WEEKS 51-52 : 18.12.-31.12.2005
The Polisario Front announces in London that six British oil companies, among them Premier Oil, are short-listed for the award of oil exploration licences for the 12 off-shore lots made available for bids by SADR. The final choice will be announced in the second week of January. [The Business online, UK, 18.12.05]
The autumn session of the Saharawi National Council (parliament) was held in the wilaya of Ausserd. The parliament studied reports from the government and approved its program for 2006.
The Saharawi Ambassador at the African Union, Lehbib Breika, handed a letter from the President of the Saharawi Republic to the President of the African Commission, Alpha Omar Konaré, in which he asks the African Union to condemn Morocco's serious human rights abuses in the occupied territories of Western Sahara. The letter also makes reference to the taking charge of African immigrants, expelled by the Morocco authorities and given refuge by the Polisario Front, which is always in the liberated zones.
In a joint statement signed in Montevideo by the Saharawi Foreign Minister, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek and the Uruguan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Reinaldo Gargano, Uruguay announced its official recognition of SADR. This recognition is "a strong message to the international community to accelerate the decolonization of Western Sahara, in accordance with international law", said Lehreitani Lehssan, in charge of the mission from the Saharawi presidency. M'hamed Khaddad, responsible for relations with the UN, for his part, described this recognition as "a great victory for the Saharawi people". For the Saharawi Ambassador in Algiers, Mohamed Beissat, "after the recognition by South Africa, it is a new very powerful message from the international community in favour of the rights of Saharawis to self-determination and an illustration of the increasingly noticeable isolation of Morocco within the international scene." [Joint statement ]
82 states at present recognise SADR. [list]
Morocco, which "learnt with profound astonishment" of the recognition of SADR by Uruguay, called this gesture "a hostile and unfriendly act" and accused Uruguay of "reneging on its previous commitment to work towards the search for a peaceful, lasting and negotiated solution within the United Nations." Morocco underlined that Uruguay's arguments are "weak and incoherent" and that this act "constitutes an affront to the unanimous feelings of the Moroccan people".
The President of the Mauritanian Military Council for Justice and Democracy, Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Val, greeted the President of the Saharawi Republic on the occasion of the New Year, during a telephone conversation. [SPS]
OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO
The Spanish Commission and Foundation for Refugee Aid (CEAR) awarded the 5th Juan María Bandrés Prize for the defence of the right to asylum and solidarity with refugees to Aminatou Haidar, for her exemplary peaceful struggle for the rights of the Saharawi people and for the respect of international law in Western Sahara under Moroccan military occupation. Aminatou has been in prison since 17 June in the Black Prison of El Ayoun, where she was sentenced several days ago to 7 months' imprisonment. [más]
A demonstration on Friday 16 December brought together numerous people from many areas of El Ayoun and the Unity camps established on the outskirts of the town, in addition, pupils from several educational establishments. Following a very brutal intervention by police forces dozens of people were wounded and 120 were arrested, beaten, even tortured, and about fifteen houses were trashed. [more] [photos 1 + photos 2 ]
Ten persons were presented to the public prosecutor, six were found guilty and imprisoned in the Black Prison, four were released.
There were four girls, held and interrogated for several days, beaten and tortured by well-known torturers: Aboulhassan, Hamid Bahri and Rabiiaa in the CID police station and at the PC of the CMI. Eleven people, including women, some injured, were driven by night about twenty kilometers out of town and abandoned in the desert, some without clothes, after having been beaten.[more] [video on Cahiers du Sahara]
[the list of Saharawi political prisoners has been updated]
There were many protests in reaction to these events:
The Association of Families of Saharawi Prisoners and Disappeared (AFAPREDESA) and the Union ofSaharawi Jurists (UJS), the association of solidarity from Seville, the National Algerian Committee of Solidarity with the Saharawi People (CNASPS). The associations, AARASD and CORELSO organised a demonstration in Paris on 23.12.05. (see below)
The minister for the occupied territories and the Saharawi community abroad, Khalil Sidi Mohamed, in a statement warned public opinion about the dangers represented by the repressive policy of the Moroccan authorities to a peaceful settlement of the Saharawi conflict and for the stability of the region.
