Protests by Saharawis
Asrir (Goulimine, South Morocco ): Two Saharawi civilians and a Moroccan policeman were wounded during demonstrations organised in Asrir as a sign of solidarity and support to the Saharawi victims of repression. A march was dispersed by the police before arriving in front of the town hall, where the demonstrators were to organise a meeting and hand in a booklet of demands to the authorities, these were mainly about liberating Saharawi political prisoners and on improving their conditions of life. The two wounded Saharawis, Mohamed Lehbib Mohamed M'Barek Nebti and Melainin El Moctar Boulam, were beaten up during this confrontation which lasted several hours. (SPS)
Protests by Saharawis
In Assa, South Morocco, the hunger strikers suspended their action temporarily after a week, following promises made by the Moroccan authorities to study their demands and to find solutions for them. (see Week 40)
The Australian Council for Overseas Aid, ACFOA, which comprises Autralian NGOs, has passed a resolution on Western Sahara during its recent Annual Conference,held in Brisbane. ACFOA Council "declares its continuing support for the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence... condemns the violations of human rights in the occupied territories of Western Sahara" and "urges the (Australian) Federal Government to extend humanitarian aid to 170.000 Saharawi refugees" . The Council also urges the Government " to give full support to the United Nations in its efforts to organise a free and fair referendum for the people of Western Sahara".
Four Saharawi delegations criss-crossing Italy have signed twinning and cooperation agreements between Italian towns, provinces and regions with Saharawi wilayas and dairas: in Latium, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Naples and Mantua, bringing the total number of twinnings in Italy to 258. The Italian elected members declared themselves unanimously in favour of greater involvement by their national government and the EU in bringing about the referendum.(SPS)
For the second time in a week, tracts were distributed in Smara, calling the population to "general mobilisation against the illegal Moroccan occupation of the Saharawi territory" and to national unity around the objectives of independence. SADR flags were also seen more or less everywhere in the town, on roofs of houses, on electricity poles, rapidly removed by the authorities. These leaflets announced that the Saharawis in the occupied zones were getting ready to commemorate the 12th October, the anniversary of the proclamation of national unity in 1975, and that they will not stand by with folded arms in front of "the genocide, repression and intimidation" which they have suffered during these 26 years of colonial occupation by Morocco of the territory.
In El Ayoun students from one of the lycées of the occupied capital of Western Sahara organised a gathering in front of their school, during which they chanted slogans against the repressive practices of the Moroccan forces. This gathering was quickly dispersed by rapid intervention forces, who proceeded to make arrests. (SPS)
A very rare event, the Moroccan press drew attention, following the visit of the Minister of the Interior on the ground to "the climate marked on one hand by a waiting game and on the other by a tension which could get worse over the course of days" in Western Sahara. According to Al Ayam, the week of commemoration of the incidents two years ago, the UN end of November deadline and the Moroccan proposed Framework-Agreement are at the centre of discussions and controversies in the heart of the local political class. The analysis of Khalli Hanna Ould Rachid, who favours the urgent settling of social and political problems, would face a regionalist tendency which is neither unitary nor separatist, embodied by young officials representing all political persuasions. On the other hand, faced with the "separatist" (pro-Polisario) tendency, which is not denied, the paper draws attention to the unitary tendency (opposed to the autonomy plan). It also mentions "the embarrassment" of the notables who have not been consulted about the Framework-Agreement proposal. The security system in place over these days bears witness, according to Al Ayam, to fear of seeing demonstrations rising up again "used to create disorder and to spread the ideas of the separatists." The same daily points out the constitution of the committee for the liberation of Sidi Mohamed Daddach and all the other Saharawi political detainees as well as to their activities.(Al Ayam cited in the Revue de presse de l'ambassade de France à Rabat)
The convenor of the Western Sahara Alliance (Australia) protested to the CEO of the American Kerr-McGee oil company about the contract agreed between his company and Morocco, which concerns the territory of Western Sahara, and which flouts the rights of the indigenous population. (see Week 40). A similar letter was sent the to UN Secretary General to point out to him that this constitutes a serious provocation, which threatens the peace and stability of the region, Morocco "having no authority to negotiate, sell or profit from the natural resources of Western Sahara."
International campaign for the liberation of Mohamed Daddach and all Saharawi political prisoners condemned by Moroccan courts
Sidi Mohamed Daddach, the longest standing Saharawi political prisoner in Morocco according to Amnesty International, announced from his cell in Kenitra prison, that he is lengthening his weekly hunger strike from 24 to 48 hours every Monday and Tuesday. He received a visit from Mr El Habib Taleb, a member of the Consultative Committee for Human Rights (CCDH) with a view to making a request for his liberation to the King.
After a month of campaigning, several thousand signatures have been collected. Among the signatories are numerous national, regional and municipal elected members, NGO officers, Saharawi citizens from the occupied zones, etc...
The European Conference of Towns twinned with Western Sahara held in Pisa (Italy) 28-30 September adopted a resolution of support for the campaign.
October 2001, the political detainee, El Bachir Tounsi, held in the
civil prison of El Ayoun, was the victim of intimidation from the
director of that prison. His transistor was confiscated and he was
insulted and the director of the prison threatened to plant cannibis
among his possessions so he would be accused of drug trafficking.
These threats should be seen in relation to the participation of
Tounsi in the hunger strike movement observed by Saharawi political
Information N4 BERDHSO, Information N°5.
The campaign is going on. Sign the appeal on line, or download and print out petition forms for the collection of signatures ( english , italian german ).
56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly: Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee), Question of Western Sahara
The question of Western Sahara gave rise to many interventions during the general debate on the processes of decolonisation of the 17 non self-governing territories. Burkino Faso and Senegal took up a position in favour of the Moroccan Framework-Agreement proposal. Egypt put the case for "efforts to be pursued towards a fair and lasting settlement of the question" of Western Sahara. The great majority of speakers declared themselves in favour of a rapid implementation of the United Nations peace plan and the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination. Several vigorously denounced the volte-face of the Secretary General.
Seven petitioners (Antonio Lopez, FEDISSAH, Felipe Briones, Internatioanl Association of Lawyers for Western Sahara, Ana-Maria Badia, Professor of International Law, Francisco José Alonso, President of the Spanish League for Human Rights, Miguel Mayol, MEP,Intergroup, Peace for the Saharawi People, José Miguel Barragan, member of the Canaries parliament) were heard by the Commission, as well as Ahmed Boukhari in the name of the Polisario Front.
(Statements, UN press releases )
12 October 1975 - 12 0ctober 2001
Ceremonies commemorating the 26th anniversary of national unity took place in the wilaya of Smara (refugee camps) alongside the 7th annual Festival of Culture. The chosen theme: "So as not to forget and to keep the memory alive" refers to the slogan used by Saharawi citizens in the occupied territories on the occasion of the second anniversary of the uprising in El Ayoun.
On 12 October 1975, the majority of the members of the former djemaa (Saharawi General Assembly of Notables, set up by Spain) met near Aïn Ben Tili with leaders of the Polisario Front to ratify unity faced with the threat of Moroccan invasion and the betrayal of Spain.(SPS)
Marcia per la pace Perugia-Assisi, domenica 14 ottobre. Una delegazione sahrawi, condotta da Abdelkhader Taleb Omar (wali di Smara), sarà presente alla IV Assemblea dell'Onu dei popoli (Perugia, 11-13 ottobre, Palazzo Notari)
Página web dedicada al referéndum andaluz que se va a celebrar los próximos días 19, 20 y 21 de Octubre en todo Andalucía: <http://www.spr.net/referendum>
[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]