WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

Résumé October 2007

WEEKS 40 - 44 : 01.10. - 31.10.2007

original french

SADR

17-25.10.07, visit of the Saharawi President to Italy
The Saharawi President Mohamed Abdelaziz met the Vice-President of the Italian government and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Massimo D'Alema, who welcomed the “responsible position” of the Polisario Front towards arriving at a peaceful solution to the conflict in Western Sahara. [statement from the FA ministry in Italian]
[photo officielle]

Abdelaziz also met the President of the Parliament Fausto Bertinotti, the Vice-President of the Senate and the presidents of various political parties.
The Moroccan government summoned the Italian Ambassador in Rabat to protest. Abdelaziz had been presented on the ministry’s agenda as the “President of SADR”.
[L’Occidentale]

24.10.07 Ariano Irpino, Campania
The Saharawi President attended the proceedings of a conference on human rights abuses in Western Sahara, which concluded with the setting up of a “Permanent Watch on the human rights situation in the Saharawi occupied territories”. 
[Irpinia News]

25.10.07, Naples
During a reception organised in his honour by the Mayor of Naples, Rosa Iervolino Russo, the Saharawi President declared that “the negotiations will not yield results unless pressure is put on Morocco”.
[agenzia]

27-28.10.07, SADR-Senegal
The Saharawi Minister for Occupied Territories, Khalil Sidi Mhamed, attended the congress of the Socialist Party of Senegal on the invitation of its first secretary, Ousmane Tanor Dieng. Speaking during the opening session, Khalil paid tribute to “the unfailing support of the PSS to the struggle of the Saharawi people for their self-determination and independence”. [SPS]

30.10.07
The Spanish Popular Party asked the government to open a branch of the Cervantes Institute in Western Sahara “occupied by Morocco” and another in the Saharawi refugee camps.

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

Repression, intimidation
12.10.07
The provincial director of Agriculture in El Ayoun, the employer of the Saharawi activist, Djimi Elghalia, vice-president of ASVDH, refused to grant her permission to leave the territory. Elghalia was planning meetings with Frontline in Ireland and Amnesty International in France from 15 October. [Declaration of ASVDH]

Founding meeting of CODESA banned
The founding meeting of CODESA, arranged for 7 October, was not authorised by the Moroccan authorities. CODESA protested in a statement written to the president of the European Parliament and to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Other Saharawi associations in the occupied territories acted likewise.
The Saharawi authorities denounced “this denial of human rights and democracy”.
Mohamed Sidati, Minister delegate for Europe, spoke to the European Union and the European Parliamentary intergroup, “Peace for the Saharawi people” published a statement. European member of parliament, Meyer Pleite raised the question in the parliament.
[español] [special page]

Arrests
Arrests are targeting especially young demonstrators, the time limits for custody are practically never respected and the practice of torture is usual.[Testimony]
Seven young Saharawis were arrested and charged with having burned a police car: Omar Khnibila, Mohamed Boutabaa, Abdessalam Loumadi, Bachri Mohamed Ahmed Hamdi, Hassan Dah, Nafaai Sah, Abdallah Elboussati. The last five were on hunger strike since 24 October to protest against their conditions of detention.  [more...]

Trial
08.10.07, El-Ayoun
The secretary general of ASVDH, Brahim Sabbar, Ahmed Sbai, member of the coordinating council and three other Saharawi political detainees were acquitted of the charge of causing offense to the magistrate.
[communiqué]
Amnesty international defended the human rights defenders. [English]

Mrs France Weyl attended a trial as a judiciary observer for the International Association of Democrat Lawyers and the French Association of Soldarity of the Right. She attended the trial as a judicial observer from the International Association of Democrat Lawyers and the French Association of Law-Solidarity. She spoke to the president of the tribunal to denounce the way the hearing was conducted. [letter]

Awareness-raising campaigns
Several Saharawi human rights defenders travelled to Europe during the month of October. Hmad Hamad on a lecture tour of Aragon, Navarra, Vitoria, Seville and Cordoba. Brahim Dahane and Brahim Noumria testified in Italy. The student, Rabab Amidane, sister of the political detainee Elouali Amidane, spoke in Madrid. [résumé in Spanish of Rabab’s activities in Spain]

Soultana Khaya, the student who lost an eye during an intervention by the Moroccan police, underwent two surgical operations in Barcelona and the implantation of a prothesis.

