sábado, 4 de abril de 2009

US Senators call on Obama to help decolonise Western Sahara

Seven US Senators called last Tuesday on US President, Barack Obama, support the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination through a democratic vote, and to support the addition of human rights monitoring to MINURSO’s mandate.

The seven Senators also underlined in a letter they addressed to Obama that it is in the interest of the US to ensure a fair treatment and approach to the solution of the conflict in accordance with the international legality.

Here is the complete text of the letter, of which UPES website received a copy:

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As you begin your term in office, we strongly urge you and your administration to support the people of the Western Sahara in their right to self-determination through a free, fair, and transparent referendum. It is in the interest of our country to ensure that this issue is dealt with fairly, in accordance with internationally recognized principles, and in a manner that permits the Sahrawi people to democratically choose their own political and economic future.

In 1975, the International Court of Justice expressly upheld the right to self-determination for the Western Sahara. As you know, the United Nations Charter enshrines the right to self-determination, and the U.N. General Assembly has been unequivocal in its affirmation of this right. The United Nations has passed dozens of resolutions reaffirming the Sahrawi’s right to self-determination, and established the Mission for the Referendum in the Western Sahara ("MINURSO") to enable the Sahrawi to choose between independence or integration with Morocco. Unfortunately, Morocco has blocked this referendum and instead proposed an Autonomy Plan for the Western Sahara that would deny the Sahrawi the right to a self-determination process that includes the option of independence.

The Sahrawi people have suffered since Moroccan military forces seized control of most of the territory. Many have lived on emergency food aid in camps in the Algerian desert since the mid-1970s. Moreover, related human rights violations have been documented by the State Department over the years in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, and by other respected human rights organizations.

Under your presidency, the United States has a new opportunity to help break the impasse in this longstanding conflict. The recent appointment of U.S. career diplomat and Middle East expert Christopher Ross as the new U.N. Secretary General’s Special Representative for Western Sahara further strengthens the opportunity to advance ajust and sustainable resolution. To that end, we respectfully request your support for the Sahrawi’s right to determine their own future through a democratic vote that includes the options of integration, autonomy, and independence. In addition, we urge you to support the addition of human rights monitoring to MINURSQ’s mandate.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you to promote a just and democratic solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

United States Senator Russel D. Feingold
United States Senator James M. Inhofe
United States States Senator Herb Kohl
United States Senator Sam Brownack
United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy
United States Senator Jim DeMint
United States Senator Patrick J. Leahy

cc: The Honorable Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
The Honorable Susan Rice, Permanent U.S. Representative to the UN

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