sábado, 29 de novembro de 2008

New Danish Committee of support to the Saharawi people created in Copenhagen

A new Danish Committee of support to the Saharawi people was created last Thursday in Copenhagen and is calling on the European Union not to grant a so-called Advanced Status to Morocco, unless the occupied Western Sahara is specifically excluded from the agreement.

In a press release issued Friday, of which UPES received a copy, the Danish Support Committee for Western Sahara (DSCWS), also called on the “UN Secretary General Mr. Ban ki-moon to resume the negotiation process between the Moroccan government and POLISARIO Front with the aim to enable the people of Western Sahara to exercise freely their right to Self-determination”.

On the other hand, the text indicates that the new Committee aims to “raise awareness and promote the Solidarity with the Saharawi people”, as well as to “campaign for a free and fair referendum on self-determination for the Saharawi people”.

The Committee further expressed concerns about the serious human rights situation in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, and declared its willingness to campaign “against the illegal exploitation of Western Sahara’s natural resources, and
Promote intercultural exchange between The Saharawi and the Danish people”.

“Morocco commits widespread human rights violations against Saharawi people in the occupied territories who strive for self-determination in Western Sahara. More than 500 Saharawi have disappeared since Morocco invaded the territory in 1975”, the text adds.

The Danish Support Committee for Western Sahara, finally, “underlines that Morocco continues to be an illegally occupying power in Western Sahara, in violation of over 100 UN Resolutions which call for the Western Sahara’s people’s right to self-determination. Western Sahara is an occupied and annexed territory. Furthermore, the International Court of Justice has rejected Morocco’s claims over Western Sahara, and the UN considers the Western Sahara case as a decolonisation issue”.

The new Committee is constituted few days after a propaganda claims spread by Rabat media according to which the representation of Western Sahara in Copenhagen has been ordered to close down by the Danish government.

"Rubbish," say Danish sources, adding the false information comes as an answer to Danish media reports over a sex scandal at the Moroccan Embassy.

Asking several sources in Denmark why Moroccan government-controlled media would publish such a story at this moment, all independently told AFROL News that there had to be a connection with "the very amusing story" in Denmark’s conservative daily ‘Jyllands-Posten’ about a sex scandal at the Moroccan Embassy in Copenhagen.

Consul Raddad el Okbani at the Embassy is accused of sexual harassment and corruption by the Danish-Moroccan population, out of which around 200 took to the streets on 15 November to demand his resignation. Protesters told ‘Jyllands-Posten’ how the Consul repeatedly had demanded bribes and sexual services to get his signature on official documents. He was also reported to have taken photographs of visitors to the Embassy, threatening with reprisals in Morocco if his personal demands were not met.

The Consul has been removed from the Moroccan Embassy in Copenhagen, probably having been sent home to Rabat. But the demonstrators are not satisfied, still demanding legal actions to be taken against him.

Ms Pedersen, notably amused by the seldom scandal in the diplomatic landscape, holds that there may be a connection. The false Polisario office closure story was published "to take away the attention" from the Embassy scandal, she holds. Polisario representative Malainin agrees Moroccan officials had spread the false story "to cover and attract the public opinion from the scandalous shame in Morocco’s Embassy in Denmark."

But, Mr Malainin adds, the scam was also a reaction to Polisario’s relative successes in Denmark and other Nordic countries, where some political parties now even are in favour of recognising Western Sahara as a sovereign state, in line with the AU. "The Moroccan system is worrying about the raising awareness and solidarity of the just cause of the Saharawi people ... in all Scandinavia," he holds. "This increasing awareness and solidarity reached to a point that Moroccan system propaganda machine can not influence it," Mr Malainin adds.

ACTU calls on Australian government to play “an active and positive role” on the issue of Western Sahara at the UN

the Australian Council of the Trade Unions (ACTU) called on the Australian Federal government to play “an active and positive role” on the issue of Western Sahara at the UN, in a letter it sent to the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs last June.