Solidar, an alliance of 60 NGOs from 20 European countries, on the 16th, at a ceremony in the European Parliament in Brussels, gave the Silver Rose 2007 prize to Aminatou Haidar. The prize was awarded in the international category “Struggle for freedom and human dignity”. [more...]  [Appeal of Aminatou Haidar]

Death
04.10.07, Suspect death
A Saharawi citizen from Boujdour,  Sidiya Moulay Brahim, known for his independence ideas, was found dead last week in his car at the gates of the town. A member of the Moroccan special services had been seen in his company only a few hours before his death. [SPS]

18.10.07
Chaibani Elbambari, born in 1964, died due to poor health following his forced disappearance from 1988 to 1991.

30.10.07
Commemoration in the occupied territories and in southern Morocco of the second anniversary of the death of Hamdi Lembarki, assassinated by the Moroccan police at the end of a demonstration supporting self-determination of the Saharawi people, on 29 October 2005 in El Ayoun. [archive]

NATURAL RESOURCES

17.10.07, fishing
Four fishing villages, Agti El Ghazi, Tarouma, Amégriou, Aftiesset, are at present under construction in Western Sahara, financed by the Agency for promotion and development of the southern regions, the Hassan II fund, the Ministry of Maritime Fishing and the National Office of Fisheries.

23.10.07, phosphate, uranium
The industrial group for nuclear energy, AREVA  and the Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP) signed an agreement of cooperation to develop the extraction of uranium from phosphate. The reserves of uranium which can be recuperated from Moroccan phosphate are close to 6 million tonnes, or twice the known global resources of deposits of uranium. 
[agency]

25.10.07, oil
The Saharawi official body for oil announces for January 2008 the opening of a second round of bids for oil exploration licences. These licences will offer three onshore blocks and six offshore. [details]

28.10.07, nuclear
France will turn Morocco nuclear and soon Libya and Algeria, by equipping them with nuclear power stations.[El Pais]

REFERENDUM

FOURTH COMMITTEE of the UN General Assembly (committee for special political questions and decolonization)
The question of Western Sahara occupied debates in the Committee, which heard a large number of petitioners, the majority in favour of the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people. On 15 October the draft resolution was accepted without a vote. This reaffirmed the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and supports the process of negotiations started in recent months. Morocco, faced with this will to maintain the question of Western Sahara within the context of decolonization, decided not to request a vote. [special page 4th Committee FR, EN, ESP]  [Draft Resolution A/c.4/62/L3]
[A/c.4/62/L3 arabic] 

19.10.07, report of the Secretary General on Western Sahara S/2007/619
The report covers the period from April to October 2007 and begins with a summary of two Moroccan-Saharawi meetings, which Ban Ki-moon refuses to call negotiations. He points out that the two proposals for settling the conflict, that of Morocco (autonomy) and that of the Polisario Front (referendum and economic guarantees), are on the agenda and must be discussed. The Secretary General pays much attention to the military aspects, pointing out violations of the cease-fire and the problem of landmines. He announced new confidence-building measures. A seminar will take place in November in Madeira on “the culture, habits and customs of the hassaniya speakers”, in which Saharawis from both sides of the wall will participate [last minute: Seminar was canceled by Morocco He also touches on attacks on the human rights of Saharawis in both Morocco and Western Sahara. In his recommendations, Ban asks both parties “to engage in real negotiations”. He reaffirms that the UN “remains resolute in making international norms for human rights respected”. Finally, he asks the Council to extend MINURSO’s mandate until 30 April 2008.