Two Saharawis, Likhrif Mahmoud and Laroussi, were arrested in Smara. Their families and other Saharawi citizens demonstrated outside the police station to call for their release. In Boujdour, Chaker Lahbib Khaya was arrested and beaten for having placed the SADR flag on a public building. [SPS]
Equity and Reconciliation Body
"In the context of the Saharawi conflict, the investigations of the IER provided clarification on the fate of 211 people presumed disappeared. 144 of them died during or following armed clashes. For 40 of them, their identities, places of death and burial have been determined. For 88 others, if their identity and their places of death have been found, the location of their grave is not yet known. 12 people who died have not been identified, while 4 others, injured, arrested and hospitalised died in hospitals and were buried in cemetries that are located. Finally, 67 people presumed disappeared were brought to Tindouf in Algeria by the intermediary of the ICRC on 31 October 1996."
Two Saharawi children, Myriam Mahmoud (a 14 year-old girl) and Taki Saadeddine were arrested and subjected to bad treatment after a demonstration in the Alawda quarter. Their families declared that the state of their physical and psychological health is "catastrophic".
Two Saharawis working in the Cherifian Office of Phosphates (OCP) were abducted at their place of work by plain clothes agents from the Moroccan general information. Their fate is unknown.
Three elderly people were mortally wounded and a fourth is in a critical state after having been knocked over by a truck driven by a Moroccan soldier in a street in Dakhla.
New independentist demonstrations followed by the arrest of three Saharawi citizens, Nah Tarik, injured in one leg, Elhad Mustapha and Hanini Mohamed. The three young men were savagely maltreated during their arrest and tortured for 3 hours.
In a letter sent to the president of the Security Council, Emyr Jones Parry, the Saharawi president asked for an "extraordinary session" of the Security Council to be held in order to give MINURSO the means to protect the civil population. [Full text SPS]
The court of first instance in El Ayoun sentenced a student, Sid'Ahmed N'dour, to a sentence of 4 months' imprisonment, for having "humiliated an agent of public order and taken part in non- authorised gatherings." [SPS]
A soldier, Mohamed Ali Ruimi, disappeared on 24.11.05, reappeared on 19.12.05 at the PC of the CMI in El Ayoun.
Independentist demonstrations took place in the four main Saharawi occupied towns, Dakhla, El Aaiun, Smara and Boujdour, where two people, Khaya Bachir and Mahjoub Soudani, were arrested.
A big demonstration for independence was held in the main street of the holy city, followed by the intervention of the police and temporary arrests accompanied by bad treatment and torture.
Sidi ould Ali ould Barka, 85 years old, died in El Ayoun hospital following injuries sustained during the intervention of police forces on 16 December.
Saharawi students from El Mansour Eddahbi school organised a peaceful march in favour of independence of the Sahara, rapidly and brutally dispersed by the police. Several people are injured.
Human Rights NGOs
The Executive of the Moroccan Forum for Truth and Justice called the Moroccan Minister of Justice to "free all political prisoners", particularly the Saharawi activists, and denounced the conditions under which their trial took place.
For its part, the Moroccan Association for the defence of human rights, at the end of the meeting of its central executive, pointed to "the worrying backsliding in the respect of human rights (in Morocco)". [SPS]
The Saharawi political prisoners in the prisons of El Ayoun, Ait Melloul, Kenitra and Sraghna (Morocco), declared their solidarity with El Agdadi Ali, a Saharawi political detainee in Tiznit, on hunger strike since 12 December last. El Agdadi, who was maltreated, makes a claim to transfer to Aït Melloul, where there are other Saharawi political prisoners.
