Mr. Kofi Annan

Secretary General of the UN

New York

Fax: 0011 1212 9634879 / 9633024

 June 24 2001

Dear Mr Secretary General,


Re: Report to UN Security Council on Western Sahara

I am writing to draw your attention to the question of Western Sahara. As someone who has been following the developments of the question of Western Sahara and the plight of the Saharawi, I am deeply concerned and shocked by your report to the Security Council of 21 June 2001. It appears to be advocating the abandonment of the existing UN Settlement Plan in favour of 'limited autonomy' for the Saharawi people, a solution seemingly inspired by the Moroccans.

I believe that this is a complete reversal of the UN position on the Western Sahara where it has spent 10 years and millions of dollars preparing the territory for a referendum on self-determination. It is indeed difficult to comprehend and an unprecedented way of solving a decolonisation issue that has been on the UN agenda for the past 38 years.

As you are aware the central plank of the UN-brokered Peace Plan that brought an end to the 16-year war between Morocco and the Polisario Front was the referendum. It was agreed to by both Morocco and the Polisario Front which represents the indigenous people of the Western Sahara. The referendum is consistent with international law and UN conventions which protect the rights of the Saharawi people to determine their own future.

Furthermore, the inalienable right to self-determination by the indigenous people of Western Sahara was confirmed by the verdict of the International Court of Justice in 1975 and has been recognised by UN resolution after UN resolution. It is these very rights however, that seem to be undermined as your Special Envoy, Mr. James Baker III, bows to pressure from Morocco for a pseudo "political solution" and recommends that the UN walks away from its responsibilities, thus legitimising Morocco's colonisation of the territory of Western Sahara and its people.

I would like to urge you to reconsider the recommendations you put to the Security Council and allow more time for further discussions. I fear that if Mr. Baker's proposals were accepted they would have grave implications for peace and stability in the region.

If the UN were to fail in its efforts to justly resolve the issue of Western Sahara, its credibility and that of the international community would be put in jeopardy.

Yours sincerely

Stephanie Brennan

Convenor - Western Sahara Alliance

The Western Sahara Alliance comprises activists from trade unions, human rights, refugee and student groups and is committed to supporting the struggle of the Saharawi people for independence. Correspondence can be addressed to 73 Day St Leichhardt 2040 or email the Convenor Stephanie.Brennan@fsunion.org.au (phone 61 2 9320 0042 or mobile 0411 239934)

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