NEWS Sept. to October 1995
10 October 95: POLISARIO denounces break of cease-fire by moroccan troops.
9 October 95: Polisario demands Security Council to stop King Hassan's Western Sahara trip
The head of the Polisario Front urged the Security Council on Monday to demand that King
Hassan II of Morocco abandon plans to visit the disputed territory of
Western Sahara in November. In a letter to council President Ibrahim
Gambari of Nigeria, Mohamed Abdelaziz called the trip, which he said was
announced by Morocco's interior minister, "an act of premeditated
provocation." "If the announced visit takes place it may bring to none
all the efforts so far undertaken within the framework of the
settlement plan, " Abdelaziz said.
He added that King Hassan's intention to visit the "occupied
territories of Western Sahara" was aimed at undermining the U.N. plan and
imposing on the United Nations a list of 100,000 Moroccan citizens as
voters," in addition to the human waves of Moroccan citizens already
settling in the areas of Western Sahara it has occupied." "To contain the
evil of war, avoid the worst for the peoples of Western Sahara, Morocco and
those of the region" and safeguard the ongoing U.N. efforts, he said, it
was "imperative to demand that King Hassan renounce his plan and change his
decision." "The Saharawi government and the Polisario Front reserve the
right to retaliate to the new Moroccan agitations whose aim is to
perpetuate the fait accompli in Western Sahara."
3 October 95: Response of Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs to a deputy's question
The Swis Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Flavio Cotti, in response to a question of deputy Fabienne Bugnon, (Green Party) answered that, if invited, the Swiss Governement would not send any representative to official ceremonies in El Ayun comemorating the Green March. He repeated that the Swiss Government supports the self-determination referendum of the Sahrawis.
3 October 95: First time Morocco lets press visit political detainees' jail
Signalling a commitment to improve human rights, Morocco has taken the unprecedented step of
allowing the press to visit a prison where dozens of political detainees have languished in the last 20 years.
Built in 1920 during the French protectorate years, the prison at Kenitra, 30 kms north of Rabat, became home to Morocco's most famous political prisoners in the 1970s and 1980s. During those years, hunger strikes were common and the publicity they generated earned Kenitra a reputation as one of the toughest in the country. The prison has often been singled out for criticism by the London-based human rights organisation Amnesty International. A French-based watchdog group, Observatoire International des Prisons, said in a recent report that 12 inmates died in Kenitra last year under mysterious cirumstances.
The smell of fresh paint permeated the gloomy corridors when reporters visited recently, but there appeared to have been no other attempt to embellish the prison and inmates complained to journalists about what they said were deteriorating conditions.
Mohamed Daddash, a Sahrawi who was sentenced to death in 1979 for trying to join Polisario Front guerrillas, said: "How can we talk about respect for human dignity while I am buried alive in this prison without having killed anybody or belonged to a political movement ? ".
At Kenitra, there are two permanent doctors and six nurses for 1,900 prisoners.
"Even if there is a medical department in the prison there is a shortage of medicines and doctors' visits are not regular. We do not feel that our privileges are permanent, and we could easily lose them at any moment", said Noureddine Taj. Taj is serving a 20-year sentence for involvement in clashes in 1991 at the university of Oujda.
(according to Reuter- News-Service)
27 SEPTEMBER 95: NEW EVIDENCE OF MOROCCAN OBSTRUCTION OF WESTERN SAHARA PEACE PLAN
Press release from the Western Sahara Campaign, London
The Western Sahara Campaign has welcomed the publication of a letter from
the New York-based organisation Human Rights Watch to US Ambassador Madelaine Albright on the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
A team from Human Rights Watch was recently able to visit Western Sahara, one of the few independent organisations to be able to get access to the occupied territory.
In the letter, Human Rights Watch criticises the obstruction by Morocco of the referendum process and the failure of the UN to control its own peace plan for the territory which has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975.This criticism is consistent with the views of the Western Sahara Campaign,
which has been monitoring the UN plan since its inception in 1991.
Amongst the findings of Human Rights Watch were the following:
Human Rights Watch concludes that if the UN does not take serious action then the future of the region will be determined in the wake of "the collapse of a misdirected UN operation which Morocco (has) succeeded in manipulating".
- The UN wrongly relinquished control of voter identification to the parties to the conflict. UN officials are now conceding that the UN now cannot know whether legitimate voters have been excluded;
- Moroccan authorities have "routinely" prevented access by Western Saharans (Sahrawis) to voter registration centres;
- UN personnel are under constant surveillance by the Moroccan authorities and were "reluctant, even frightened" to talk to Human Rights Watch;
- Morocco has been intimidating local tribal leaders who are responsible for verifying the eligibility of voters;
- Morocco has submitted applications to join the electoral register on behalf of "individuals with questionable ties to the Western Sahara". Out of 180,000 applications put in by Morocco, 100,000 are from people living outside of the territory.
The Chair of the Western Sahara Campaign, Dr. Keith Lomax said, "What else will it take before the UN takes effective action to put its plan back on course? It is quite clear that there can be no free and fair referendum under the current conditions".
The views of Human Rights Watch reinforce the evidence of former US
Ambassador Frank Ruddy who severely criticised the settlement plan before the US Congress earlier this year. Meanwhile, 200,000 Sahrawi refugees are left in desert camps in Algeria in conditions which the UN recognises to be so harsh it will not allow its personnel to stay there more than three months.
