International campaign for the liberation of Mohamed Daddach and all Saharawi political prisoners held by Morocco.
and 24.08.01 El Ayoun
The Truth and Justice Forum, Sahara Section (FVJSAH) organised at its office two days of solidarity with the oldest Saharawi political prisoner, Mohamed Daddach, and other Saharawi political prisoners. The first day was devoted to discussions on the topics of Truth, Compensation and Impunity from the point of view of humanitarian international law. Reference was made to experiences in South America and South Africa. An appeal was launched for those Saharawi ex-disappeared who have already been compensated to "reject this compensation and then proceed to the collective seizure of justice".
The second day was given over to Mohamed Daddach through his life story, letters he has sent and testimonies of fellow detainees, members of his family as well as relatives of other Saharawi political detainees. Poems about human rights and the uprising of El Ayoun in 1999 were read. At a very emotional moment at the end of the afternoon, M. Daddach addressed the crowd by telephone amplified through a loud speaker. In response those present applauded and chanted slogans calling for his liberation. The day concluded with a decision was made to create an "enlarged committee, independent and open to all points of view" taking in former detainees or relatives of detainees, to be responsible for follow-up.
An exhibition stand displaying lists (not exhaustive) of former Saharawi disappeared who have been liberated: 1500 cases, Saharawi disappeared, 90 cases, and non-exhaustive lists of Saharawis who have died under torture in secret Moroccan jails: over 50 cases, the list of Saharawi political detainees published by BERDHSO at present in prisons in El Ayoun, Marrakech and Kenitra: 25 persons. There were also photos of the disappeared, martyrs and Saharawi political detainees, photos of torture victims at the time of the El Ayoun uprising in September 1999, photos of the activities of FVJSAH from its creation and documents and brochures about human rights and the experiences of international NGOs.
According to participants, the office of FVJSAH was surrounded by Moroccan forces of order: uniformed police, secret police, officers from the service of general information, etc. The town of El Ayoun was practically in a state of siege with patrols of the army and the forces of mobile intervention companies everywhere. It was announced also that the three Saharawi political detainees Khaya Cheikh, Massoud Larbi (see weeks: 49/1999, 01, 05, 06, 21 and 23/2000) and Bahaha Salek (see weeks 40, 41, 46/2000 and 11/2001 ) were going to observe a hunger strike on 28.08.01. Five other detainees have decided to take part in the action. They are Brahim Mohamed El Hosein Rajaa, sentenced to five years in prison, Mouloud El Hossein M'Barek, Omar Yahdih Omar, Mohamed El Moustapha El Hassan Bachir and Salem El Bachir Ragragui, sentenced to two years in prison following events in Marrakech in May 2000. (Weeks 20, 21, 26 ).
A meeting with the families of Saharawi disappeared was also organised by the FVJSAH in Smara on 25 August 2001.(corr., AFAPREDESA, BERDHSO, SPS)
UN - Referendum
The Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara met with representatives of the Polisario Front and the Governments of Algeria and Mauritania in Pinedale, Wyoming.
According to the Saharawi delegation, two points were discussed: the Polisario Front's proposals to overcome the obstacles to the peace plan were clarified and developed. The Moroccan proposed Framework-Agreement, although improved with proposals by James Baker, was rejected by the Polisario Front. This project can neither be a solution or the framework for a solution of the problem of decolonisation of Western Sahara. The Polisario Front reiterated its willingness to continue to cooperate with the United Nations and Baker to look for a solution safeguarding the respect of the rights of the Saharawi people.
In a statement the UN further made clear that « the Algerian delegation gave its views and objections on the Framework Agreement and promised to provide further clarifications. The Polisario Front expressed its objection to and reservations about the Framework Agreement, but indicated that it would consult its leadership and revert to the Personal Envoy. The representatives of Mauritania expressed their support for any solution to the problem of Western Sahara that would promote peace and stability within the region and that would have the support of the parties.»
Personal remark of the redactors: Although quite fortuitous, the place of this meeting seems to us sadly symbolic. The mountains of Wyoming, ancestral lands of Native Americans, the Sioux in particular, occupied, annexed by white settlers, emptied of their legitimate population who were confined in reserves... to discuss a "framework-agreement" inaugurating a "Saharawi reserve" controlled by the Kingdom of Morocco...
On the eve of this meeting, President Abdelaziz, in an interview with the paper Al Hayat (London), had once again stated the position of the Polisario Front of refusing any solution other than the referendum and recalled their proposals recently presented to the UN to overcome the present obstacles. Read full interview in arabic) or an engl. except.
The President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, in a message to President Abdelaziz, expressed his «firm conviction that the settlement plan provides the best opportunity for a peaceful settlement to the crisis in Western Sahara.»
Confronted with the increasing number of arrivals of African immigrants and with the loss of human lives on the Canary coast, the trades union organisation, Intersindical Canaria, says it cannot understand why Morocco does not strengthen its controls to prevent the departure of boats from the African coast. The organisation thinks that Morocco is using this problem to put pressure on the Canaries and the European Union in order to make them abandon their position favouring Saharawi independence. (El Dia)
Fernando Arias-Salgado has been appointed the new Spanish Ambassador to Rabat. He was a member of the Spanish delegation to the Security Council in 1975 when he vigorously denounced Moroccan annexation at the time of the Green March. He also participated in drawing up the Spanish position on Western Sahara presented to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in 1975.
Together with 5 other Swedish magazines the Saharabulletinen has been nominated as This Year´s Cultural Magazine. The winner will be announced at The Book and Library Fair in Gothenburg in September.
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