New Delhi, India
H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan,
Secretary General of United Nations,
Room S-3800 New York, N.Y 10017
WILL THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HELP IN AVOIDING AN OTHER EAST TIMOR'S MASSACRE IN WESTERN SAHARA?
I would like to draw your excellency's kind attention to the following:
On September 22nd, 1999 various units of the Moroccan police force, the Royal Gendermerie, the Criminal Investigation Department, the Forces of Rapid Intervention, as well as the auxiliary forces supervised by agents of security violently repressed a peaceful demonstration of Saharawi students, unemployed graduates and former and actual workers of Fos-Boucraa (phosphate company), demanding legitimate rights to a descent and convenient life in the occupied capital Aaiun of Western Sahara. The demonstrators issued an official statement expressing their protest against the serious situation, which Saharawis suffer under the Moroccan occupation.
As result tens were wounded or disappeared and the authorities ordered the hospitals to not issue medical certificates for the wounded demonstrators.
The repression and atrocities are flagrant violations of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 20. (1) Every one has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and associations; Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile; Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as well as that they are not compatible with the International Conventions of human rights that Morocco itself has ratified and signed.
The smooth transition in Morocco must not be on the cost of the people of Western Sahara; on the one hand the right of the Saharawis was over-ridden in 1975 due to unjustified Cold war miscalculations; exile, imprisonment, torture, disappearances and repression were the direct results suffered by the Saharawis in the last 24 years, from the other hand the UN peace plan for a lasting and just resolution for the issue of Western Sahara, through free ballot for the genuine Saharawis and not Driss Basri's Moroccans converted " Saharawis" must not be sacrificed as a scapegoat for the so-called a peaceful transition in Morocco.
After the death of Hassan II and the accession to the throne by the new king Mohamed VI and many experts and interested people in North Africa affairs predicted that the new king may prove more supple than his farther vis-à-vis improving the record of human rights, reforms to speed up democracy process by reducing the power of MAKHZEN and giving instead more strength to the reformist Prime Minister, MR. Abderahman Yousfi, who suffers challenge and opposition to his reforms from his Interior Minister, the leader of MAKHZEN, treat the chronicle illness of the economy, addressing the poverty, the huge income disparity between the rich and the poor, the high percentage rate of unemployment, the illiteracy rate which is over 50 percent in the kingdom and encouraging free and transparent self-determination referendum in Western Sahara. Many people went further and described him as the Moroccan Juan Carlos who will lead the Monarchy to constitutional one. But unfortunately the new Moroccan actions of slaughtering civilians and presenting more than 70.000 appeals against their non-inclusion in the referendum eligible voters' lists is show that the file of human rights abuses in Morocco is still not closed as it was confirmed lately by Amnesty International and disappoint the hopes of the Saharawis, your's as well as UN Security Council's who wished that the appeal process should not turn to an other round of identification.
So, far the new Monarch is still not different from his predecessor; its procrastination and postponement policy of the referendum and the strategy of undeclared war of attrition against the funds of the UN is still very much there, and we understand that the one, who still in command is the immovable Interior Minister who is very known by his human rights abuses in Morocco and in Western Sahara and who is in charge of the preparation of the ballot in Western Sahara, so, Shall we expect from people like this security, fairness, transparency in the future planned referendum?
In an article published in the Spanish Magazine " El Pais" of September 24th, 1999 Mr. Hassan Aurir the Spokesman of the Royal Palace declared after the King Mohamed VI has created a Royal Commission to monitor Sahara's affairs, which is composed of civilian and military personalities as well as representatives of the region, that " So far the Sahara's crisis was managed by metal fist, but from now on it will be managed by silk gloves " Sahara affairs were exclusively the responsibility of the Interior Minister after the late king Hassan II, we believe that this is a new tactical move from the Moroccan side to try to win the hurts of the Saharawis population before the referendum, but the Saharawis want to tell the new king that Western Sahara does not need Royal Commissions to manage its affairs, what it does need is its full independence, and we advise him to take a lesson from what his father, the late Hassan II said to the Polisario Delegation who met him in Marrakech in January 3rd, 1989, that " Despite of all the things I did for Saharawis, I could not win one Saharawi hurt."
Morocco must take the initiative and speed up the decolonisation of Western Sahara because the will of the peoples is bounded to victory at the end.
The Independence of Western Sahara will never threaten the smooth transition in Morocco, but the contrary; it will foster the stability, democracy and it will help cure the gangrene of the Moroccan economical and social problems, as it was confirmed several times by Saharawi responsibles.
Balkans, Rwanda and East Timor experienced massacres and repression, the UN or multi-national forces were brought to intervene for keeping peace and security and the International Community showed interest in each of them, whereas in Western Sahara UN peace keeping forces are stationed there and the repression happen in front of their eyes, yet there is no intervention or at least condemnation from their side. What means this? Does it mean that the International Community divided the world to regions of priorities and interest, in ones it intervenes and in the others does not bother at all? And till when it keeps turning an eye on the mentioned abuses? Is it till the Saharawi patience runs out?
The above mentioned human rights abuses and the massacre followed East Timors's Independence referendum reinforces the Saharawi people doubt in general and especially those refugees who will be repatriated to the occupied territories of Western Sahara about the security of the region under the Moroccan supervision, we think that we should pay attention to the urgency of the matter and make an appropriate confident building measures to address the issue for the sake of avoiding more massacres and saving the reputation and the credibility of the UN and World community as whole. The security of the region of Western Sahara should be given to the UN or multi-national forces before, during and post the self-determination referendum.
The people of Western Sahara would like to request Spain to follow the courageous initiative taken by Portugal in its ex-colony and to assume its historical responsibility to help speed up the decolonisation of Western Sahara.
New Delhi, India, on 25.09.1999
Mr. Bill Clinton,President of United States of America
Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the Democratic and People's Republic of Algeria, the actual President of the Organisation of African Unity
King Mohamed VI of Morocco
Mr. James A. Baker: Special envoy of the Secretary-General of the UnitedNations for Western Sahara
Finnish president of the European Union
President of the Spanish Government
Mr. William Eagleton: Special representativeof the Secretary-General of theUnited Nations for Western Sahara
President of the advisory Council of the humans right of Morocco
Minister of Justice and the Humans rights of Morocco
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Morocco