Under the title “will the Saharawi people exercise their right of self-determination?”, Mr. Y.Lamine Baali gave the following presentation:
“"We are glad … to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of the people … for the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience…. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and freedom of the nations can make them."
—Woodrow Wilson, 2 April 1917—
Mr. Chairman, first of all let me to thank you for inviting me tonight to UNA CHARLBURY Branch West Oxfordshire to talk About My country Western Sahara and her conflict with our neighbor Morocco .
However it is rather with a great sadness to see this simple decolonization issue still on the table of the UN.
Speaking of UN, early this month Mr. Ban Ki-moon the UN Secretary General has nominated Mr Christopher Ross as his special Envoy for Western Sahara substituting Mr Peter Van Walsum the former Special Envoy .
This nomination has prompted welcomes from all the concerned and interested parties.
POLISARIO welcomed the appointment and "supported and encouraged the implementation of the settlement plan, Houston agreements and Baker plan for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara which are all, unanimously, supported by the Security Council.”
Mr. Ross will not start from scratch, because there are essential to build on the last “Security Council resolution (1813) urges the parties to work in a spirit of realism and compromise to advance the negotiations" .
The United States “welcomes the Secretary-General’s announcement of Ambassador Christopher Ross as his Personal Envoy to the Western Sahara”.
“we look forward to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1754, 1783, and 1813. We welcome the prospect of a further round of talks between Morocco and the POLISARIO early in 2009.” And urged “ both parties to quickly accept invitations to the next round of talks mediated by Ambassador Ross, and to continue to negotiate without preconditions and in good faith with a spirit of realism and compromise toward a just, lasting and mutually-acceptable political solution.”
hoped that this nomination will make all the "parties to enter the next stages of the negotiations by showing proof of realism and a spirit of compromise, as called for in UN Security Council resolution 1813 of April, 30, 2008,"
“Welcomed the decision of UN Secretary-General of the appointment of Mr. Christopher Ross as his new Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.”
“This appointment represents an incentive to move towards a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution that respects the principle of self determination, as has provided the Security Council of UN resolutions.”
“Renews her commitment to continue actively to support the efforts of the United Nations, Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy.
She expressed hope that Mr Ross will be able soon to convene a new round of negotiations on the basis of the Resolutions 1754, 1783 and 1813 of the Security Council.” And wishes to reiterate her “strong support for the negotiation process and the full implementation of Resolution 1813 of the Security Council, 30.4.200”
Algeria, Ensure its “full readiness to cooperate and assist” the new Special envoy in his efforts to implement the relevant resolutions of the Security Council on the question of Western Sahara which call on the two parties, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front to enter into direct negotiations under UN auspices to find a mutually acceptable political solution, which “allows the people of Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination, "
Algeria “remains convinced, Ambassador Ross will put his skills and energies to the search for a solution in conformity with international law” and he will receive, in his efforts, the full cooperation of both parties .
“The UK continues to believe that progress towards a negotiated solution to the dispute in Western Sahara providing for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, is best achieved under the auspices of the United Nations. To this end and in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution (1813) of 30 April…”
Mr chairman the issue here is an issue of Self-determination.
“The philosophical idea of self-determination arose out of eighteenth-century concern for freedom and the primacy of the individual will. It has been applied to every kind of group which can be said to have a collective will, but in the twentieth century has come to apply primarily to nations. It is also embodied in the charter of the United Nations, in the 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples, and in the 1970 Declaration of the Principles of International Law” (Lincoln Allison)
Self-determination: is a process by which a group of people, usually possessing a degree of political consciousness, form their own state and government.
The idea evolved as a byproduct of nationalism.
According to the UN charter, a people has the right to form it self into a state or to otherwise determine the form of its association with another state, and every state has the right to choose its own political, economic, social, and cultural systems. (visit Britannica.com.)
Decolonization and Self-Determination
The principle of self-determination fared considerably better in other areas of the world. In effect, what World War I did for Eastern Europe, World War II accomplished in Asia and Africa.
“Unfortunately, when we review situations invoking the principle of self-determination, we encounter what we must call the politics of avoidance: the principle of self-determination has been reduced to a weapon of political rhetoric.
The international community, therefore, has abandoned people who have the claim to the principle of self-determination. We must insist that the international community address those situations invoking the right to self-determination in the proper, legal way”.( Karen PARKER)
Just last month, in December the whole world has celebrated proudly the 60th anniversary of The Universal Declaration of Human Right .
“Following this act UN called upon the countries "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”
“Western Sahara conflict deadlocked”
The disregard of the fundamental principle of UN has led to a vigorous armed conflict between the Kingdom of Morocco and the POLISARIO Front, which make the conflict to continue for more than three decades and half.
The question of Western Sahara is an issue of decolonization, of which solution is anchored in the free and democratic exercise by the Saharawi people of their inalienable right to self-determination and independence, as provided for in the UN Charter and other UN relevant resolutions.
On 16 October 1975, the International Court of Justice concluded that “the materials and information presented to it do not establish any tie of territorial sovereignty between the Territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco”. The Court also recommended “the implementation of the General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV)… and in particular of the principle of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory”.
