WEEKS 51 - 52 : 17.12.- 23.12.2006
17-19.12.06, African Union - Meeting the challenge of conflict prevention in Africa - towards the operationalization of the continental early warning system
A Saharawi delegation took part in a meeting of government experts, devoted to the early warning system in the case of catastrophe or conflict in Africa. [SPS]
20.12.06, European parliament
The Saharawi minister delegate for Europe, Mohamed Sidati, took part in a seminar on democracy and the promotion of human rights organised by the European Liberal Group, in the course of which he considered that the European Union should “ force Rabat, at the very least, to abide by the provisions of the agreement of the EU-Morocco Association, which commits the Union to make democratic principles and fundamental human rights to be respected.
OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO
23.12.06, World human rights day, continued
In a detailed report, the Saharawi Association of Victims of Serious Violations of Human Rights (ASVDH) vehemently denounced the repression of peaceful demonstrators on 10 December, World Human Rights Day, it asks the UN “to take necessary measures to implement the recommendations of the report of the mission of the High Commission for Human Rights, drawn up after its visit to Western Sahara last May”. The ASVDH also deplores the rejection, by judicial bodies, of numerous complaints lodged by the victims.
[Report About repression to which human rights defenders In Western Sahara were subjected on December 10th, ASVDH, 23.12.06]
Despite apparent calm, demonstrations are still taking place, such as in Smara on 14 December, where women gathered to ask for the release of Saharawi political prisoners. Arrests have not stopped. On 14 December, Zeibour Hamadi is arrested in El-Ayoun for an unknown reason, Mohamed Babar and Sidi Brahim Sidi Nayem in Dakhla for having brought photographic equipment into the town. [SPS]
In the night of 15 to 16 December, nine young Saharawis are arrested, and two are wounded during demonstrations in El ayoun, nine others are arrested the next day in the same town, as well as two mothers in Smara, suspected of giving refuge to demonstrators. [SPS]
Saharawi political prisoners from the Black Prison of El-Ayoun organised a sit-in in solidarity with Saharawi students who were attacked on 12 in Marrakech. In Mhamid E-Ghizlan (Southern Morocco), where a sit-in has been happening for six months demanding jobs and the respect of human rights, three Saharawis were wounded on 20 December during clashes with police. [SPS]
A Saharawi activist, Brahim El-Ansari was arrested on 24 December in El-Ayoun in a cybercafé where he works and was interrogated for five hours about his relations with human rights defenders. [ASVDH]
One of the letters of the month from Amnesty International (Switzerland) in December 2006 is destined for the Moroccan Prime Minister and asks for the immediate release of Brahim Sabbar.
18-20.12.06, visit of Tamek to Ireland, continued,
The Saharawi activist Ali Salem Tamek continued his tour of Ireland, where he had talks with a member of the European Parliament, Simon Coveney, who drew up the annual report of the EP in 2004 on human rights in the world and is also responsible for the 2006 report. Coveney was part of the EP delegation which was prevented from travelling to Western Sahara last October. He declared that the European Parliament (EP) remains convinced that the Baker plan is still the ideal framework for a solution of the conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front. [SPS]
On 20 December, Tamek was received by the chair of the Labour Party’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael D. Higgins, who visited the refugee camps several times. He then spoke to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Sub-Committee on Human Rights . The latter will ask the Moroccan government to respect freedom of movement, in particular that of Tamek, prevented since July 2006 from going to Western Sahara. It will ask the Irish government to commit in favour of a solution to the conflict in accordance with international law, and the EU to abstain from a fishing agreement with Morocco.[The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sub-Committee on Human Rights
The Human Rights and Political Situation in Western Sahara, Discussion with Mr. Ali Salem Al Tamek, human rights defender] Other documents: Prominent Western Saharan human rights defender in Dublin, press release Front line, 18.12.06. - Western Sahara human rights activist Ali Salem Tamek's international tour.
The president of the Association of Saharawi Lawyers, Abba Salek El Haissan, went to occupied El-Ayoun from 15 to 19 November, as part of the UNHCR exchange visit program. He was able to assess “the repressive security deployment put in place by Morocco”. Everywhere in the streets, he said, “one sees gendarmes and police, as well as rapid reaction forces, urban security forces, and auxiliary forces. All the quarters which are heavily populated with Saharawis are completely encircled, in a deliberate and ostentatious manner, to repress any attempt at free expression”. The Moroccan authorities “claim that they are developing the occupied territories whereas only the security infrastructures are in a good state”, he continued. “Moroccan settlers are running all the cafés and businesses, while the indigenous Saharawis for the most part are unemployed or obliged to emigrate”, using networks put in place by the Moroccan authorities themselves. [SPS]
A ship, Giuseppe Bottiglieri, hired by a firm, PCS Nitrogen, arrived in the United States carrying phosphates from Western Sahara. Another boat, Nemtas 2, loaded with 14,250 tonnes of phosphates from Western Sahara arrived in Baranquilla, Colombia, on 13 December.
The company, Island Oil and Gas has until the end of this year to follow up on the Saharawi government’s request for dialogue in a letter to the company, who recently signed with Morocco an oil exploration contract for one year in a zone partially in Saharawi territory.
18.12.06, oil and fishing
The agreement concluded between the Irish oil company Island Gas and Oil and the Moroccan government is illegal, just like the fishing agreement concluded between the European Union and Morocco, the Irish MEP, Simon Coveney declared, during his meeting with Tamek. [SPS]
Morocco reinforced its place as the biggest world exporter of phosphate of all kinds with a 33.3% share of the market at the end of June 2006, an advance of 2 points in relation to the same period of the preceding year, according to the Cherifian Office of Phosphates (OCP), quoted by Jeune Afrique.