A new, hitherto unheard of, tactic discovered by the Moroccan special services : ban on entry to a town. Moustapha Tamek, a human rights activist, was prevented from entering the towns of Dakhla and Boujdour by security agents who let him know he was not approved.[more]
Sidi Mohamed Ambarek Haidala, nicknamed Bahi, born in 1976 in El Ayoun, was killed by a mine in the region of Aougharnat in Western Sahara while he was collecting firewood.
About a hundred people demonstrated outside the wilaya (town) office of Goulimine, protesting about the repression in Western Sahara, demanding the release of the Saharawi political prisoners, expressing their solidarity with El Agdadi Ali on hunger strike and demanding work for the unemployed. The police forces attempted for several hours to disperse the gathering, then finally beat the demonstrators violently with truncheons. Several people were injured, some were hospitalised.
Police forces brutally intervened inside Al Fatah institute, seriously wounding several Saharawi students. They had protested against a philosophy teacher, who by his discriminatory remarks had attacked the dignity of the Saharawi people. Families of the injured students publicly denounced these events and called for those responsible to be punished.
The Saharawi president sent a letter to the 55 Saharawi political prisoners incarcerated in the prisons of El Ayoun, Tiznit, Kenitra and elsewhere on the occasion of the New Year. He expressed his solidarity and his unconditional support to those he called the "heroes" of the peaceful Saharawi struggle for independence. [SPS]
The second trial of the fourteen human rights defenders sentenced on 14 December will take place on Tuesday 3 January at the penal court of El Ayoun.
In the context of the program of exchange visits of families between the camps in Tindouf and occupied Western Sahara, ten families from the region of Rio de Oro embarked in Dakhla, bound for for Tindouf, while eight families coming from the camps arrived in Dakhla.
York- Secretary-General's year-end press conference (unofficial
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you appointed a new Special Envoy to the Western Sahara this year, and he's scheduled to deliver his report next month. Are you confident that 2006 will be the year to resolve the Western Sahara question?
SG: I think that that issue is too complex for 2006. But we will persevere.
The European Commission approved the regulations of the new EU fishing agreement with Morocco, which grants to Spain 95 fishing licences in waters under Moroccan sovereignty and administration, therefore, also in Saharawi territorial waters. The agreement must still be approved by the parliament.
Numerous French and Saharawi activists from the Committee for the respect of freedoms and human rights in Western Sahara (CORELSO) and the Association française des amis de la RASD met on the human rights square - place du Trocadéro &endash; to "denounce the intensification of the repression exercised by the Moroccan authorities against the Saharawi population".
The Federation of associations in solidarity with the Saharawi people from the Spanish region of Andalusia (FANDAS) collected over 1,000 tonnes of food, medical and educational supplies which will be taken to the Saharawi refugee camps.
Narcís Soler i Masferrer
Universitat de Girona - Facultat de Lletres
Plaça Ferrater i Mora, 1, 17071 GIRONA
0034 972418788 972418200 fax:972418230
Brahim Cheij Breih
Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte
Conférence mondiale de solidarité avec le peuple sahraoui aura lieu le 27 février 2006 dans la localité libérée de Tifariti
World Conference of Solidarity with the Saharawi People in the Liberated City of Tifariti.
Neue Webseite: Demokratische arabische Republik Sahara: http://www.jaimetna.de/
Freedom in the World 2006: Charts and Report (PDF docs)
- Quand les mots perdent leur sens ! Baba Sayed
- Review of the ESISC Report on the POLISARIO Front, Sidi M. Omar
- Una Pregunta ????? Agaila Abba Hemeida
- Marocains (es) l'heure du choix a sonné ! Baba Sayed
- TREINTA Y ..., Mohamed Ali
- QUE NO DECAIGA EL ANIMO, Mohamed Salem Ali
- Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps ! Baba Sayed
- Treinta años de preguntas y respuestas, Zouri Saguia
- What Lies Behind the ESISC Report, Khatry Beirouk
[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]
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