Tuesday, April 04, 2006
POLISARIO HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY
The decades long struggle in the Western Sahara has suddenly broken in to the international (though not the US) news.
The first article is from MISNA. The second is from the Sahara Press Service. The third article is from Reuters AlertNet.
POLISARIO FRONT: UN SHOULD ENSURE HUMAN RIGHTS OR RETREAT
The head of the ‘Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguiat el Hamra and del Río de Oro’, known as the ‘Polisario Front’, Mohammed Abdelaziz, at the end of a meeting with the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has asked the UN to protect and guarantee human rights for the Saharawi people. Otherwise, it should retire the ‘Mission for the referendum in Western Sahara’ (Minurso). “I told Annan very clearly that if Minurso is not capable to fulfill its mandate to oversee the convening of a referendum for the self determination of the Saharawi and is not even capable of protecting our human rights, then its existence has no sense. They should pack their bags and leave”, said Abdelaziz during a press conference at UN headquarters in New York. The head of the Polisario Front also complained to Annan about the repression to which the Saharawi people have been forced to endure during the visit of the king Mohamed VI, which occurred more than a week ago: “All this happened, in a very unpleasant manner”, he said while noting that he asked for the extension of the mandate of Minurso, such that it might dedicate itself more to defending the rights of all Saharawis”.
Smara considers the Moroccan Government as "accountable" for the victims of the repression
Smara (occupied territories), 03/04/2006 (SPS) The Saharawi citizens in the occupied city of Smara considered the Moroccan Government as "accountable" for the victims of the Moroccan repression against Saharawi civilians last week, causing many dozens wounded, many of whom were evacuated in emergency to the hospital of the occupied city of El Aaiun.
"We express our unconditional support and solidarity with all the victims of Smara", underlined a press release publicised Monday by the Saharawi citizens of the occupied city of Smara, of which SPS received a copy.
"We reaffirm our determination to continue the peaceful resistance until the liberation and independence", rejecting "the preposition of autonomy" presented by Morocco, which "aims to consolidate the illegal occupation of the Western Sahara, and which is contrary to all international resolutions that stipulate the holding of a just and transparent self-determination referendum" in the Western Sahara.
The Saharawi citizens of the occupied city of Smara also reiterated their "attachment to the legitimate right of the Saharawi people to self-determination" under the auspices of the UN, African Union and conforming to the international legality, the press release underlined.
Smara was the theatre, last week, of a wide campaign of repression committed by the Moroccan forces of repression against the Saharawi civilians, causing more than 130 wounded persons and many dozens were arrested, it should be recalled.
Polisario Front called on the UN’s Security Council to send a UN’s mission of the High Commissioners for human Rights to investigate on the Moroccan human rights violations in the occupied territories of the Western Sahara.
INTERVIEW-Polisario presses UN on rights in Western Sahara
By Irwin Arieff
UNITED NATIONS, April 4 (Reuters) - The head of Western Sahara's independence movement accused Morocco on Tuesday of repeatedly barring U.N. human rights experts from visiting the resource-rich region which it claims as part of its territory.
Mohamed Abdelaziz, secretary-general of the Polisario Front, said in an interview with Reuters and the Spanish news agency EFE, he urged U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday to crack down on human rights abuses in the northwest African territory of about 260,000 people.
Abdelaziz said Annan had told him a delegation of rights experts had failed three times so far to gain access to the territory and he would now push for a fourth attempt.
Asked about Abdelaziz's remarks, a U.N. official said the two men had discussed human rights in Western Sahara and Annan was "looking into the issue."
Moroccan diplomats in New York had no immediate comment.
Amnesty International this week expressed serious concerns about Morocco's detention of human rights activists and critics of its policies and security practices in Western Sahara.
Numerous cases of apparent intimidation and harassment of rights defenders took place around the time of King Mohammed VI's visit to the territory in late March, the London-based rights group said.
Morocco, claiming centuries-old rights over the territory rich in phosphates, fisheries and possibly offshore oil, annexed it after former colonial power Spain withdrew in 1975.
That triggered a low-level guerrilla war with the Algerian-backed Polisario, which seeks an independent state.
A U.N. cease-fire agreement in 1991 promised residents the chance to vote in referendum on independence. But the vote never took place and Morocco now insists the most it will offer is regional autonomy.
Annan is due to submit a progress report to the Security Council by April 20 on diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute. The mandate of the peacekeeping operation there, the U.N. Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, expires at the end of this month and some Security Council members have suggested the force be scaled back if the deadlock continues.
Abdelaziz said peacekeepers should "pack up and go" if they cannot deliver on their promises.
"The mission has a clear mandate to end colonization and organize a referendum on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara," he said. "This is the time to ask Morocco to respect the Security Council resolutions."