The Moroccan Chamber of Concillors (equivalent of the Senate) ratified the fishing agreement with the EU of May 2005. It must still be signed by the king. [EUROPA PRESS]
The Polisario Front has pointed out that it “welcomes the position” of the Moroccan party Annahj Addimoucrati and that it is “studying with interest” its appeal [see week 49/50] for negotiations with Morocco, the Saharawi minister for the occupied territories, Khalil Sidi Mhamed, indicated, to the Moroccan newspaper, "Al Massa". [SPS]
17.12.06, Javier Solana
Referring to cooperation within North Africa, the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Common Security declares that “the question of Western Sahara is an obstacle. The present situation doesn’t suit anyone (...). It is in all our interests that this problem should be settled as soon as possible. Algeria has an important role to play in this regard. (...) the EU has always supported a political solution which is fair, lasting and mutually acceptable, and which allows – in accordance with the aims and principles of the United Nations Charter – for the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people. The EU is ready to go with any measure in this direction.” [El Khabar, Alger]
The parliament of the autonomous community of Navarra adopted unanimously a declaration supporting the holding “as soon as possible” of a referendum of self-determination of the Saharawi people under the auspices of the United Nations. [SPS]
The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs M. A. Moratinos, will contact the new UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, to ask him to help the parties to the conflict in Western Sahara to find a definitive solution to the problem through negotiations. [EFE]
The senator and former Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Josep Piqué, accused the socialist government of José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of not defending, as previous governments have done, international law in Western Sahara. [SPS]
The first Moroccan atomic reactor, with a capacity of 2 MWe, should be functioning before the end of the current year. It is situated at Maamara, 20 km north of Rabat.
The President of the Royal Consultative Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS), Khalihenna Ould Errachid, had talks in Rabat with the president of the German parliamentary committee for human rights, Herta Daubler-Gmelin.
Marisa Zamora, responsible for employment and social affairs within the Canaries government, accused the Moroccan authorities of inciting certain Saharawis, while still minors and who have taken part in demonstrations to emigrate to the Canaries. About a thousand minors are at present in the Canaries waiting to be transferred to continental Spain. [El Pais]
Mrs Farouk Ksentini, president of the national committee for the protection of human rights met Saharawi human rights defenders and promised to go to the camps. [SPS]
The Association of friends of SADR (AARASD) is very happy to announce the complete success of the humanitarian operation taking educational equipment which departed from Le Mans on 11 December 2006 for the Saharawi refugee camps.
160 people, mostly Spanish, travel to Saharawi camps for the end of year festivities and Eid el Kebir, at the initiative of the Coordinadora estatal de asociaciones solidarias con el Sáhara, CEAS-SÁHARA, as an act of solidarity and to hand over to the Saharawi Red Crescent funds collected in Spain. [SPS]
Annick Miské-Talbot died on 24 December 2006 in Paris.
Committed third world supporter and long term friend of the Saharawi people whose struggle she accompanied and supported from its beginnings, member of the French section of the International Western Sahara Referendum Watch and the Association of Friends of SADR in France, she published studies and analyses on the conflict of Western Sahara, including these ones accessible on internet:
January at 10.15am, Maison des Mines, 9, rue Pierre Nicole, Paris 5e,
burial the same day at 12.15pm , cimetière du Montparnasse.
11.01.07, Rallye Lisbonne-Dakar,
La sixième étape, Tan Tan - Zouérat, se déroulera en liaison sur 414 km lors de la traversée du Sahara Occidental. Le Front Polisario n'a pas autorisé le passage du rallye à travers le Sahara Occidental et les organisateurs n'ont pas eu de contact avec lui. Pour le FP, «toutes les expéditions organisées en concertation avec les autorités marocaines sont illégales». [24.12.06 El Watan]
Radio France culture:
27 décembre 2006: dans l'émission «Jusqu'à la lune et retour» par Aline Pailler: Muriel Diallo, auteure de «Karkaza et Toubaï» éditions L’Harmattan, un conte écrit et illustré par des enfants de Nanterre et des enfants sahraouis du Sahara Occidental. A écouter en ligne pendant quelques jours encore: http://www.radiofrance.fr/chaines/france-culture2/emissions/lune/fiche.php?diffusion_id=44096
29 décembre 2006: «Sahara occidental : une cicatrice dans le désert», par Aline Pailler, avec des interviews de militants sahraouis, d'un responsable de la MINURSO, d'une juriste internationale... A écouter pendant quelques jours: http://www.radiofrance.fr/chaines/france-culture2/emissions/sur_docks/fiche.php?diffusion_id=48377
Rediffusion le vendredi 5 janvier à 5h du matin.
Nouveau blog en arabe: http://tantanrasd.blogspot.com/
Actualizacion del Blog de los pintores saharauis: http://pintoressaharauis.blogspot.com/
Novedades en Cantabria por el Sáhara: http://www.labarored.org/interpueblos/Sahara/
[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]
>> Revue de la presse internationale francophone http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/revue-de-presse-sahara-occidental/messages
>> English publications on Sahara Update mailinglist: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sahara-update/messages
>> Revista de la prensa en español http://es.groups.yahoo.com/group/revista-de-prensa-sahara-occidental/messages
LA PUERTA DEL SÁHARA, Documental. 46 minutos. Guión y dirección: María Jesús Alvarado. Las personas, asociaciones, etc. interesadas en obtener información adicional de la película, pueden ponerse en contacto directamente con la productora Almacabra en la dirección de correo electrónico: firstname.lastname@example.org
Attualità in italiano: El Ouali Bologna: http://www.saharawi.org/saharawi.htm + Radio for Peace http://www.radiokcentrale.it/du.htm