Committee on elimination of racial discrimination, 53rd session, Geneva
With regard to Morocco, the Committee recommended, among other things, that the government furnish in its next report information on the ethnic composition of the population and on the socio-economic situation of Berbers, Blacks, nomads, Saharawis and other minorities.
50th session of the UN Subcommittee for Human Rights, Geneva
The Saharawi delegation at the 50th session of the UN Subcommittee for Human Rights has been received by Mr El Hadji Guissé, President of the Human Rights Subcommittee. The Saharawi delegation was composed of Mr Abdessalam Omar Lahsen, President of the AFAPREDESA, Mr El Haissen Abba Salek, Secretary General of the Saharawi Union of Jurists and Mr Ahmed Sid Ali responsible for international relations. They informed the Subcommittee President about the recent developments in Western Sahara. During the encounter the representatives of the two Saharawi NGOs exprimed their concern facing the persistent violations of Human Rights in W.S. by the Moroccan authorities and insisted on the necessity of a rapid intervention in order to save the self-determination referendum which is seriously threatened by many obstacles. For the full transparence of the referendum, "its necessary to allow free access to the territory for independent observers and media" underlined the Saharawi delegation.
After the briefing of the last SG Report the Security Council expressed satisfaction over the progress of the identification process of persons eligible to vote in the referendum. The council chairman, Danilo Turk (Slovenia), has been charged to urge Morocco to sign the agreement about the status-of-forces agreement on MINURSO promptly. Discussions will be held in early September on James Baker III's initiative.
In the Moroccan newspaper "La Gazette du Maroc" of 27.08.98, Abdallah Stouky wrote that "this time Morocco will make no presents to the Personal Envoy of the Secretary General. (...) James Baker is supposed to make miracles. But certainly the next month of September will be very hard for him and with all his charm, talent and authority he will not be able to get Abderrahmane El Youssoufi, Abdellatif Filali, Driss Basri, Ahmed Snoussi, Abdelhak Kadiri, to swallow anything more."
A Portugal-Morocco friendship parliamentary group has been set up at the initiative of Portuguese social-democrat MP Paulo Mendo.
Asociacion Cordobesa Amigos de los Ninos Saharauis
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