These conclusions were further confirmed, in January 2002, by M. Hans Corel, in his advisory opinion to the Security Council, by stating that the Spanish withdrawal from the territory in 1975 “did not affect the international status of Western Sahara as a Non-self-governing Territory”.
The decolonizing process of Western Sahara was dramatically interrupted in 1975 due to the Moroccan military invasion and illegal occupation of the Territory.
Consequently to Morocco invasion, hundreds of thousands of Saharawis, most of them women and children, were forced to exile in neighboring countries; hundreds of Saharawis have been reported disappeared, while others remain imprisoned in Moroccan detention Centers for many years .
"what has happened to the proposed UN referendum on self-determination?"
In 1991, and after 16 years of military confrontation both parties Morocco and POLISARIO Front come to believe that a military solution is out of sight,thus they have accepted a UN settlement Plan aimed at given the floor to the Saharawi people through the ballot box in “a free and fair referendum, organized and supervised by the UN, and in cooperation with African Union, in this referendum the people will choose between independence and integration into Morocco”.
In early nineties every one was enthusiastic toward this solution and even applauded UN for finding this exist to this straight forward decolonization matter .
All details of this operation were taken into consideration and UN set up for this purpose a mission known by MINURSO (mission of United Nations for the organization of the referendum in Western Sahara). The result of the referendum must have been published not late than February 1992.
Till today the Saharawi people still waiting for the promised referendum to be deliver by international community.?
Morocco’s obstructive attitude and lack of political will provoked several deadlocks and stalemates.
By opting for complete disengagement from the Settlement Plan, which it had already accepted, Morocco clearly showed how contemptuous it was of the tremendous efforts and huge resources that the United Nations brought to bear on resolving the conflict for eighteen years.
It was also Morocco who to date persists in its rejection of the Peace Plan For the Self-determination of the People of Western Sahara, which was the outcome of enormous mediation efforts deployed by the former US Secretary of State, Mr. James Baker III, in his capacity as the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara since (1997-2004)
The peace plan, which was strongly endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1495 (2003), has been repeatedly acclaimed by the UN Secretary-General as an optimum, mutually acceptable solution that would provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in consonance with the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.
In 1999 Morocco reached the climax of the implementation of its strategy delaying tactic . One have to remember also that Morocco has used as instrument in his approach;
a-a presence of more than 165000 soldiers and a military wall stretching for more than 2400 KM fortified with all kind of heavy and light weapons and radars and tanks anti-personal mines,beside high number of the Moroccan settlers
b- Morocco managed to avoid any real political pressure from the international community in particular Europe which assist her in many domains without conditioning its help with the progress of the referendum in Western Sahara .
This has been perceived as signal of encouragement of Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara, the above mentioned elements did not drive the development of this conflict to the right direction.
2000 Morocco come to conclusion that the result of the referendum will be the confirmation of the independence of Western Sahara,that is the main reason of that Morocco opted out of the process of the referendum in Western Sahara, and blocked the continuation of the process of the referendum.
After it become crystal clear that Morocco disassociate it self from the peace plan process and took step back from the referendum .
In September 2004, the Republic of South Africa decided to recognize the Saharawi Republic in accordance with the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.
"When will the Saharawi people achieve self-determination?"
‘Peaceful resistance in the occupied territories is irreversible path for the referendum ‘
Since 2005 and out frustration and anger to Morocco’s obstruction position The Saharawi people from different walk of the life : Women,children,teen ages, adults, elderly have shown in united way their strong rejection to the Moroccan occupying force through many,peaceful demonstrations in all Saharawi towns, such are Aaiun, Smara Dakhla, Bojdour, and in the south part of Morocco like Assa or Tan Tan,Goulimin . Amhamid Al ghzlane, and in the Moroccan universities too.
Human Right requires deeds
Human right Organizations including Amnesty International, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch and the European Parliament and many NGOs,all have strongly criticized the Moroccan government’s alarming human rights record in Western Sahara.
The most of all the reports of the High Commissioner for Human Right of UN in June 2006 which was blocked from publication by some permanent member of security council UN. This leaked report reported in its paragraph
“9. The question of the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara is paramount to the consideration of the overall human rights situation in the respective territories.
It is a human right enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
The respect of all human rights of the people of Western Sahara must be seen in tandem with this right and a Jack of its realization will inevitably impact on the enjoyment of all other rights guaranteed, inter alia, in the seven tore international human rights treaties in force.”
EU-Morocco advanced status
In early October,EU starts a process of grating an advance status to Morocco, and just few days ago the Moroccan hard liner prime Minister was quoted by Parliament Magazine: saying that “the advanced status will enable Morocco to have ‘best possible relations’ with EU. "Morocco always seeks more and better" because, besides its favorable geographical position . The Moroccan PM highlighted that his country was the first to have an enhanced political dialogue with the EU.
The Moroccan PM was so happy for that Morocco is doing a great job in the field of migration. This is a message for Europe which means I have done my part you have to do yours.
