segunda-feira, 29 de dezembro de 2008

Le président de la République adresse un message de félicitations à son homologue algérien, Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Bir Lehlu (territoires libérés), Le président de la République, Mohamed Abdelaziz a adressé un message de félicitations à son homologue algérien, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, à l'occasion de l'avènement du nouvel an de l’hégire 1430 et la nouvelle année 2009.

Dans ce message, M. Abdelaziz a exprimé, en son nom et en celui du gouvernement et du peuple sahraouis, à son homologue, Abdelaziz Bouteflika et au peuple algérien ses chaleureuses félicitations, leur souhaitant une nouvelle année pleine de succès, de progrès et de prospérité.

Le président de la République a réitéré la disposition constante de la RASD pour la consolidation des excellentes relations existantes entre les deux pays et peuples frères, pour le bien de la paix, la stabilité et la prospérité dans la région.

Saharawi child victim to abduction and torture

A film taken by a cell phone’s camera presented the testimony of a 9 years old girl, who has been abducted by a group of policemen, taken outside the city of Smara and tortured and threatened.

When the story of the child reached the Saharawi medias, it was spread through the net, so the Moroccan authorities asked the family to bring the little girl, and to say in front of the camera that all what is said on the net are lies.

The young girl was so scared that in her testimony, she hardly holds herself from crying, but she was brave enough to say the truth about what happened with her.

Transcript of her innocent testimony:

The girl appears sitting in a room; she is talking to a Saharawi woman, who is encouraging her to go on talking and telling her story.

The girl starts speaking:

“I was playing outside our home… then police came and arrested me… they took me to a place where there are too many trees, and they started asking me questions, they said to me: you distributed leaflets, and you brought them from the house of your family, didn’t you? They started asking me many questions, and started beating me, one of them kicked me here (she points to her body), and they asked me. Then they took me back in their car and dropped me. I was so scared that they would go again to my family house to arrest me and beat me again”.

(Talking about the second time she was subjected to interrogation before the Moroccan official news agency pretended that her story was made up and not true).

She says:

“When they took us again just now, they asked me: who was with you… and which car took you (the car of her kidnappers).. and asked me a lot of questions. They asked me if I remember them (the policemen who abducted and tortured her). They asked me, can you identify anyone of them if you see him, can you remember them? I said: Yes, I can.
And they continued asking me questions, saying: who are the girls who were with you? I said: I don’t know.

(The woman asks the girl: Did they say to you bad words?)

The girl:

“Yes they did. They said to us a lot of bad words, but we didn’t answer them… we didn’t say a word when they were addressing us bad words. After that they brought us near the milk shop. I harried upstairs and I hided and started crying, until Bteila (a woman) and her sister came, took my hand and took me to the house”

New Zealand company Ballance Agri-Nutrients again imports phosphate from occupied Western Sahara

The New Zealand company, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, has again bought phosphate rock from a Moroccan state phosphate company in occupied Western Sahara. The shipment arrived 3 December 2008, on the Israeli managed vessel ‘White Diamond’.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has for several years purchased phosphates from occupied Western Sahara, from the illegal occupying power in the territory.

Such trade is clearly in violation of international law, as described by the UN in 2002.

It is furthermore highly unethical. Morocco refuses to withdraw from the territory that it illegally occupied in 1975. A majority of the Western Sahara people has been living in exile since the occupation began, and more than 500 Saharawis have disappeared. Human Rights Watch in a report on 19th of December described the very harsh conditions for human rights in the Moroccan occupied territory. The US based NGO Freedom House labels the occupied Western Sahara as one of the most repressive societies in the world, and compares the situation with the one in Zimbabwe.

Still, Ballance Agri-Nutrients continues its unethical imports. The purchases are made from a Moroccan governmental company called OCP, despite the fact that no state recognises the Moroccan claim to Western Sahara. OCP sacked most of the indigenous workers in 1975, when Morocco took control over the mines. These people were quickly replaced by Moroccan settlers.

"We strongly urge Ballance Agri-Nutrients to follow very basic principles of Corporate Social Responsibility, and immediately find other sources for its phosphate imports", said Cate Lewis, international coordinator of Western Sahara Resource Watch.

"Supporting an illegal occupying power in violating international law, while the local people earn nothing from the plundering, on the contrary are being subjected to the worst forms of torture, is highly unethical. As long as there is a conflict in Western Sahara, and Morocco continues its presence there, no company should source its phosphates from the territory", said Lewis.

Morocco earns billions of dollars on the industry each year, while the Saharawi people protests the trade.

The photos of the vessel ‘White Diamond’ below were taken in the Port of Tauranga, New Zealand, on 3 December 2008. To the right of the vessel, you can see parts of Ballance Agri-Nutrient’s factory.

‘White Diamond’ is managed by the Israeli company Ofer Ships, sails under Liberian flag, and has IMO number 9330666