WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

 

WEEKS 31+32

01.-14.08.1999

 

03.08.99
USA: address to the House of representatives

Congressman J. Pitts remembered that eighty-five prisoners were released in 1997 as a goodwill gesture when former Secretary of State Baker visited the Sahrawi people. Unfortunately, two of the men have died while waiting. He urges the new King of Morocco as a gesture of good will to accept the freed Moroccan citizens so they can return home to their families.

04.08.99
Open Letter from Pierre Sané to the King of Morocco

The Secretary General of Amnesty International congratulates the new King on having, in his first speech, committed himself to the rule of law, to preserving human rights as well as individual and collective freedoms. AI asks the king to take the following immediate measures: release of all «disappeared», that is more than 450 people, mainly Saharawis; clarification of the fate of those - more than 100 - who have died in detention; adequate compensation to the «disappeared» and to the families of those who have died in detention; investigation of allegations of torture; liberation of all prisoners of conscience; charging those responsible for violations of human rights.

04.08.99
Amnesty international

As an addendum to its report «Turning the Page» of 24.06.99 AI publishes the comments of the CCDH (Moroccan Consultative Council of Human Rights) and of the Moroccan Ministry of Human Rights. The CCDH announces that it is ready to study the cases of disappearance which are submitted to it. The dossier is therefore not closed, as the Moroccan authorities had declared. The Ministry recognises that some of the 242 cases of Saharawi disappeared are detained by the Moroccan army as prisoners of war and are visited regularly by the ICRC. Concerning the situation in Western Sahara, the CCDH as well as the Ministry accuse AI of exaggerating the violations of human rights, of taking a position on the question of Western Sahara and of not having expressed an opinion on the violations of human rights in the Saharawi refugee camps. On this last point AI notes that there has been an improvement, but that the restrictions on freedom of expression, of association and of movement still persist. On the other hand, none of those persons responsible for breaches of human rights have been brought to justice, some of them occupy positions of responsibility. AI asks the Polisario Front to dismiss them and bring them to justice. Concerning the persons guilty of breaches of human rights in the Saharawi camps and who are now in Morocco or elsewhere, AI requests that they should also be brought to justice. AI questions in particular the Moroccan authorities on the subject of former members of the Polisario security, now in Morocco, who, though guilty of torture, have been left undisturbed.(full text)

04.08.99
51st session of the UN Sub-Committee on the promotion of the protection of Human Rights, Geneva.

Point 2 of the agenda: violations of human rights and fundamental liberties. Mr Abba Salek El Haissen (Union of Saharawi Jurists) voiced the deep concern of the International Association of Democratic Jurists over the situation in Western Sahara. The IADJ called on the sub-commission to intensify its efforts to force Morocco to put an end to arbitrary arrests as well as the practices of disappearance and torture, to lift the state of siege in Western Sahara and to guarantee free access to the press and to independent observers.

05.08.99
F. Polisario: 10th Congress

The 10th ordinary congress of the Polisario Front will be held from 26 - 30 August. Some thousand delegates representing the 4 wilayas of SADR, the military regions and immigrants are expected, as well as foreign delegations and journalists. The agenda will include the election of a new national executive and a new secretary general, the evaluation of the peace plan etc. According to a Saharawi spokesman, the future management will have to put in motion a new political procedure geared to the referendum deadline. The congress will also broach the question of what is at stake in diplomatic relations between SADR and the countries of the region.(El Watan)

05.08.99
Occupied Territory

The death of Hassan II provoked among the Saharawis of the Occupied Zones, no feelings of sadness, rather the contrary. This attitude displeased the Moroccan settlers, who required their participation in ceremonies to the memory of the king. Saharawis from the towns of El Ayoun and Dakhla were attacked by Moroccan settlers shouting chauvinist anti-Saharawi slogans. (AFAPREDESA).

12.08.99
Report of the Secretary General on Western Sahara (S/1999/875)

Mr Annan lists the events which have happened since the last report dated 23 June. In 4 weeks, 9,674 people have been identified among the 65,000 due to be identified by November. 2,000 appeals have been filed in a month, while more than 22,000 people have submitted requests for file transcripts. The UNHCR has continued its preparatory work for the repatriation. With the aim of building confidence, a draft plan of action for improvement of contacts and visits between the populations on both sides of the wall has been submitted to the parties.

SOLIDARITY

A new committee of support has been created in Slovenia, the «Družtvo za podporo Zahodni Sahari», chaired by Mr Ales Skornsek-Ples. E-mail: ales.skornsek@gov.si

Pro-Sahara Week in Aguilas, Murcie, Spain: the «Asociación Aguileña de Amigos del PuebloSaharaui» organised different events around a Saharawi tent set up at the port.

NEW PUBLICATIONS

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