It is primordial that Europe need to make clear that Western Sahara is explicitly excluded from the Advanced Status and ought to be mislead by the occupying power . In 2004 U.S.A had signed a free trade agreement with Morocco, it has excluded categorically Western Sahara from the agreement, due to the fact that Western Sahara it is a decolonization matter .
It is worth to bear in mind that, Barcelona declaration, associations partnership, neighbourhood policy, strongly emphases the full respect of human rights.
In December 2008,Human Right Watch published a report which showed clearly the flagrant violation of human right in the occupied territories of Western Sahara carried by the Moroccan authorities .
Why still no signe of European pressure on Morocco to bide by international legality? It so strange !
Illegal exploitation of the mineral resources
Other aspect of this conflict is the illegal exploitation of the Saharawi mineral resources such as Fish, Phosphate and Sand,others.
Mr Hans Corell in his conclusion at the conference on multilateralism and International Law with Western Sahara as case study hosted by the South Africa Department of Foreign Affairs and the University of Pretoria,4and 5th December 2008
"[I] further exploration and exploitation activities were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the principles of international law applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories."
Dear friends, till when the Saharawi people will be enduring alone the burden of the destitution, deprivation from its political, economic, cultural, social right?
“will the Saharawi people exercise their right of self-determination?”
35 years has elapsed and the Saharawi people waiting for the international community to honor its political, moral obligation .
In the context of seeking way-out, the Saharawi side has contributed sufficiently and eloquently to the creation of a climate of détente and tolerance necessary for any sincere and honest negotiation, which might lead to the just and lasting solution to this long overdue conflict.
On 11th April 2007 in this framework, POLISARIO Front handed over to Secretary-General of UN a proposal which takes into account the concerns of Morocco.
It is with deep disappointed that Morocco continues its intransigence and refused to accept any solution less than what so called “autonomy” .
It is rather astonishing that the conflict of Western Sahara has been dealt with by five Secretary General of UN and many special envoys and more than 100 UN resolutions and MINURSO ( UN mission for the referendum in Western Sahara) has been in the countries more that 17 years .
It is time for that the international community must came to use its influence on Morocco to say to her enough is enough time came for that Morocco must bide by the UN resolutions and start without further delay the implementation of the Peace Plan and respect the Human right and release all 40 Saharawi political prisoners and give an account on 500 Saharawi disappeared since 70s and release 150 Saharawi POWs, and open the occupied territories for MPs. MEPs, Press, NGOs, Diplomats, Observers .
20th January 2009, the 44th USA president Mr Barack Obama has received world wide congratulation, among the congratulators the king of Morocco, in his letter of congratulation according to the Moroccan news agency(MAP) the king expressed that the two nations means Morocco, USA “share a firm belief in the universal human values of democracy, human rights, dignity and justice.”() and underline the whish to “work for the emergence of a better world, which is more secure, peaceful, balanced and equitable; a world with a keener sense of solidarity and stronger commitment to international legitimacy in different regions in the world.”
It is nice vision and good desire, but the trouble if Morocco is asking for cooperation in the international arena,she must be prepare to change it political behavior in particular in the question of Western Sahara,and if Morocco is really concerned about the justice and universal human value of democracy,in this logic Morocco need to start contributing to achieve the above mentioned objects and assisting USA and international community by allowing Saharawi people to exercise its right of self-determination as stipulated in the UN resolution.
“A light in the end of the tunnel”
-The conflict of Western Sahara, is the most easy and straightforward decolonization matter, Therefore UN can score a positive point by-which can serve to increase its very law credibility before the eyes of the people in the region.
-New American president hinted that he is going to work in fair manner for justice and dignity of the people through out the World signaling the importance of the respect of international law and human right .
-A new special envoy, known by his credibility and dignity and high diplomatic skills ; very well experienced,and enjoy unreservedly support from the heavy-weight countries
-The Saharawi people cannot be silent for ever, while it has been deprived from its political, economic, cultural, civil right
-There is an alarming human right situation in the occupied territories of Western Sahara very well documented need to be addressed .
-Thus It is about time that the countries expressed, the support directly or indirectly –by voting in favor of the UNSC resolution which all reaffirmed the support to the right of self-determination for the Saharawi people, in particular (USA; Spain; UK; France and other)need to play a constructive role in persuading Morocco to bide by the result of the ballot box .
-Europe collectively or individually cannot be driven forever, blindly by a short gains on the expense of the respect of the Human right and avoidance of dealing with the western Sahara conflict in the right framework.
Nonetheless, this is the right time to bush for the referendum in Western Sahara as the best democratic solution . It might sound easy and so optimistic view however in my opinion this is the right time .
After very long deadlock and taking into account the above mentioned points, I believe that there is a light in the end of the tunnel, the new Special envoy will call for the 5th round of negotiation with the support of weighted countries, and Morocco cannot afford to be the rebellion against the international community forever.
Therefore the Saharawi people can achieve the exercise of the right of self-determination providing the international community - government and civil society are alike, assume their political responsibility toward the Saharawi people .The referendum in Western Sahara is the responsibility of everyone
Finally May I think for having me at this meeting.
"Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions, and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."
—John Quincy Adams, 4 July 1821—“
UK and Ireland