ACTU recalled Minister Stephen Smith of the position adopted by the Labour Party in its last three national conferences, and indicated that Australian Trade Unions are paying a growing attention and concerns to the situation in Western Sahara.

Here is the letter sent by the ACTU, signed by the President of the Australian main Umbrella trade union, Sharon Burrow, and the Secretaries of the organisation in West Australia and New South Wells, respectively Dave Robinson and John Robertson, in addition to Peter Jennings, Executive Officer of the Union Aid Abroad APHEDA.



27 June 2008

The Hon Stephen Smith, MP
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister,

I am writing to draw your attention to the question of Western Sahara.

The issue of Western Sahara is a decolonisation issue. There are striking similarities between Western Sahara and East Timor. Both East Timor and Western Sahara were abandoned by the former powers and occupied by neighbouring countries in 1975, but while East Timor gained its independence, Western Sahara is still on the UN’s list of the Non-Self-Governing territories waiting for the right to self-determination.

Morocco constructed a 2.000 km wall to seal the Territory while it embarked on hideous human rights abuses. It also forced thousands Saharawis to flee their homeland and seek refuge in neighbouring Algeria where they have been living in dire conditions for the past 33 years.

The issue of Western Sahara has an impact on issues that are relevant to Australia’s foreign policy such as the role of the UN, international peace and stability.

Western Sahara is also relevant to Australia because it concerns issues of human rights, respect of international legality and the illegal exploitation of natural resources.

We are proud of the fact that the trade union movement in Australia, as well as the ALP, have been very supportive for the struggle for freedom and emancipation in Western Sahara.

We are delighted that the ALP has adopted during its past three National Conferences a very positive Policy on Western Sahara. (Please see Chapter 14 of the last ALP Platform-The text is attached herewith.)

Since the ALP position on this issue is clear and positive I hope that the Federal government can play an active and positive role on this issue at the UN as we did in the past. Australia contributed a contingent of signals to the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO) in 1991 and voted in favour of resolutions supporting the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.

We would be grateful if you could kindly clarify the position of the Federal Government on this issue and whether our government still supports the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.

We would appreciate an early response as our organisations are very concerned about the present situation in Western Sahara.

Yours sincerely

Signed by:
Sharon Burrow, President of the ACTU
Dave Robinson, Secretary Unions WA
John Robertson, Secretary Unions NSW
Peter Jennings, Executive Officer Union Aid Abroad APHEDA

ALP Platform:


Western Sahara
139- Labor supports the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and is concerned about allegations of human rights abuses in the occupied areas of Western Sahara. Labor believes in maintaining an appropriate dialogue with the Polisario Front, the legitimate representative of the people of Western Sahara. In government Labor will support UN efforts to organise a free and fair referendum on independence in Western Sahara, and calls on the UN to press Morocco to implement all UN resolutions pertaining to Western Sahara.

140- Labor urges the Australian Government to extend all due assistance to the UN in its efforts to organise a free and fair referendum in Western Sahara, and to maintain an appropriate dialogue with the Polisario Front, the legitimate representative of the people of Western Sahara. Labor calls on the UN to press Morocco to implement UN resolutions with regards to the decolonisation process in Western Sahara, the last non-self-governing African territory on the UN decolonisation list.

"L’armée sahraouie est prête pour le retour aux hostilités si cela est nécessaire", (commandant de la deuxième région militaire)

Tifariti (territoires sahraouis libérés), Le membre du Secrétariat national du Front Polisario, commandant de la deuxième région militaire, Brahim Ahmed Mahmoud a déclaré que l’armée de libération populaire sahraouie (ALPS) "est prêté pour le retour aux armes si cela est nécessaire".

Le commandant sahraoui qui se prononçait après les défilés militaires célébrant la deuxième édition Art Tifariti, a réaffirmé en présence des artistes et de la presse internationale, que "l’ALPS se charge de la protection du patrimoine et des sites archéologiques sahraouis".

