Human Rights

Eleven Sahrawi men, without passports or papers, are struggling to survive.
For the last three months, they have been living from hand to mouth in a rundown hotel in Rabat. They disappeared from the public register in 1991 when they were freed from an El Ayoun prison. They have no rights because they have no official identity. The bureaucracy has no record of them. Noumar, Douhan and their comrades have written letters to Hassan II and the Moroccan government on behalf of some 320 ex-disappeared who have become ex-prisoners. "All we are asking for is to be recognized as human beings," is their refrain to anyone who will listen. Today, 50 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the absurd situation of these individuals from the former Spanish Sahara is only a drop in the ocean of human misery (excerpt from an article published in El Pais on 10.12.98 regarding the 11 ex-disappeared currently in Rabat.)

Report issued by the Secretary-General on the Western Sahara S/1998/1160 of 11.12.98

The Secretary-General has issued a report on his visit to the region. It confirms that the Polisario Front has officially accepted all of the proposed measures (S/1998/997). Algeria and Mauritania have also declared their full support. For its part, Morocco has expressed its "concerns regarding key provisions" of the proposed package. It contests the correctness of the proposed measures, has called for clarifications but has put off planned consultations on the complaints and identification procedures. Meanwhile, Morocco continues to withhold the engineering unit's communication equipment at the El Ayoun airport. Given the current context, Kofi Annan has abandoned his intentions of publishing the provisional voter' s list on December 1 and has given Morocco 6 weeks, until Jan. 31, 1999 to accept the proposed measures. If it fails to do so, James Baker will review the situation and the viability of MINURSO's mandate.

El Youssoufi's visit to Southern Morocco and occupied Western Sahara

The Moroccan Prime Minister announced that closing the book definitively on the "Sahara question" will allow Morocco to address the development needs and the resolution of major socio-economic challenges in the "southern provinces." Youssoufi emphasized that the "Morocco's southern provinces , with or without a referendum, are an integral part of the Kingdom."

Security Council resolution
S/RES/1215 (1998)
The Council has renewed its support for all of the Secretary-General's proposals. It has extended MINURSO's mandate until 31.01.99, in order to permit the continuation of consultations [with Morocco]. It has called on the parties to sign the protocol on repatriation as soon as possible, and is urging Morocco to formalize the UNHCR's presence in the Western Sahara as well as to sign the accord on the status-of-forces. The Council has asked Kofi Annan to submit his next report on 22.01.99.

Moroccan Declaration

In response to the Security Council's resolution, Morocco's permanent representative to the United Nations, Ahmed Snoussi, stressed that before according its unanimous support, "Morocco has made it clear that whatever the authors' intentions of these proposals, we can hardly accept provisions that question the peace process and that prejudicially affect us" (MAP).


Hundreds of people participated in a demonstration organized in front of the Spanish foreign affairs department in Madrid. They called on the government to put pressure on Morocco to guarantee a free and fair referendum in the Western Sahara (BBC News).

A Sahrawi delegation, led by Mohamed Lamine Ahmed, political advisor to the president of the SADR, was received by the president of the Algerian popular national assembly and by the president of the national council. The Sahrawi delegation presented an overview of the Sahrawi situation in light of the Houston Agreements and Kofi Annan's recent visit to the region.

The AMDH (Moroccan human rights association) issued its annual report on human rights in Morocco. It has called to account all those responsible for violations. According to the AMHD, the issue of political detentions cannot be definitively laid to rest until the professional and medical needs of those who have been freed have been addressed. It also demands that Serfaty to able to return to his homeland that that his Moroccan nationality no longer be called into question. The report calls for an end to the house arrest of Cheikh Yassine (Ach-Chark Al-Awsat, London).

"Early Day Motion" signed by 79 Members of the British House of Commons is tabled:
«That this House notes and applauds the recent efforts of the Secretary General of the United Nations to ensure that a free and fair referendum of self-determination is held under the auspices of the United Nations to determine the status of Western Sahara; welcomes the clarity with which his new proposals have been agreed to by the Polisario Front; further looks forward to the acceptance of the new proposals by Morocco; and calls on Her Majesty's Government to use all avenues open to it to exert pressure on Morocco to comply with the proposals».


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