WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

 

WEEK 27

04.-10.07.1999

 

03.07.99
Diplomacy

The Saharawi Minister Counselor of the President has returned from a tour of the Great Lakes region and of East Africa. Malaïnine Sadik met with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in Addis Ababa on June 22, and then with Burundian Head of State Major Pierre Buyoya. On June 25, he met Rwandan President Bizimungu. He proceeded to Uganda where he met with his counterpart, Mr. Rugunda, and then the next day traveled to Nairobi to meet Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi. He wrapped up his tour in Dar-es-Salaam, where he met with the Tanzanian Vice-President of Foreign Affairs. All of these government officials reiterated their support for the SADR and the Sahrawi people in the legitimate struggle for the right to self-determination and national independence.

04.07.99
Political change Moroccan-style: torturer turned into human rights advocate
Mahmoud (Mohamed) Archane participated, along with other representatives of political parties and the Amnesty International representative for Morocco, Mohamed Sektani, in the creation of the Mouvement pour la Défense des Libertés (movement to protect human rights). Archane, a former police chief, was head of the SRPJ (regional criminal investigation department) in Rabat at the time that Abraham Serfaty, his sister Evelyne and Abdellatif Laabi were brutally tortured in 1972. He entered politics, creating his own party, the MDS (social democratic movement ) in 1997.
In an open letter to Pierre Sané, Secretary General of Amnesty International, Abraham Serfaty , followed by other Moroccan human rights activists, called on Amnesty to "publicly apologize for (Mr. Sektani's) inexcusable presence and to take action against him."

05.07.99
According to information sources in New York, Morocco has suspended identification operations in El Ayoun for reasons that are not supported by MINURSO, which turned the question over to the UN's legal department. (APS)

06.07.99
Repatriation

Construction of 800 housing units (500 in El Ayoun and 300 in Boujdour) kicked off in the presence of the Moroccan minister responsible for the initiative. This is the first segment of a 10 000 housing unit project in occupied Western Sahara, reserved for repatriated Saharawi refugees. (Le Matin du Sahara et du Maghreb, Rabat).

07.07.99
Algerian President Bouteflika confirmed, on Radio-France International, Algeria's support "to the finish" of the principle of self-determination in Western Sahara, calling for "the immediate and rapid implementation of the self-determination referendum." (APS)

10.07.99
Meeting in Rabat "for the immediate return of activist Abraham Serfaty to his homeland, Morocco," organized by the Moroccan human rights association (AMDH) and the national action committee for the return of Abraham Serfaty.

10.07.99
The wife of a "disappeared" Saharawi joins the refugee camps

Fatma Maasoud Taher arrived in the refugee camps. Her husband Mohamed Said Chaaban (born 1928, No 566 of the list of "disappeared" Saharawis) was arrested at Lebouirat (South Morocco) in 1975 by members of the royal gendarmery. After that Fatma was always watched by police, harassed and often threatened. Three of her children could flee and joined the POLISARIO Front. Despite numerous steps she never could obtain any information about her husband. In 1991, after the liberation of 300 disappeared Saharawis by the Moroccan authorities, she was informed her husband died in the secret jail of Agdz in 1977. Nevertheless the authorities refused to deliver a certificate of death and to put back the mortal remains. (AFAPREDESA)

NEW ON THE INTERNET

The Friends of the SADR association in Grenada has introduced a new feature on its web site: Sahrawi crafts and promotional material can be purchased, with proceeds going to humanitarian aid. http://www.arrakis.es/~saharagr/

SOLIDARITY

30.06.99 Saragossa: The province's deputies awarded Saint Isabelle of Aragon (Queen of Portugal) medals to several individuals and organizations, including the Friends of the Sahrawi assocation of Aragon, Oum Dreiga, which was recognized for "his humanitarian work and commitment to solidarity among peoples." The prize includes 1 million pesetas.

27, 28 and 29.06.99 Castilla and Leon: 802 Sahrawi children arrived as part of "Vacaciones en Paz 1999." In Catalonia, some 1000 children participated in the campaign organized by ACAPS, the Catalonian association of Friends of the Sahrawi. This year, the campaign has become so large in Spain that it is not possible to list all of the initiatives.

06.07.99, Campezo, Alava, Basque Country, was twinned with the Sahrawi centre of Guelta Zemmour.

13.07.99, Oxford, UK: Ten Sahrawi children and two guardians will spend two months in the UK. They will be hosted by local Woodcraft Folk groups, an educational organization founded in 1925 that has been receiving Sahrawi children every year since 1989.

COMING UP...

The Algerian human rights organization, LADDH, will be holding a meeting of African human rights advocates in Algiers from July 11 to 13.

12-14.07.99, Algiers: 35th Summit of the Organization of African Unity. Recalling : the Saharawi Republic is member of the OAU since 1982 and 24 of the 52 member states recognize the SADR.

The King of Morocco will visit France from July 12 to 15, 1999. In protest, the Friends of SADR association has launched a letter-writing campaign to the French President, Minister of Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs (info: bur.aarasd@wanadoo.fr).

Press conference "No to impunity, yes to a constitutional state in Morocco," Monday, July 12, at 11:00 a.m. at the French National Assembly, room no. 1. Henri Leclerc, Noël Mamère, Danielle Mitterrand, Gilles Perrault, René Gallissot, Albert Jacquard, Mohamed Harbi, Kamel Jendoubi, l'Amiral Sanguinetti will be present and there will be witness accounts by the families of Ben Barka, Rachid El Manouzi, and Midhat Bourequat. Organization: Collectif "L'Autre Maroc," Web Site : http://www.maghreb-ddh.sgdg.org

NEW PUBLICATIONS

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