WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

 

WEEK 48

28.11.-04.12.1999

 

Spain: "Que el Sahara no sea un nuevo Timor" campaign
The campaign took place in Castilla, Balearic and Canary Islands. A hunger strike was organized in Pamplona, Navarra, by the Movimiento Solidario de Apoyo a Sahara, an NGO umbrella organization. From December 7 to 9, a hunger strike will be held in Rioja, organized by the Plataforma Cívica Pro-Referendum en el Sáhara Occidental - La Rioja. The campaign will end in Madrid: a commemoration on December 10 in memory of the victims of the repression, in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a three-day hunger strike and a closing demonstration on December 12.

26.11.-03.12.99
El Ayoun: Appeals
El Loud Mohamed ould Allal was sentenced in appeal on 26.11.99 by the El Lehbib to two months suspended sentence (press release from the
Sahrawi Minister of the Occupied Territories).
Others had their sentences reduced: 13 people who were sentenced in November to one and a half years in prison received sentences of between 2 months suspended sentence to 6 months, one was acquitted. Twenty-three others who received sentences ranging from 12 to 18 months on November 15 (see
week 46) also received reduced sentences.
In El Ayoun, Moroccan government parties organized a demonstration on 28.11.99 in support of the victims of the September-October repression. Speakers called for fair trials for all those arrested. A royal pardon was requested on behalf of the families of the detainees (
Moroccan press).
Abdesslam Chaouch, a delegate from the AMDH (Moroccan Human Rights Association), announced that a group of lawyers has made an appeal to the Supreme Court against the verdict handed down in El Ayoun against three youths who "had nothing to do with the acts they are being accused of and who, during their detention, have been abused." (
Ach-Chark Al-Awsat, 29.11.99)

27.11.99
Defectors
"Security forces have forbidden a group of Sahrawi defectors staying at the Bou Regreg hotel in Rabat from having any outside contact. According to one of the members of this group, which has been demonstrating in Rabat since June 26, they have been told that the Southern provinces (the Western Sahara) must be regained before their situation can be resolved. (
Al-Mounaataf, quotidien marocain)

27.11.99
Demonstrations
Protest demonstrations in the occupied territories of the Sahrawi Republic have been ongoing since September 22. According to a press release issued by the Sahrawi Minister of the Occupied Territories, 1000 people protested on November 27 in Tan-Tan and Assa. Demonstrations are planned for Friday, December 3 in Rabat and El Ayoun. According to an SPS press release, the Sahrawi Ministry of the Occupied Territories stated "the right to freedom of expression will square off against dahir No. 15," in effect in Morocco since 1958. This law gives the authorities the right to put down any demonstration, as the Moroccan government itself recently reconfirmed: "Assemblies that are not authorized by public authorities constitute a tacit threat to public order, while assemblies in public spaces that are authorized by the public authorities are a right."

28.11.99
Truth and justice
A "Truth and justice" association, bringing together victims of the repression and their families, left-wing political parties, and NGOs, was created in Casablanca to help shed lights on human rights violations in Morocco since independence.

30.11.99
Expiry of the Morocco-EU fishing agreement
Over 400 fishing boats, most of them Spanish, left Moroccan territorial waters with the expiry of the fishing accord between Morocco and the European Union. Rabat refused to extend the accord, officially to protect its fishing resources. Foreign presence in Moroccan and Sahrawi territorial waters dates back to 1988, and was renegotiated in 1992 and 1995. These accords violate international law because the EU does not make a distinction between Moroccan and Sahrawi territorial waters.

30.11.99
Suspicious deaths
Two young Sahrawis died in Moroccan military centres. Mohamed M'Barek ould Mahjoub ould Ergueibi died "under mysterious circumstances" on November 28 in the Bensergaou military training camp, close to Agadir. A week earlier Laroussi ould Matamoulana died in an auxiliary forces training centre in Auluz. Both of them belong to the "first group of 400 individuals" forcibly recruited by the Moroccan army. Sahrawi authorities say Moroccan authorities are responsible for these deaths as part of a policy to physically liquidate the Sahrawi population.

01.12.99
Morocco: human rights
The independent board of arbitration set up in August 1998, which was to resolve the issue of human rights in Morocco "within six months," received 1370 requests for compensation. The board will review the cases and carry out investigations in order to determine damages and compensate the victims. The board has promised to give additional compensation to emergency humanitarian cases. (
CCDH, consultative commission on human rights, Morocco)

01.12.99
Morocco
The free trade accord signed between Morocco and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA = Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) came into effect on December 1.

01.12.99
Morocco-UK
Peter Hain, MP, British Minister of State in charge of North Africa and the Middle East at the Foreign Office visited Morocco as a part of a North African tour. In Rabat, he held detailed discussions on the Western Sahara with Prime Minister Abderrahmane El Youssoufi.

02.12.99
Abraham Serfaty
In an interview published in the Moroccan daily La Nouvelle Tribune, Abraham Serfaty reiterated his vision of an autonomous Western Sahara and the need for Moroccan-Sahrawi negotiations, adding "I am convinced that we are at the dawn of a new era for Morocco and the Sahara." He called on Polisario "to not fall behind."

02.12.99
Charter flights
Taking advantage of an extended holiday, hundreds of Spaniards visited the refugee camps. They took charter flights from Castilla-La Mancha, the Balearic Islands, Murcia, Madrid and Aragon. Joan Mayo, minister councillor of the government of the Balearic Islands, led the official delegation from his province.

03.12.99
Inquiry
A delegation from the US embassy in Rabat recently visited El Ayoun in order to shed light on the unrest that has shaken the city. The delegation met with witnesses and participants of the events. (Maroc Hebdo International)

COMING UP...

15.12.99, Geneva: Buffet evening in honour of the new Polisario representative to Switzerland, Senia Ahmed, at 7:00 p.m. at the Centre social protestant.

Easter 2000, Switzerland: Charter "Sahrawi Solidarity," Geneva-Tindouf, April 19-24, 2000. Registration up to January 2000 : ileana.farinelli@orange.ch

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