24.10.07, Third Committee of the General Assembly
The report of the 2006 mission to Western Sahara of the High Commission of Human Rights was brought up at the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly. [extract of the statement]

25.10.07, African Union
The African Parliament adopted a recommendation of its committee for cooperation, foreign affairs and conflict resolution concerning the decolonisation of Western Sahara.
[La Tribune]

25.10.07, United Kingdom
In reply to a parliamentary question, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Jim Murphy, said that the status of Western Sahara was undetermined and that the United Kingdom supports the UN’s efforts towards finding a solution providing for self-determination.
[original english]

31.10.07, Security Council Resolution S/2007/1783
The first draft of the resolution, drawn up by the United States and France, “welcomes the serious and credible efforts of Morocco to advance the process towards its resolution”. The South African representative denounced this attempt to support Morocco instead of encouraging the two parties to negotiate.  [DPA]
Finally, the resolution adopted is practically identical to the former (1754). The Council insists that “the parties show real political will...to engage in negotiations in depth and thus to ensure the implementation of resolution 1754 (2007) as well as the success of the negotiations”. The Secretary General must make a report on the negotiations before 31 January 2008. The mandate of MINURSO is extended for 6 months.

The Polisario Front welcomed the adoption of the resolution but regretted that “the Security Council had not explicitly exhorted the occupying power to fulfil its obligations in international humanitarian law”.
The last resolution of the Security Council (1783) on the Sahara treated the Moroccan autonomy proposal in a “positive and distinguished” manner, underlined the Moroccan Minister of Communications government spokesman, Khalid Naciri.

MOROCCO

12.10.07, king’s speech before parliament
“The preservation of unanimity around our territorial integrity constitutes the first of the vital causes of our homeland and nation, from which the necessity to pursue efforts to mobilise more support in favour of the audacious and credible initiative which we have launched on autonomy”. [text]

13.10.07
“The words of the King are of a nature to hinder the efforts deployed by the UN, and aim, one couldn’t be clearer, to go against the mission of the Secretary General and his personal envoy” in searching for a political solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, the Saharawi President, Mohamed Abdelaziz, declared.

15.10.07
The new Moroccan government is finally constituted, Abbas El Fassi is Prime Minister and Taib Fassi Fihri the new Minister for Foreign Affairs.

22-24.10.07 Visit of the French President to Morocco
Ten French organisations write to Sarkozy before his departure to draw his attention to the problem of Western Sahara and to attacks on human rights. [letter]
In a speech before the Moroccan parliament, Sarkozy declares “I express the hope that the Moroccan autonomy plan – which he calls serious and credible – might serve as the basis for negotiation in the search for a reasonable settlement. France will be at your side.” [English]

23.10.07
The Saharawi government considers that the declarations of the French President in Rabat, are “serious and inopportune”, adding that this alignment with the Moroccan position is the source of the “failure” of the efforts of the international community trying to resolve the conflict in Western Sahara.
Mhamed Khadad, a member of the National Secretariat of the Polisario Front, considered in a press statement, that the support of the French President for the Moroccan autonomy plan is “a clear stance in favour of the Moroccan colonial position” adding that “this shows unfortunately that, despite the generational change (of ruler in France), it still takes the [French] colonialist viewpoint”. [SPS]

30.10.07
Hervé Morin, French Defence Minister, on the subject of the failure to sell Rafale jets to Morocco (see September 07) : “This was not only a question of price. It became so as soon as the Americans arrived. The deal should have been signed and sealed before April 2007. But Washington put all its political weight, notably by modifying its position on Western Sahara and by giving 700 million dollars to the King’s foundation”. [Le Point]

HUMAN RIGHTS

30.10.07
The Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon opens an enquiry into the presumed crimes of genocide and torture by Moroccan officials between 1976 and 1987 in Western Sahara in “a complex action, systematically organised against Saharawi persons”. Baltasar Garzon considered a complaint lodged in September 2006 could be heard. [more...]

