- OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
- NEW PUBLICATIONS
At the invitation of the Ecuador government, a Saharawi delegation led by the SADR Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, accompanied by the Saharawi Ambassador in Ecuador, El Hadj Ahmed, took part in ceremonies for the investiture of the new president of the country, Lucio Gutiérrez.
We have been notified of the arrest on 05.01.03 of Ezzine Mohamed-Fadel Ali Mouloudqui who is awaiting trial in the prison of El Ayoun. His arrest is thought to be related to demonstrations in November 2001. (corr)
Campaign for human rights
At the University of Agadir, Saharawi university students organised three days on the human rights situation in Western Sahara. The activities included information stands, a photographic exhibition, debates and a march. The level of participation was high: students from other universities, student organisations, human rights defenders, and former political detainees, including Mohamed Daddach all took part. Among the topics raised: in first place human rights abuse in all its forms including plunder of natural resources, but also the conflict of Western Sahara and the right to self-determination. (Detailed reports in french: BIRDHSO-NEWS + ARSO )
After giving notice with a hunger strike on 13-14 January, political prisoners in the Carcel Negra (black prison) in El Ayoun, started a second hunger strike on 20 January, which they intend to pursue until the 25th. In a "statement" they call for support for their action, which aims to get an improvement in prison conditions and the granting of political prisoner status to them.
You can send messages of support by fax to the prison in El Ayoun to the following fax number : 00 212 48 89 45 09.
New organisation for defence of human rights
A steering committee of Saharawi survivors from secret detention centres in Morocco, has been set up with the goal of creating an association aiming to disclose the truth about disappearances, obtain compensation for the victims and their families, and work in general for the respect of human rights. (Communiqué)
A Saharawi delegation led by Mohamed Sidati, Minister counselor and member of the National Secretariat of the Polisario Front, accompanied by Omar Mih, Polisario representative in Italy and Fatimatu Mahfud for the National Union of Saharawi Women, took part in a meeting of the Council of IS in Rome. A resolution on the conflict in Western Sahara was adopted which reaffirms without ambiguity the support of the Socialist Internationale for the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination as laid down in the peace plan and Houston Agreement. (full text)
UN - Secretary General's Report - S/2003/59
Finalised on 16 January, the day before his envoy's tour of the region, the report of Kofi Annan makes an assessment of the last 6 months since the adoption of resolution 1429 on 31 July 2002 which asked for any solution to be studied "which provides for self-determination".
The main new facts are listed: the pursuit of electronic archiving of the identification commission's findings, which will be finished in April, de-mining operations on both sides of the wall, the lifting of restrictions imposed by the Polisario Front in January 2002 on MINURSO observers, the release by the Polisario Front of 216 Moroccan prisoners of war in 2002, a request for the speedy release of the 1260 remaining, for the most part captured over 20 years ago, the trip of Mohamed Daddach to Norway and his reunion with his mother and sister.
A serious problem noted: the insufficiency of humanitarian aid with the consequence of an increase in the rate of malnutrition. Thanks to the mobilisation of the UNHCR, WFP and ECHO food needs were able to be met in 2002, but the present stocks will not provide for all needs in 2003.
The putting in place of confidence-building measures, means of communication and reciprocal visits between families in the camps and the occupied territories, is hitting a stumbling block over the choice of beneficiaries. The Polisario Front demands the implementation of the proposal of the UNCHR according to which the beneficiaries should be persons, on one side of the wall or the other, on the provisional voter list, while Morocco rejects any reference to the electoral list. In his observations and recommendations the SG refers to the latest mission of Baker and his new proposal, without revealing its contents, and asks for an extension of 2 months for MINURSO's mandate to give the parties the possibility of studying it and of responding. (Report english HTML - PDF: ) (Rapport S/2003/59, français: HTML - PDF: ) (Informe castellano: HTML - PDF)
Extension of MINURSO's mandate
In a press statement, the President of the Security Council, Mr Jean-Marc de La Sablière (France) announces that the members of the Council have taken note of the Secretary General's report of 16.01.03 and that they have decided to extend the mandate of MINURSO to "give the parties time to study the proposal which has been presented by the Personal Envoy of the Secretary General, James Baker III". (Press Release SC/7640)
Another world is possible
A delegation of the Spanish Coordination of solidarity associations with the Saharawi people (Coordinadora estatal de asociaciones de amistad con el pueblo saharaui) led by Abba Salek, secretary general of the Union of Saharawi Lawyers is taking part in the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre (Brazil). During the opening ceremony, the group walked through the streets of the town wearing traditional dress: darra and melhfa. During the coming days the Saharawi delegation will organise workshops, talks and debates to make known the struggle of the Saharawi people for their independence. (corr.)
REFERENDUM NOW - Action Campaign for the Implementation of the Peace Plan - new documents:
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Revista de la prensa española de la semana: http://www.nodo50.org/fpolisario/Prensa.htm
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