Repression of Sahrawis living under Moroccan occupation is also
continuing unabated. The Western Sahara Campaign has written to the Foreign Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind to ask him to take up the cases of eight Sahrawi youths living in occupied Western Sahara who were recently imprisoned by the Moroccan authorities after they took part in a peaceful demonstration. These youths began a hunger strike this week in protest at the inhumane conditions of their imprisonment.
For more informations contact Martin Hughes, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
22 SEPTEMBER 95: NEGOCIATIONS BETWEEN MOROCCO AND POLISARIO DENIED
The Sahrawi Ministry of Information denies rumors about secret contacts between Morocco and POLISARIO Front in Lisboa (Portugal), but reaffirms that direct negociations between the two parties are the best and necessary way to resolve the problems of implementation of the selfdetermination referendum.
19 SEPTEMBER 95: HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH CRITICIZES U.N. REFERENDUM
In a September 19, 1995 letter, Human Rights Watch calls on the Security Council to reexamine and modify the mandate of MINURSO, the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in the Western Sahara, in order to ensure a free, fair and transparent referendum. The New York-based organization has also called on the Security Council to extend the mandate of MINURSO and send a strong signal to the Moroccan government that it must stop obstructing and compromising the fairness of the referendum process. The Secretary General has proposed that the mandate of the troubled U.N. operation be extended until January 31, 1996 and the Security Council will vote on the extension later this week.
Morocco has controlled most of the Western Sahara since 1975, just prior to Spain's withdrawal from its former colony. This led to armed conflict with the Frente Popular para la Liberacion de Saguia el Hamra y Rio de Oro (Polisario Front), the Western Saharan independence movement. A UN-brokered cease-fire took effect in 1989, and since 1991, the U.N. has been involved in an operation to organize and conduct a referendum for self-determination. The U.N. is currently identifying voters who will be eligible to take part in the referendum, which was originally scheduled for January 1992, but has been repeatedly delayed.
Complete text of the letter
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is a nongovernmental organization established in 1978 to monitor and promote the observance of internationally recognized human rights in Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and among the signatories of the Helsinki accords. It is supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide. It accepts no government funds, directly or indirectly. The staff includes Kenneth Roth, executive director; Cynthia Brown, program director; Holly J. Burkhalter, advocacy director; Robert Kimzey, publications director; Jeri Laber, special advisor; Gara LaMarche, associate director; Lotte Leicht, Brussels Office Director; Juan Mendez, general counsel; Susan Osnos, communications director; Jemera Rone, counsel; Joanna Weschler, United Nations representative; and Derrick Wong, finance and administration director. Robert L. Bernstein is the chair of the board and Adrian W. DeWind is vice chair.
7 SEPTEMBER 95: New SADR Government
The SADR Ministry of Information communicates the list of the members of the new SADR Government and the list of the members of the POLISARIO Front leadership elected at its 9th Congress:
- Prime Minister: Mr Mahfoud Ali Beiba.
- Minister of National Defense: Brahim Ghali.
- Ministre of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation: Mr Melainine Sadik.
- Minister of Interior: Mr Salem Lebsir.
- Minister of Justice: Mr Hamati Rabani.
- Minister of Education : Mr Khalil Sidi M'Hamed.
- Minister de l'Information: Mr Khatri Adouh.
- Minister of Health: Mr Boulahi Sid.
- Minister of Culture: Mohamed Touhami.
- Minister of economic Developpement and trade : Mr Bouchraya Beyoun.
- Minister of Equipement and Transport: Mr Larabass Joumani.
- Minister Counsellor at the Presidence: Mr Mohamed Salem Ould Salek.
- Minister Counsellor at the Presidence: Mr Mohamed Sidati.
- Secretary General of the Presidence: Mr Daf Mohamed Fadel.
- Secretary General of the Government: Salek Baba Hassena.
MEMBERS OF THE SAHARAWI LEADERSHIP , ELECTED AT THE IXth CONGRESS OF POLISARIO FRONT
- Mohamed Abdelaziz, President of SADR, Secretary General of the POLISARIO Front
- Mahfoud Ali Beiba
- Mohamed Lamine Ahmed
- Brahim Ghali
- Mohamed Lamine Bouhali
- Ayoub Lahbib
- Bachir Mustapha Sayed
- Abdelkader Taleb Oumar
- Bouchraya Hamoudi Beyoun
- Mohamed Salem Ould Salek
- Khalil Sidi M'Hamed
- M'Hamed Khadad
- Larabass Joumani
- Salem Lebsir
- Brahim Mohamed Mahmoud
- Mohamed Sidati
- Boukhari Ahmed
- Mansour Omar
- Aliyen Habib Kentawi
- Moustapha Sidi El Bachir
- Walad Moussa
- Abdallahi Lehbib
- Ahmed Fall Mohamed Yahdih
- Hamma Salama
- Mohamed Lamine Dadi
- El Ghazouani Ali Allali
- Hafdalla El Abd
- Mohamed Obeid
- Salma Mounak
- Abba Mohamed Mouloud
- Senia Ahmed Merhba
- Cheibani Abbas
- Ahmed Moulay Eli
Sources: Ministery of Information of SADR, International News Agencies,.....
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