HUMANITARIAN AID

Food aid
The WFP office in Algiers welcomed on 5 October the Spanish contribution of 2.7 million dollars towards the Saharawi refugees, for the purchase of 3.412 tonnes of flour and 300 tonnes of lentils, which will arrive in Algiers in two weeks and will satisfy the needs for 2 months. [Reliefweb]
Le 17.10.07, the WFP affirmed that the delay in transporting the food aid “is due to the unforeseen suspension of the purchase transaction, at a local level, of the products required.” It expressed the hope that the first delivery will arrive in Algiers at the beginning of November. In a statement (19.10.07), the Saharawi Red Crescent deplored that “because of the failure of the WFP to meet its obligations, over 158,000 Saharawi refugees have not obtained their daily bread since the beginning of October”.
This new food crisis is caused by the absence of stocks of food products. The stores which had been supplied by ECHO until October 2006 have not been restored. The SRC pointed out further that the WFP devotes 36% of donations to administrative and logistical costs. [SPS]

16.10.07, appeal of the UNHCR
The UNHCR warned that the funds available for the confidence-building measures (family visits) will not suffice beyond the end of November, donors having provided only half the 3.5 million dollars necessary. [statement]

SOLIDARITY

05-07.10.07
Brahim Dahane, president of ASVDH, Abdeslam Omar Lahsen, president of AFAPREDESA, and Metou Moustafa Hnini, of the National Union of Saharawi Women took part in the 7th UN Assembly of Peoples in Perugia and the peace march from Perugia to Assisi.  

07.10.07, France, Platorme of Solidarity with the Saharawi People
Over thirty delegates and officials from committees and associations making up the platform of solidarity with the Saharawi people met in Andernos to draw up a program of activities for the summer and the outlook for the year 2008.

14.10.07
The British caravan of humanitarian aid “Rainbow 2007” (Rainbow Rovers) left the United Kingdom for the Saharawi refugee camps via France, Spain and Algeria.

17.10.07
Exhibition of the Saharawi painter, Fadel Jalifa entitled “Saharawi resistance and culture” in Toluca in Mexico. [photos]

19-21.10.07, 33rd EUCOCO, Rome
the 33rd conference of support for the Saharawi people was preceded by a Parliamentary Meeting of Soldarity with the Saharawi people, which brought together Italian parliamentarians and their counterparts from the whole world on the initiative of the Italian parliamentary intergroup. Official delegations from regional Spanish parliaments from the Canaries, Aragon, Cantabria and the region of Valencia also took part.
The Conference assembled over 400 delegates from 21 countries of Europe (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland), of Africa (Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, SADR, Senegal, South Africa) and Latin America (Mexico, Uruguay) as well as a delegation from the occupied territories.
The delegates met in workshops on topics such as “Political Action and information”, “Human Rights, Humanitarian aid and cooperation”, “Natural resources” and “Youth”, etc. A final declaration was also adopted. The next conference will take place in Valencia.[further details] [Radio]  [Video]
Members of the Saharawi delegation to the conference were received afterwards in various regions and towns of Italy, new twinning agreements of solidarity were concluded (Castelnuovo in Emilia-Romagna, Bosaro in Veneto, Crespina and the Comunita Montana del Mugello in Tuscany, etc.).
The Secretary General of the National Union of Saharawi Women, Fatma Mehdi, participated in International Meeting of women in struggle in Rome, organised on the initiative of the Argentinian Association “Mothers of the Square of May”. Later she was a guest in Bologna. Another women’s delegation took part in a conference in Reggio Calabria. [more]

COMING UP...

Sandblast Arts Festival : http://www.sandblast-arts.org/web/festival/index.htm

05. - 07.11.07
SAHARA OCIDENTAL -Debate Nacional e apresentação do Livro «International Law and the Question of Western Sahara» Coimbra, Braga, Porto, Lisboa.

07.11.07, Londres
Western Sahara - Time for Action. Réunion au parlement britannique sous la présidence de Jeremy Corbyn, interventions de  Khadidja Hamdi, de l'Union nationale des femmes sahraouies et directrice du centre d'information "La martyre Al-Naadja", Aminetou Haidar, militante sahraouie des droits de l'homme et ancienne prisonnière d'opinion et Makaela Wallinder de "Landmine Action".