Les participants à cette édition qui prendra fin mardi prochain, ont visité les sites archéologiques de la région de Tifariti libérée, a-t-on indiqué.

D’autre part, le représentant du Front Polisario en Grèce, Sleiman Ahmed a réaffirmé dans une déclaration à la SPS, que "Art Tifaritri constitue un soutien culturel artistique et médiatique à la cause du peuple sahraoui".

"Cet évènement artistique et culturel exprime également la solidarité internationale avec la question du Sahara occidental, à travers la présence massive des artistes venus de l’Amérique latine, de l’Europe et de l’Afrique", a ajouté le diplomate sahraoui.

"Le Maroc est isolé au niveau international, en raison de son occupation illégale d’un pays membre de l’Union africaine", a-t-il précisé, soulignant "qu’aucun pays au monde ne reconnaît la souveraineté du Maroc sur le Sahara occidental".

Le diplomate sahraoui a enfin dénoncé la répression marocaine contre les citoyens sahraouis sans défense dans les territoires occupés du Sahara occidental, qui mènent l’Intifada pacifique réclamant le droit de leur peuple à l’autodétermination et à l’indépendance.

MUA concerned about shipment of phosphate from Western Sahara

The Maritime Union of Australia expressed concern about some Australian companies shipment of phosphate from the occupied territories of Western Sahara, the Union stressed in a written statement.

In the statement signed by its WA Branch Secretary, Mr. Chris Cain, and his assistants, the Australian union considered its concerns “legitimate as the phosphate mined in Western Sahara and subsequently shipped to the Fermantle Ports do not belong to the beneficiaries of the trade but is a resource belonging to the Saharawi people, not the foreign occupiers of Western Sahara”, referring to Morocco.

The text recalled that the Moroccan exploitation of Saharawi phosphate and other resources, with the complicity of some international companies and countries, “has been condemned in many international forums, principally in the UN”.

Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa, is still awaiting for the UN to fulfil its “mandate to organise a referendum of the Saharawis to determine the future of their land and resources”, MUA considered.

Consequently, MUA estimated that “trading in phosphate before such a plebiscite jeopardises its results and, further, places into question future trading relations with companies complicit in the current trading arrangements”.

On the other hand, MUA expressed concerns about the human rights violations “carried out by the Moroccan government since its occupation of Western Sahara since 1975”.

The statement further incriminated “the forceful separation of the Saharawis by Morocco’s construction of a military wall dividing the territory and physically separating the inhabitants”.

Such abomination, “is witness to the contempt the Moroccan government has towards the indigenous inhabitants” of Western Sahara, MUA said.

MUA, and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), the statement indicated are lobbying the Australian government to convince it carry out he policies adopted on Western Sahara by the Australian Labour Party in three previous National Conference.

It is also campaigning against the Australian companies that export Saharawi phosphate to convince them give up these dubious trade.

MUA, finally, declared it will keep on campaigning and raising awareness about the question of Western Sahara “until the Saharawis can determine” their future and the future of their resources.

Melbourne plays host to African Studies conference
Cate Lewis, AWSA

Many scholars from around Australia and abroad attended the “31st annual conference of the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific” (AFSAAP) hosted by Monash University. It was held in the centre of Melbourne at the State Library of Victoria’s conference centre 26-28 December 2008, and entitled Building a common future, Africa and Australasia, see http://www.meetings.com.au/africa/.

The Australia Western Sahara Association held an information stall about Western Sahara and had the opportunity to talk with many conference-goers from Australia and overseas.

It was useful to raise the profile of Western Sahara in a few cases where people confessed ignorance of the conflict. However, most congratulated us on our presence. Many greeted the stall warmly, being familiar with the issue over many years. A man from Somalia said it was high time Western Sahara achieved its independence.

