The UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, 55th session,
Interventions on item 9 (issues of violations of human rights and
Fernando Marino of the Federación de Asociaciones de Defensa y
Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (Spain) stated concern for
the situation in the Western Sahara.
The USA Humanitarian Law Project in its sixth annual "Armed Conflict
in the World Today: A Country by Country Review" states: "We note yet
again that the UN mandated referendum for Western Sahara is
Moroccan minister of the interior, Driss Basri, began a tour of
Southern Morocco and Western Sahara with the objective of "mobilizing
the Sahrawi tribes for the referendum." In Assa, Goulimine and El
Ayoun he met with various local officials to announce resumption of
the identification process and to call for mobilization in favour of
unity with Morocco. A dispatch from SPS (Sahara Press Service)
reported criticisms expressed during the meeting in Assa.
Participants were critical of Moroccan policy, charging that it
accorded special privilege to individuals who do not originate from
the province. They denounced the fact that "ministers only visit the
region when they have objectives other than those of meeting the
Morocco and human rights: case closed?
Just before expiry of the 6-month extension granted by the King to
the Moroccan Human Rights Advisory Council (CCDH) to resolve the
issue of human rights, the CCDH has announced that Hassan II has
accepted the conclusions of its report (see Week
The King wants the case closed for once and for all by compensating
most of the victims or their relatives within the next three months.
A royal pardon has been given to the 112 people on the CCDH list as
well as their torturers, designated by the euphemism "concerned
authorities and their assistants" at the service of the "peace of the
State." ( full text of
The families of the victims, however, have not been informed, no list
of names has been published and the numbers, which were already
controversial, are different than those published six months ago. No
mention is made of Abraham Serfaty or Cheikh Abdessalam Yassine.
Compensation to the families of the other disappeared is not
Relatives of the victims have expressed their outrage at the way the
issue has been handled.
The president of the Moroccan human rights organization (OMDH) has
stated that the case is still not closed as other lists of
disappeared persons exist.
AFAPREDESA pointed out that at least
Sahrawis are still disappeared and that political prisoners are
still wallowing in Moroccan jails, for instance the Sahrawi
Mohamed Daddache. The Sahrawi human
rights association is drawing attention to the fate of some ten
former Sahrawi disappeared who have no papers or passports and for
the last 7 months, from a hotel in Rabat, have been demanding
recognition of their rights (see Week
Morocco, new minister of foreign affairs
King Hassan II has appointed Mohamed Benaissa as Morocco's
minister of foreign affairs and cooperation in replacement of
Abdellatif Filali. Benaissa, 62, who held the portfolio of cultural
affairs from 1985 to 1992, was ambassador to the United States since
An agreement on mine clearing was signed on 5.4.99 between MINURSO
and the Polisario Front. The agreement stipulates exchange of
information, identification of the locations of landmines, their
destruction by Polisario where possible and a clean up of the
surrounding area. Following the accord signed Morocco on March 12,
1999, its does not include a buffer strip along the Moroccan
Regarding the resumption of identification, the UN has announced that
meetings are scheduled next week in New York. The Secretary-General's
report is expected on April 23 and the date of the resumption of
voter identification will be known by the end of April.
09.04.99 The US under-secretary of state responsible for
the Maghreb, Mr. Indyk, is in Rabat for talks concerning the Western
Sahara conflict and the resumption of the peace process.
News from the camps and SADR liberated zones
As usual, the Easter period saw hundreds of visitors from Spain,
Italy, Switzerland and elsewhere to the Sahrawi refugee camps.
A 100-strong delegation from Navarre, lead by the head of the
government, inaugurated a new hospital on April 10 in Tifariti in the
The facility, designed by SODEPAZ and largely financed by the Navarre
government, was built upon the ruins of a hospital destroyed by a
Moroccan air raid just prior to the 1991 cease fire. The 80-bed
hospital, including two operating arenas and various healthcare
services, is destined for repatriated refugees.
Visit of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to Spain. Sahrawi
support organizations launched a letter-writing campaign calling for
a free and fair referendum in the Western Sahara.
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