Révolte des Sahraouis - Revolt of the Saharawis - Revuelta de los Saharauis

Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA)

P.O. Box 846,Rozelle, NSW 2039, Australia
Inc. 3496396

Email: lesleyosborne@bigpond.com
website: www.awsa-westernsahara.org/


News Release - 25 May 2005


Moroccan invaders crush peaceful demonstrations in Western Sahara's capital El Aaiun

On 21 May prisoner of conscience Ahmed Mahmoud Hadi (Kainan) was transfered using brutal force from a prison in Western Sahara's capital, El Aaiun to a prison in Morocco near Agadir. The next day when they were conducting a peaceful sit-in to protest this action, they were suddenly set upon by Moroccan military and police and bashed. Many were hospitalized.

Morocco's occupying forces then placed all the Saharawi (Western Saharan) neighbourhoods in El Aaiun under siege. Then on 24 and 25 May the Moroccan forces used truncheons to put down peaceful protests against that seige. They also broke into many Saharawi homes assaulting women and children and looting property.

The President of the Sahara Arab Democratic Republic and Secretary General of the Polisario Front, Mohamed Abdulaziz, the leader of the government democratically elected by the approximately 190,000 Saharawis who live in the refugee camps near Tindouf in south-west Algeria, has protested Morocco's action to the President of the UN Security Council, Ellen Margrethe Loj, naming many of those injured by the Moroccan forces or whose homes were invaded and family members assaulted.

He has called upon the UN to give its mission, MINURSO, already in the Western Sahara to bring about its decolonization, a mandate to protect the lives and property of Saharawi citizens and to complete the decolonization process by conducting, as soon as possible, the long awaited and regularly reaffirmed UN sponsored referendum giving the Saharawi people their right to self-determination.

AWSA expresses its shock at the brutality of the Moroccan action in suppressing peaceful demonstrations in El Aaiun and its concern for those injured and assaulted. It calls upon the Australian Government to use its good offices at the UN and its presidency of the UN Human Rights Commission to press for a MINURSO mandate to protect Saharawi citizens and for the long awaited referendum on self-determination by the Saharawi to take place without further delay despite Morocco's refusal to abide by the UN's resolutions.

At a fund raising function held by AWSA Friday 27 May 2005, the more than 80 people present agreed to the publication of the following statement:

In response to the brutal suppression of Saharawi demonstrators in occupied Western Sahara during the past week,

1. We express our solidarity with the Saharawi people in the occupied territory of Western Sahara.

2. We demand that the Moroccan Government stop human rights abuses immediately and release the imprisoned and disappeared Saharawis immediately.

3. We call on the UN and its mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to urge Morocco to end its repression of Saharawis and fix a date for the referendum for self-determination. It is unacceptable that these grave human rights abuses take place in front of the eyes of the UN.

4. We urge the Australian government to ask Morocco to stop human rights abuses in the occupied areas of Western Sahara and respect the UN resolutions calling for a referendum for self-determination in Western Sahara.

As Australians we have experienced the importance of international solidarity in achieving independence and justice for the people of East Timor. We stand strongly in our support for the right of the Saharawi people of Western Sahara to have the same opportunity for self-determination.

Contact: Nick O'Neill, President AWSA, (02)9810 8603.

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