At the 21th session of the African Human Rights and Peoples Rights Committee, April 15 to 24 1997, in Nuakschott, Mauritania, the AFAPREDESA, Association of Families of Prisoners and Disappeared Sahrawis, founded on August 20 1989, received the observatory status.
The legal action against the former chairman of the Goeteborg Moroccan Association ended in this city. The sentence will be known in 2 weeks. This individual of Moroccan origin was sentenced to 6 months of jail at the end of 1996. He spied and denounced Moroccans living in Sweden and Swedish people acting in favour of the Polisario on behalf of the DGED, the General Direction of Studies and Documentation (a military intelligence service directed by General Kadiri, which hides its agents in foreign countries as members of the ATCM, the Friendship Association of Moroccan Workers and Businessmen). He used the diplomatic channels of the Moroccan embassy in Sweden to transmit his informations.
AFAPREDESA press release
Lalla el Ouali Youssef and Malainin M'Bairik Faddali were arrested by Moroccan police at El Ayun on Oct. 10 and liberated after 4 days of arbitrary arrest. Both showed publicly their happiness about the referendum to be held. According to the press release they were tortured and could not receive medical help in the hospitals, which were told not to accept them. The Sahrawi human rights organization appeals to act in order to put an end to tortures and arbitrary arrests in the occupied Western Sahara. "There can be no peacefull solution of the conflict without respect of human rights in Western Sahara", concludes the press release.
Referendum campaign already beginning !
A ministerial delegation leaded by the Moroccan Minister of Interior Basri, accompanied by three other ministers was on trip in the occupied Western Sahara. The aim of the visit was to mobilize the electorate for the next regional elections (Oct. 24), and especially to reassure the population after the Houston agreements. The delegation inaugurated some infrastructures and laid the foundation of new projects. They visited El Ayun, Bujdur, Dakhla, Smara and also Gulimin in South Marocco. In El Ayun they met officials, chiukhs, representatives of Sahrawis who joined Morocco and also delegates of youth and women movements. Basri in a speech numbered the important realizations accomplished or in way of realization in the region. He promized new and important economical advantages for the local population. He took long hearings with the chiefs of tribes, essentially focussed on the problems of unemployment and lack of housing. Basri said that the Houston agreements are in favour of Morocco, adding that "the identification process will concern all individuals with some relation to the territory, according to the 5 criterias of the UN". "Morocco will work from Tangier to Laguera to prepare the referendum" (EFE, AFP).
Resolution 1133 (1997) of the Security Council
The Security Council decided to extend the mandate of the MINURSO until 20 April 1998. It also requested the Secretary-General to begin the identification of voters eligible to participate in the referendum for self-determination, with the aim of finishing the process by 31 May 1998. The Council also requested the Secretary-General to submit, no later than 15 November, a comprehensive report, including a detailed plan, a timetable and financial implications, for holding the referendum. Further, the Council requested the Secretary-General to report every 60 days on the progress of the implementation of the settlement plan and the agreements reached between the parties, and to keep the Council regularly informed of all significant developments in the interim. Following the adoption of the resolution, the President of the Council said the Council requested the Secretary-General to name a special representative as soon as possible. The US representative Bill Richardson declared that the US support to MINURSO will depend of its progress, if there are no significant progress the US can no longer support it in its actual form.
An other language ?
During a press conference at El Ayun Basri declared that Morocco will fairly collaborate with the UN, but will denounce all manoeuvres of the other part in order to sabotage the referendum process. He thinks it is possible that the identification will be finished at the end of May 1998. "The Sahrawis living in Tinduf will have all guarantees in order to participate to the referendum process", he says. Morocco wishes "cleanness" and will ask the UN to allow journalists of the whole word to be present in the identification offices. Answering to a question he says that the Polisario will have the possibility to use the Moroccan medias. "In exchange we will ask the UN that our positions will also be defend in the medias, where ever people coming from the Sahara are living".
[Summary Weekly News,] [Western Sahara Homepage]