WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

 

WEEK 30

25.-31.07.1999

 

23.07.99
US-Western Sahara Foundation
Congressmen Donald Payne and Joseph Pitts announced the creation of the US-Western Sahara Foundation, during a press conference in Washington attended by members of congress, ambassadors and embassy representatives from many nations, US Congressional staff and media representatives.
According to the Foundation's Chairperson, Suzanne Scholte, "The U.S.-Western Sahara Foundation's Board of Advisors includes an advisory board of over 50 distinguished Americans from all walks of life--former diplomats and military, some of whom served with MINURSO, Christian leaders, directors of humanitarian organizations, former U.S. Ambassadors, business people, professors, teachers, private citizens, foundation presidents, and attorneys. We come from many political points of view, many regions of the country, and many different professions, but we all share one thing in common: we have a burden on our hearts for the Sahrawi people."
The purpose of the U.S.-Western Sahara Foundation is three-fold:

  1. to raise awareness of the issue of the Western Sahara and the need for a free and fair U.N.-sponsored referendum for the Sahrawi people;
  2. to provide a network for a far-reaching and ever-growing group of individuals and organizations across the United States that wish to see a free, fair and transparent referendum for the Sahrawi people and support the United Nation's activities, including the former Secretary of State James Baker's work to resolve this conflict peacefully; and
  3. to promote and coordinate humanitarian efforts for the Sahrawi refugees.

Congressman Joseph R. Pitts stated that all peoples have the right to self-determination. This right, however, continues to be denied the Sahrawi people. He said that the investment made by Americans in MINURSO must not contribute to an unfair vote, but rather must serve to guarantee a free, fair and transparent referendum that conforms to democratic standards. He pointed out that a failed Western Sahara peace plan represents a failure not only for the parties concerned but for the international community and the United States.
Donald Payne pointed out that interest is growing in the United States and especially in Congress for the Western Sahara, one of the last colonies in the world. He emphasized the need to raise awareness among Americans of the situation and the importance of supporting the United Nations. He also applauded Algeria's support of the international community's efforts in this area.(Contact: skswm@aol.com )

25.07.99
Mohamed Sidati on the BBC

The Minister Counsellor of the Presidency stated that King Hassan II's death changes nothing in terms of the political accord on the self-determination referendum agreed upon by Morocco and the Western Sahara. "We are confident that the new king will have the wisdom to continue the same policy and even accelerate the referendum process."

25.07.99
Morocco: Democracy must triumph!

"It is essential that all democratic forces in the country work to support the Prime Minister and mobilize to ensure the triumph of democracy," writes Abraham Serfaty. "It is important that we resume our efforts to build a fraternal Arabo-Berber Maghreb, which requires the resolution of the conflict in the Western Sahara through a "win-win" negotiated settlement under the aegis of the United Nations. This is the only way Morocco can save face in a future referendum."

26.07.99
The World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) announced that the seven young Sahrawis sentenced on June 24 have been released (see Week 25 ).

28.07.99
Human Rights 1

One of the 12 members of the Coordinating Committee of Sahrawi victims of forced disappearances (see weeks 16, 14, 10) who live in a small hotel in Rabat, supported by the families of the 320 Sahrawi disappeared freed in 1991, answered to the questions of a journalist. He declared that unlike the Moroccan disappeared, Sahrawis received no financial compensation following their release. They have no identity papers and cannot work or travel. Himself was arrested in El Ayoun in 1987. Imprisoned for four years in a former Spanish military barrack in El Ayoun, he was forced to remain standing, while blindfolded and was only permitted to sleep two hours a day. When asked about Hassan II's death, he answered, "Men die but the regime lives on." The Sahrawi Committee is demanding justice although their efforts so far have fallen on deaf ears. (Der Bund)

28.07.99
Human Rights 2

The Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH) believes that the recent establishment of the Human Rights Movement, with the help of the former commissioner of police Mahmoud Archane, is a creation of his political party, the Social Democratic Movement. The AMDH denounced the "media coverage orchestrated by official circles claiming that the movements was created with the help of several human rights association, while in fact only the association of Amnesty International groups in Morocco participated in its inception."

30.07.99
Minister of the Interior Driss Basri stated in an interview with RFI that the Sahara question is no longer an Algerian-Moroccan problem but a question for the UN which will inevitably find a solution by means of the UN mechanisms already in place.

30.07.99
Royal mercy

Out of 46 212 detainees, 7988 will receive a royal mercy, commuting the remainder of their prison sentence while the other 38 224 prisoners will see their terms shortened by two months to three years depending on the length of the term.

30.07.99
Mohammed VI - first speech

"We are extremely attached to the constitutional monarchy, multi-party democracy, a liberal economy, a policy of regionalism and decentralization, the building of a constitutional State, protection of human rights and individual as well as collective freedoms, and to security and stability for all."
"We shall renew our commitment to perfect our territorial integrity, of which the issue of our Saharan provinces constitutes a central concern and we await the UN referendum to confirm their status. Enemies of our territorial integrity are going to great lengths to ensure that this referendum fails by throwing up innumerable obstacles."

SOLIDARITY

Manacor, Balearic Islands, 29.07.99 : A medical team mead up of a gynaecologist, anaesthetist and three nurses from the Manacor hospital will travel to the Sahrawi refugee camps in September to provide medical care.

Australia: A Western Sahara solidarity committee has been created called the Australia-Western Sahara Association. It is headed by lawyer Jill Vidler. (Contact: vidler@tig.com.au)

NEW PUBLICATIONS

[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]

Too much publications around Hassan II's death, we cannot mention all of them.

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