12 December 2002
Dear Mr Mbeki
Re: Referendum for Western Sahara
We write on behalf of the Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA), seeking the support of the African Union for urgent action by the United Nations for self-determination for Western Sahara. Since 1991, Western Sahara and Morocco have respected the United Nations brokered cease-fire, pending a referendum for self-determination. However, with over a 160,000 Saharawis forced to live in refugee camps in the Algerian desert, and with reported human rights abuses by Morocco, the situation deteriorates.
AWSA wishes to express its dissatisfaction with the failure of the United Nations to fulfil its resolution on Western Sahara, and calls on the United Nations to implement the Peace Plan and Houston Agreements for Western Sahara without further delay. By not implementing the peace plan, the United Nations has:
The United Nations should act to restore its credibility in the eyes of people affected by its failure to implement the provisions for a fair referendum on self-determination. The suffering of the Saharawi both in the refugee camps and the occupied territory continues.
We thank you for your attention to this urgent matter and look forward to receiving your response.
Lesley Osborne Paul J. Reid
AWSA Secretary AWSA President