The conference recognises that Australia-Pacific region’s growing economic, political, social and cultural ties with Africa provide an opportunity not only to explore our communalities further but also to work together on shared issues, such as climate change, education, health and security, to develop sustainable, mutually beneficial solutions.

Since 1978, the annual African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) conference has been bringing together Africa-focused scholars, students, government and diplomatic staff, business, industry and individuals to discuss Africa and the issues, challenges and opportunities which the continent faces.

Le Congrès des députés espagnol réaffirme le droit du peuple sahraoui à l'autodétermination

Madrid, La commission des Affaires étrangères du Congrès des députés espagnol (Chambre basse du Parlement) a adopté jeudi, à l'unanimité, une résolution appelant le gouvernement socialiste de José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero à défendre la nécessité d'une solution "urgente, juste et définitive" au conflit du Sahara occidental "dans le cadre du Conseil de Sécurité de l'ONU et conformément à la légalité internationale".

Initié par les groupes parlementaires de la Gauche républicaine catalane et de la Gauche Unie-Initiative pour la Catalogne des Verts (ERC-IU-ICV), le texte demande également à l'exécutif espagnol de "promouvoir toutes les initiatives politiques qui contribuent à aboutir à un accord consensuel" entre le Maroc et le Front Polisario, devant " respecter la légalité internationale et le droit légitime du peuple sahraoui à l'autodétermination, à travers l'organisation d'un référendum, en accord avec la Charte des Nations unies et les résolutions du Conseil de Sécurité".

Les parlementaires espagnols l'ont invité aussi à amener les autorités marocaines à "libérer les prisonniers sahraouis incarcérés en raison de l'exercice de leurs droits et libertés fondamentales et à garantir le respect des droits de l'homme dans ce conflit".

Dans ce contexte, ils ont invité leur gouvernement à signer des accords avec le Maroc pour permettre à une délégation non gouvernementale et parlementaire espagnole de "visiter sans restriction les territoires sahraouis occupés" afin de "connaître de près la réalité" des citoyens dans ces territoires.

Tout en exigeant du gouvernement espagnol de "s'abstenir de soutenir toute mesure unilatérale affaiblissant ses possibilités de jouer un rôle équitable dans la recherche d'une solution juste au conflit", les députés lui ont demandé de "reconsidérer les ventes d'armes (au Maroc) dans le cadre de la loi en vigueur sur le commerce des armes et du Code de conduite de l'Union européenne".

Le gouvernement espagnol est appelé, d'autre part, à "poursuivre et intensifier la collaboration avec le Front Polisario dans le domaine de l'aide humanitaire et la coopération technique, particulièrement à travers les ONG espagnoles, dans les campements de réfugiés sahraouis.

Dans ce sens, les parlementaires ont insisté auprès du gouvernement espagnol pour qu'il poursuive et renforce les mesures nécessaires visant à prévenir de manière urgente une crise alimentaire dans les campements sahraouis, en apportant les fonds nécessaires au Programme alimentaire mondial (PAM).

Les parlementaires ont souligné, par ailleurs, qu'en se rapprochant des thèses du Maroc dans ce conflit, le gouvernement espagnol "n'a pas respecté l'orientation marquée par le Congrès des députés".

Le Congrès des députés avait adopté à l'unanimité, le 17 mai 2005, une résolution sur le Sahara occidental dans laquelle il demandait au gouvernement espagnol de promouvoir toutes les initiatives politiques pour parvenir à un accord entre les parties (le Front Polisario et le Maroc), devant respecter la légalité internationale et le droit légitime du peuple sahraoui à l'autodétermination.

Les parlementaires ont également reproché au gouvernement d'avoir "soutenu
activement le récent accord de pêche signé entre l'UE et le Maroc, qui inclut
les eaux du Sahara occidental, ce qui a été interprété par le Front Polisario
comme un alignement sur les positions expansionnistes de Rabat".