morocco had taken a large delegation to Havana, comprising, among others, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Vice-President of the Royal Consultative Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS). During the preceding summit in 2003 and during ministerial conferences in 2004 and 2006, the NAM had not reached a consensus, Morocco insisting on the mention of direct negotiations and the revival of CORCAS.[Final document]
[see also Ministerial meeting of the coordinating bureau of the non-aligned movement, Putrajaya, Malaysia, 27-30 may 2006]

19-29.09.06, UN 61st General Assembly
The Tanzanian and Namibian Presidents launched on the occasion of the holding of the UN General Assembly, an appeal for the settlement of the conflict in Western Sahara, affirming the right of the Saharawi people to independence. The Mauritanian and Spanish Foreign Ministers pronounced themselves in favour of a political solution within the framework of the United Nations.  [SPS]  

MOROCCO

13.09.06, dismissal
General Hamidou Laanigri, head of security, was dismissed and appointed by the king, inspector general of the Auxiliary Forces, a second ranking position. Charki Draïss, wali of El Ayoun since June 2005  (week 25/26 2005), replaces him at the head of the DGSN. (spécial Sahara-Info) SPAIN

14.09.06, penal complaint
The Association of Families of Saharawi Prisoners and Disappeared, AFAPREDESA, the Federation of Associations for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights, FDDH, the Spanish Association for Human Rights, APDHE, the Public Federation of Institutions in solidarity with the Saharawi People FEDISSAH, the Public Coordination of Associations in solidarity with the Saharawi people CEAS-Sahara, presented, in virtue of the principle of universal jurisdiction of courts of justice, a penal complaint before the National Audience against 31 Moroccan leaders and soldiers for their responsibility in the genocide, torture, illegal detentions, abductions and disappearances practised by the Kingdom of Morocco against the Saharawi people since October 1975. [AFAPREDESA, Spanish]

15.09.06, further postponement
The visit of the head of the Spanish government to Rabat has been once again postponed until “after Ramadan”, which  is after 23 October.

HUMAN RIGHTS

01.09.06, European Union Council
In response to three questions bearing on cases of human rights abuse in Western Sahara (7 April 2006), the Council expressed its concern and desire to discuss these problems with Morocco. [Réponse]

18.09.06, UN, Geneva, session of the Human Rights Council
A Saharawi delegation follows the proceedings of the Council. They hand the chair a report from the Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders in the “Occupied Territories of Western Sahara”.
[original French, PDF]

HUMANITARIAN AID

15.09.06, European Union
The European Commission granted humanitarian aid worth 10 million euros to the Saharawi refugees. 60% of the funds will be allocated to food. The rest is destined for basic services, in particular, water, health and hygiene. This new allocation brings the Commission’s total aid for the Saharawi refugees to over 128 million euros.

SOLIDARITY

11.09.06, Fiesta Nacional de Catalunya
Representantes de la Delegación del Frente Polisario en Catalunya, presidida  por el delegado Emboirik Ahmed, junto con representantes de organizaciones catalanas de solidaridad con el pueblo saharaui, realizaron el pasado 11 de septiembre la tradicional ofrenda de flores al monumento a Rafael Casanova de Barcelona, símbolo de la lucha por las libertades del pueblo catalán.

19.09.06, Algeria
On the occasion of the anniversary of the constitution of the provisional government  of the Algerian Republic (CPRA), the Algerian National Committee of solidarity with the Saharawi people organised a conference chaired by Rédha Malek around the theme of “solidarity action with SADR and the popular resistance in the territories of Western Sahara still under occupation”.

COMING UP...

23.09.06, Festival Sahara suena 2006, plaza de toros de torrijos (Toledo). Organiza: Asociacion amigos del pueblo saharaui de Toledo y Torrijos.
Más información www.festivalsaharasuena.com

27-28.09.06, las Asociaciones solidarias con la R.A.S.D. de Euskadi convocan a las siguientes concentraciones: VITORIA-GASTEIZ, Plaza Correos, C/Dato 27 septiembre 19.30, BILBO Plaza Elíptica, frente a la Subdelegación de Gobierno 28 septiembre 19.30.
Teléfono de contacto: 945 147853 (Joxe)

29-30.09.06, Madrid. En solidaridad con los presos y detenidos saharauis en huelga de hambre indefinida, huelga de hambre de 24 horas desde el viernes 29 de septiembre, 12.00 horas, hasta el sábado 30 a las 12.00 horas frente al  Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Plaza de la Provincia (Junto a la Plaza Mayor de Madrid). Infos: ceas-sahara@ceas-sahara.es

3, 4 et 5.11.06, Vitoria-Gasteiz,
EUCOCO 2006, 32a Conferencia Europea de Coordinación del Apoyo al Pueblo Saharaui.

INTERNET

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

 Nouveau livre: Les officiers de Sa Majesté, Les dérives des généraux marocains, 1956-2006, Mahjoub Tobji, fayard 2006, 319p


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

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