segunda-feira, 22 de dezembro de 2008

“Moroccans hang their problems on Algeria’s pegboard”

The official Moroccan campaign targeting Algeria is owed to Algeria’s backing up self determination plan in the Western Sahara disputed territory, said the Minister of State, Personal Representative of the President of Republic, Mr. Abdelaziz Belkhadem.
In a press conference he held following the FLN Council meeting, Mr. Belkhadem has approached again the critics made by Moroccan high officials to Algeria. He said Algeria does not intend worsening her relationships with Morocco. He further indicated that the campaign launched by “brothers in Morocco, does not serve the fraternal relationships between both countries. The political stability in Morocco and western Sahara and in the entire region is very important to Algeria,” he has been quoted as saying.
Moreover, Mr. Belkhadem added that reserves emitted by Algeria over the claim of the Moroccan authorities, which required the opening of borders has arisen the Moroccan authorities’ anger, through accusations saying that Algeria is hindering the construction of the Maghreb Union.
According to Mr. Belkhadem, the Moroccan authorities make Algeria responsible of the problems they are facing; pointing out that Morocco is intending to show Algeria as a responsible of internal social and economical problems they are facing.

HRW calls on the Security Council to expand the mandate of Minurso for monitoring human rights in Western Sahara

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the United Nations’ Security Council (SC) to create a mechanism for regular observation of human rights in Western Sahara, according to a report released Friday by the organization.

Human Rights Watch said that the UN Security Council should ensure that the UN presence in the region includes regular human rights monitoring, added the same source.

“All UN peacekeeping missions around the world include a human rights component and, with MINURSO forces operating in a peacekeeper capacity in Western Sahara, this region should be no exception.”

Morocco has ruled Western Sahara de facto since its troops invaded the territory following Spain’s withdrawal from its former colony in 1976. Morocco officially refers to the region as its "southern provinces," but the United Nations does not recognize Moroccan sovereignty over the last colony in Africa.

Morocco opposed as unworkable a UN-brokered plan for a referendum on the territory’s future and has proposed autonomy for the Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty. Rabat made it clear, however, that the plan envisages no rollback of laws criminalizing "attacks on territorial integrity." Thus, Moroccan-granted autonomy will not give Saharawis their right to demand independence or a referendum to decide the region’s future.

"Sahrawis differ on how to resolve the conflict," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

"But wherever they live, authorities must allow them peacefully to express and act on behalf of those views, she added, estimating that “Any proposed solution for the Western Sahara that does not guarantee these rights is no solution at all."

HRW welcomes the role of the Polisario Front in the respect of human rights

Human Rights Watch (HRW) welcomed the role played by Polisario Front for the respect of human rights in Western Sahara, stressing "The improved situation of human rights in the Saharawi refugee camps."

"In the Saharawi refugee camps, the Polisario Front allows refugees to criticize its management of daily affairs,” HRW said in its report.

“Residents are able to leave the camps if they wish to, including to resettle in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara. The fact that most take the main road to Mauritania rather than a clandestine route shows their confidence in being allowed to travel,” added the same source.

"The refugees in Tindouf have, for more than 30 years, lived in exile from their homeland, governed by a liberation movement in an environment that is physically harsh and isolated," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

Morocco "violates” the rights to freedom of expression in Western Sahara (HRW)

Morocco "violates the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly in Western Sahara, said the new report of Human Rights Watch (HRW), sent to the UN Security Council and made public Saturday on its website.

In this report of 216 pages, the director of the division of the Middle East and North Africa at HRW, Sarah Leah Whitson, said that "Morocco uses a combination of repressive laws, police violence and unfair trials to suppress Sahrawis who struggle peacefully for independence or full self-determination for Western Sahara ", indicating it is " An international issue that has been holding for decades."

"In Western Sahara, the Moroccan authorities consider any opposition to their administration of the territory (Western Sahara) as illegal attack on territorial integrity of Morocco" adding that they (the Moroccan authorities) use this position to ban or disperse peaceful demonstrations and to deny legal recognition to organizations defending human rights ".

According to HRW "the problem goes beyond the repressive laws" because as it is explained in the document, "the police beats demonstrators that call peacefully for independence and sometimes torture detainees."

Citizens file formal complaints about police abuse that the justice system routinely dismisses without conducting serious investigations, reinforcing a climate of impunity for the police," says the HRW document.

HRW confirms that Moroccan courts have charged Saharawi human rights “activists” for "inciting or participating in acts of violence based on dubious evidence at completely unfair trials".

HRW estimates that the Security Council of the United Nations should provide "guarantees" so that his presence (the UN) in the region could involve a Regular "mechanism" for monitoring of human rights, stressing that France and the United States, as permanent members of the Security Council and have the "strongest interest in this region," must play a "crucial" role.

The organization considers all UN peacekeeping missions around the world include a human rights component and, with MINURSO forces operating in a peacekeeper capacity in Western Sahara, this region should be no exception.

While recalling that HRW takes no position on the issue of independence of Western Sahara, the director of the division of the Middle East and North Africa of this international NGO has made a series of recommendations to end the violation of human rights in the region.

The Organization recommends to "revise or abolish" laws that make "illegal" the political expression and activities of organizations deemed to undermine the "territorial integrity" of Morocco and are also used to "suppress" the non-violent actions for defending the Saharawi rights.

It also recommends putting an end to the "impunity" for "abuse" committed by the police (Moroccan) ensuring "serious" investigations to the complaints of civilians and that disciplinary measures are applied against the officials.

Finally, HRW urged judges and prosecutors to respect the rights of suspects under Moroccan law to be examined by a doctor and dismiss evidence based on statements which are proven to have been obtained under torture.

The Saharawi Minister of Justice Mr. Hamada Selma Daf said Friday that the government of the SADR and the Polisario Front "supports the call for HRW to the Security Council for the establishment, within the MINURSO, a mechanism for observation and regular supervision of the situation of human rights in occupied Western Sahara and the Saharawi refugee camps."

MINURSO "can not continue to be the exception to the rule of all peace missions of United Nations in the world" said Minister of Justice.