Former detainees and disappeared Saharawis have formed a branch of the Forum Truth and Justice, an association founded in Casablanca in November 1999. Its aims are to bring to light human rights abuses committed by the Moroccan state both past and present, as well as getting justice and compensation for injured parties and their families. Its committee, made up of 15 members, calls for support and solidarity from human rights groups in Morocco and the world.
The President of the European Coordination of Support to the Saharawi people, Pierre Galand, on a working visit to Algiers, stated during a joint press conference with Mrs Saida Behhabyles and Mrs Anissa Boumedienne, respectively president and honorary president of the Algerian Committee of Support for the Saharawi People (CASPS), that "development and security of the Maghreb can only take place through the holding of a referendum on self-determination of the Saharawi people."
Mrs Benhabyles presented the aims of CASPS: on a political level, the support of the implementation of the decisions of the UN and the OAU, on a humanitarian level, aid for the Saharawi populations. She denounced the policy of "two weights two measures" of the Security Council, regretting that at the dawn of the third millennium, colonised states should still exist. Mrs Anissa Boumedienne, affirmed for her part, that the blocking of the Saharawi question is prejudicial to all the parties involved in the resolution of the problem, "particularly to Morocco". (aps)
Radhi Bachir, counsellor to the Saharawi President represented the Saharawi people in Dili at celebrations commemorating the first anniversary of the referendum in East Timor, which led to the independence of that territory.
The Australian parliamentary intergroup, Parliamentary Friends of Western Sahara, held its first meeting. The newly elected Chair, Senator Sue West, commenting on the similarity of the situations of East Timor and Western Sahara, asked how many years the Saharawis would still have to wait to achieve their right. "The International community must put pressure on Morocco to stop their delaying tactics," Senator West said. She was delighted at the wide support obtained among the various parties for the intergroup.
The Deputy Chair, Senator Lyn Allison, spoke of her recent trip to the camps. The Parliamentary Friends of Western Sahara has been established to: Raise awareness in Parliament about the situation in Western Sahara, lobby the Australian Government to take an active role in encouraging the UN to resolve the issue through the organisation of the long awaited referendum and highlight the human rights abuses in the occupied areas of Western Sahara. (press release)
Solidarity - UK
Ten Saharawi children were hosted by the British youth organisation, Woodcraft Folk for six weeks this summer. They stayed in Oxford, Wales and Manchester, meeting children their own age in families and at Woodcraft Folk camps. They left on Friday 1 September with ten solar panels in their luggage, a gift from families in Machynlleth where the Centre for Alternative Technology is based. During their stay they went ice-skating with the Lord Mayor of Oxford, they met the Foreign Minister, Peter Hain, a Welsh MEP, Eurig Wyn, an MP for Manchester, Gerald Kaufman and the Lord Mayor of Manchester. Articles appeared in several daily newspapers (see weeks 31+32, 33, 34). They appeared on various regional TV programmes and an item on BBC Children's TV programme Newsround was also broadcast internationally on BBC World.
03.09.00, Firenze, Italia: Adozione a distanza dei bambini celiaci saharawi. Giornata di festa e studio. Info e programma.
15-17.09.00, Ascea (SA), Italia: "Terza rassegna internazionale del cinema documentario mediterraneo", Fondazione Alario per Elea-Velia, 17.09.00 Serata a sostegno del Popolo Saharawi: H.19 Appunti di viaggio, con la partecipazione di Omar Mih (Fronte Polisario), Umberto Romano (Scrittore), ecc.
16-21.09.00, Official visit of the Moroccan King.
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