417 Sahrawi youths, forcibly recruited into the Moroccan army, have
been subjected to inhuman treatment in the Bensergaou camp, according
to SPS. Thirty-three among them are suffering from
health problems and are currently being treated in the camp, while
two others are hospitalized in Agadir.
Sahrawi students in Rabat, along with human rights organizations,
organized a solidarity meeting with detainees following the events in
El Ayoun. Letters by ex-workers and the families of detainees in Assa
or El Ayoun were read at the event.
In El Ayoun, the Moroccan Minister of Employment announced the hiring
of 1179 young, unemployed Sahrawi graduates by the civil service. He
also announced the implementation of a huge housing program, expected
to create some 10 000 new jobs.
The Secretary-General of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) met with
the Moroccan Prime Minister, who informed him of the King's plans to
overhaul the Council of Sahara to include Sahrawi representatives.
According to Almunia, this could contribute to the development of
solutions favourable to all parties in the Western Sahara
Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western
The Secretary-General stated that, in light of the number of current
and likely future appeals, the referendum cannot take place before
2002, at the earliest. He outlined the new facts that have come into
play since 28.10.99:
Given the large number of appeals,
Kofi Annan observes that Morocco's demand that all appeals be
admissible, "seems to allow little possibility of holding the
referendum before 2002 or even beyond". In conclusion Mr. Annan
recommends to the Security Council that MINURSO's mandate be extended
to February 29, 2000. The Special Representative will continue his
consultations, in order to reconcile the views of the parties with
respect to appeals and repatriation. Mr. Annan states, "difficulties
may be encountered," including in the implementation within a
reasonable timeframe of the settlement plan itself.
"The large number of appeals, and not diverging points of view
between the parties in the conflict, as stated by the
Secretary-General, is the problem. The divergences are between
Morocco and the UN, not between Morocco and the Polisario Front,"
states Ahmed Boukhari, representative of the Polisario Front to the
For his part, President Abdelaziz expressed his delight, in an
interview published in an Algerian daily, to see the conclusion of
the identification process within the prescribed timeframe. He stated
that the appeals introduced by Morocco "are contrary to the Security
Council's recommendations." He called on the Security Council to be
more vigorous in imposing respect for the conventions regulating this
In an article entitled "Bad omen for the Sahara," the daily
El Mundo talks about "UN failure," and its
capitulation once again to Morocco. The newspaper emphasizes that the
Polisario Front only agreed to a cease fire in view of a referendum.
The alternative is not a renunciation of independence, but a return
to armed struggle. El
Mundo regrets that Spain,
contrary to Portugal, did nothing to contribute to resolving the
problem, caused by its failed decolonization.
In a letter addressed to the
Minister of State of the British Foreign Office, Peter Hain, the
Western Sahara Campaign is calling on the government to intervene to
ensure a rigorous processing of the admissibility of the appeals. The
association points to the instructions regarding the appeals process,
as approved by the parties and cited in the UN document S/1999/483 Add.
1. The WSC demonstrates how
the procedure that was agreed upon allows for the rejection of
appeals that are unfounded and that are simply designed to lead to a
second round of identification.
In a press release, the Plate-forme
Solidarité avec le Peuple Sahraoui, an umbrella organization
of several French associations and representatives of twinned cities,
stresses that "no practical reason exists for any further delays and
the United Nations must deploy all material and financial means to
honour its commitment; that no technical argument can justify that a
entire people continue to live in exile under uncertain and
Arrests and disappearances
AFAPREDESA has reported the disappearance of two human rights
activists. Brahim Najem Laghzal, 34 years old, employed in Tan-Tan
city hall, was arrested in this city on December 6, around 8:30 p.m.
by civil security agents. On the same day and time, Cheikh Khaya, 32
years old, an agricultural engineer, working for a farm credit bureau
in El Ayoun, was also arrested in Tan-Tan, where he was visiting his
family for Ramadan. Khaya was detained and tortured by DST agents in
1991, secretly detained for three months and freed as a result of
pressure from Amnesty International. Their families and friends
demonstrated before the governor's offices in Tan-Tan, carrying
portraits of the two men and demanding information from the
authorities on their fate. The governor simply responded that their
detention was a decision made in Rabat.
Another disappearance was reported in El Ayoun, that of Cheikh
Abdelaziz Ould Abdallah Ould Ali, while Mohamed Salem Mayara managed
to escape from agents who attempted to arrest him (AFAPREDESA, SPS).
The policy advisor from the US embassy in Morocco, Robert Holley,
protested that he was followed by security agents during his entire
visit in El Ayoun last week, during which he held a number of
meetings with political groups in the city regarding the recent
events and trials. His visit was in preparation of an annual report
on human rights issued by the US State Department (Al-Ittihad al-Ichtiraki, Moroccan daily).
Mohammed VI chaired a meeting of the monitoring commission on Saharan
affairs, that has focused on questions of employment, strategies to
reinvigorate the economic and commercial sectors and on guidelines
for the elections of the consultative committee for Saharan affairs
(Le Matin du
Canary Islands, Santa Cruz de
"Que el Sahara no sea un nuevo Timor" campaign Following a call by
the "Asociación Canaria de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui" and the
" Plataforma de Apoyo a un Referéndum Justo en el Sahara", 500
people gathered during the first week of November to launch the
campaign that continued with a symposium on the Western Sahara at the
faculty of law at the university of La Laguna, on November 18 and 19.
On December 10, a three-day hunger strike was initiated at the La
Laguna cathedral. On December 11, a symbolic referendum and on the
12th a demonstration in front of the cathedral.
14.12.99, Rome: Amnesty
International's Italie 2 group is organizing a meeting on the Western
Sahara with Giulia Olmi, CISP, and Marisa Rodano, Secretary-General
of the National Association of Support to the Sahrawi People, 17,30,
Libreria Il manifesto, Via Tomacelli 144.
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