Letter of the Associazione nazionale di solidarietà con il popolo sahrawi
To Mr. Kofi Annan
Secretary General of the United Nations
Honourable Mr. Secretary General,
On behalf of the Italian "National Association for Solidarity to the Sahrawi People" (Ansps) we want to congratulate You for the award of the Nobel Peace Prize. This very important award is the recognition not only of the United Nations history and tradition, but also of the extraordinary work that the United Nations and You personally as Secretary General have been doing during the last difficult years, and in very hard conditions, in dealing with dramatic conflicts in the aim of assuring peace, justice, protection of human rights, humanitarian aid to refugees and displaced people. We feel the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations is a message of hope for all human beings and will strengthen the authority and capacity of the United Nations in their peace keeping and peace building mission.
Let us nevertheless pick this opportunity to call Your attention on a very sensitive issue: the plight of the heroic people of Western Sahara, the last people of Africa that still waits to exercise its fundamental right to self-determination. Since more than 25 years the sahrawi refugees in the camps in Tindouf are waiting, in dramatic conditions of hardship to regain their homes. Other thousands of Sahrawis are since 1975 under Moroccan occupation and suffer repression, torture, and violation of their human rights.
Number of resolutions of the UN General Assembly, particularly resolutions n. 1514 and 1541 as well as the Security Council resolutions n.658 and 690 have clearly drawn guidelines for the solution of the 25 years old conflict between the Sahrawi people and the Kingdom of Morocco through the celebration of a free, fair and impartial referendum for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (Minurso) has finally achieved the identification of the people having the right to vote in the referendum. We are very upset by the fact that Your Personal Envoy, Mr James Baker III seems to have accepted the Moroccan proposals of a so called "third way" (the "Framework Agreement"), in fact an attempt to legalize Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara under the frame of a feeble autonomy under Moroccan rule for the sahrawi people, proposals that have been clearly rejected by the Polisario Front..
We are deeply concerned by the risk of the return to an armed conflict in the Region. The world really does not need the bursting out of another armed conflict ! Moreover we want to point out that the sahrawi people are among the Arab and Moslem populations that have never recurred to terrorism as a mean for promoting their legitimate desire of independence.
We ask You, sincerely, Mr Secretary General not to betray the ideals of right to self-determination, independence and freedom from oppression that are among the very pillars of the United Nations.
We are confident that You will display all possible efforts to invite the Security Council to come back to the implementation of the U.N Settlement Plan for Western Sahara: as well as many independent observers, We are convinced that the long prepared referendum could be now implemented in a very short period of time.
While repeating our congratulations to You and to the work of the United Nations please accept our feelings of sympathy and friendship
National Association for solidarity to the Sahrawi People (Ansps)
Rome, 10 December 2001
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