Madrid, sábado 10 de noviembre 2007
MARCHA POR LA INDEPENDENCIA DEL PUEBLO SAHARAUI
Salida desde ATOCHA a las 12hrs. hasta la Plaza Mayor
Contra la tortura y la violación de los Derechos Humanos en el Sáhara
NO MÁS ABANDONOS Y ENGAÑOS ¡ EVITEMOS LA GUERRA !
Infos: http://sahararesiste.blogspot.com/2007/10/marcha-por-la-independencia-del-pueblo_25.html

09.11.07-13.01.08, Bonn
Exposition de photographies de Boris Becker organisée par le HCR  “Fuite silencieuse, Un peuple oublié au Sahara”.
Infos: http://www.bundeskunsthalle.de

24.11.07 Colloque scientifique et rencontre-débat - Université de Paris X Nanterre
Sahara Occidental, mutations géopolitiques, droits de l'homme et autodétermination.
Organisation: L'Association Universitaire de Coopération Internationale (AUCI) de l'Université Paris X, le Comité pour le Respect des Libertés et des Droits Humains au Sahara Occidental (CORELSO) et la Revue « L'Ouest Saharien ». http://www.auciparis10.org
s'adresser à Ali Omar Yara tél. 0673049373 courriel yara.gis[at]free.fr et Renaud Frossard tél.0130274541 courriel renaudfrossard[at]aol.com


14.12.07  - TIFARITTI
XII Congrès du Front POLISARIO
XIIth Congress of the POLISARIO Front
XII Congreso del Frente POLISARIO

INTERNET

Nouveaux sites/blog - new sites/blog - nuevos sitios/blog

Documents

Freedom in the World 2007, Freedom House
Western Sahara [Morocco] (2007): http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=22&country=7320&year=2007
Morocco (2007): http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=22&country=7235&year=2007

EVERYONE'S GUIDE TO BY-PASSING INTERNET CENSORSHIP FOR CITIZENS WORLDWIDE
A CIVISEC PROJECT The Citizen Lab  The University of Toronto  September, 2007
http://deibert.citizenlab.org/Circ_guide.pdf

"Transparent Elections": Countries do not need to be rich to treat women fairly, 23.10.2007
http://www.demaz.org/cgi-bin/e-cms/vis/vis.pl?s=001&p=0056&n=001249&g =
According to the Social Watch study, the gender gap persists in all countries and the general trend is either very slow progress or no progress at all towards equality between women and men. [...] The 10 countries with the worst GEI performance are Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Morocco (all with a score of 42)

CORELSO.INFO, No 7, sept.-octobre 2007, Organe du Comité pour le respect des libertés et des droits humains au Sahara Occidental: http://arso.org/CORELSO-INFO.htm

Best of blogs
Blogger cracked pro-Moroccan propaganda campaign, Støttekomiteen for Vest-Sahara.: http://www.vest-sahara.no/index.php?parse_news=single&cat=49&art=645
See the whole story on Will’s blog: http://onehumportwo.blogspot.com/search/label/Together%20Foundation

Video
Interview de Djimi El-Ghalia la vice-présidente de l'Association sahraouie des victimes de violations commises par l'Etat marocain par N. Quartano de l'Observatoire International des droits humains, 2007: http://goufia.blogspot.com/2007/10/repression-de-letat-marocain-au-sahara.html

Assignation de noms de domaine - Domain Names Registration
ICANN renonce à prendre une décision quant à l’attribution du domaine .eh réservé au Sahara Occidental. [Voir résumé août]
ICANN refuses to attribute the TLD .eh, assigned to Western Sahara, to the SADR government. [report of meeting]

OPINIONS: http://opinions.arso.org  

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

English

Castellano
>> Todos los despachos, articulos de prensa, etc, son acessible por no-abonados en Sahara-Info, lista de correo (castellano y francés):
http://es.groups.yahoo.com/group/sahara-info/messages

Italiano
Deutsch
Arabe
Svensk
Norsk
SISTE: Folkemordsprosess mot marokkanske generaler, Støttekomiteen for Vest-Sahara , 31.10.07: http://www.vest-sahara.no/index.php?parse_news=single&cat=1&art=646

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