sexta-feira, 16 de janeiro de 2009
Tindouf (Algérie), "Les nouvelles manœuvres militaires marocaines au Sahara Occidental" ont été au menu des entretiens entre le coordinateur sahraoui avec la Minurso, membre du Secrétariat national, Mhamed Khadad et le représentant spécial du Secrétaire général de l’Onu pour le Sahara Occidental, M. Julien Harston, a indiqué M. Khadad à SPS.
"La coopération entre le Front Polisario et la Minurso, la question des droits humains dans les territoires sahraouis occupés ainsi que les perspectives des efforts de l’Onu pour le parachèvement de la décolonisation du Sahara Occidental suite à la désignation par le SG de l’Onu, Ban Ki moon de son envoyé personnel pour le Sahara Occidental", ont également été au menu des ces entretiens qui se déroulés dans le siège de la Minurso à Tindouf, a-t-on indiqué.
Les observateurs croient savoir que le nouveau envoyé personnel de M. Ki moon, Christopher Ross, entreprendra dans un avenir proche une visite dans la région avant d’inviter les deux parties au conflit, le Front Polisario et le Maroc à de nouvelles négociations devant permettre de débloquer l’impasse actuelle.
La nomination de l’ambassadeur américain à ce poste intervient à la suite de l’échec de la tentative marocaine de faire avaliser sa proposition d’autonomie par les Nations unies et du départ de M. Peter van Valsun dont l’approche a été rejetée par le Secrétaire général de l’ONU et par le Conseil de sécurité, rappelle-t-on.
Le Polisario réitère sa disposition à coopérer ''pleinement'' avec M. Ross pour la reprise des négociations
Bir Lehlu (territoires libérés), Le Secrétariat national (SN) du Front Polisario a réitéré mardi la disposition du Front Polisario à coopérer "pleinement" avec le nouvel envoyé personnel du SG de l’Onu pour le Sahara Occidental, M. Christopher Ross, pour la reprise des négociations avec le Maroc sous les auspices de l’ONU, devant permettre l’instauration d’une paix juste et durable au Sahara occidental, selon un communiqué parvenu à SPS.
Dans ce sens le SN a exprimé la "disposition de la partie sahraouie à négocier sous les auspices de l'ONU en vue de parvenir à une solution pacifique au conflit, rappelant que le cessez-le-feu, en vigueur depuis le 6 septembre 1991, entre l’Armée de libération sahraouie et les forces d’occupation marocaines est indissociable de la tenue du referendum d’autodétermination, accepté par les deux parties et endossé, à l’unanimité, par le Conseil de sécurité".
Selon le communiqué sanctionnant la 4ème session ordinaire du SN du Front Polisario tenue lundi et mardi sous la présidence du chef de l'Etat et secrétaire général du Front Polisario, M. Mohamed Abdelaziz, le SN a attiré l’attention de la communauté internationale sur les dangers des tentatives du Maroc visant à faire échouer les efforts de l’ONU, au moment M. Ross s’apprête à prendre ses fonctions.
"Le Gouvernement marocain assumera pleinement la responsabilité, non seulement pour faire avorter les efforts de la communauté internationale pour la paix, mais des conséquences qui peuvent en découler de sa politique d'expansion et ses répercussions sur la sécurité, la paix et la stabilité dans la région".
Le SN a abordé avec force détails la situation prévalant dans les territoires occupés, au sud du Maroc et dans les campus universitaires, condamnant vigoureusement l'assassinat des martyrs, Baba Khaya et Houssein Katif, par les autorités marocaines devant une gare à la ville d'Agadir (Maroc), le 02 décembre dernier..
Il a également rappelé les témoignages de nombreuses organisations internationales, dont le Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies aux droits de l'homme, la Fondation Robert F. Kennedy et autres, notamment le récent rapport de l’organisation américaine Human Rights Watch, ce qui reflète l'horreur des violations flagrantes des droits de l'homme commises par l'État marocain au Sahara Occidental.
Le SN a condamné le pillage des ressources naturelles sahraouies par le Gouvernement marocain soutenu par des parties étrangères, qui génère des milliards de dollars par an, ce qui contribue au financement de l'occupation illégale et les encourage à procéder à l'intransigeance et l'obstruction des efforts de la paix.
A cet égard, le SN a rappelé que le peuple sahraoui est le seul propriétaire légitime des propres ressources naturelles du Sahara Occidental, lançant "un appel urgent à tous les gouvernements et les entreprises concernées à cesser immédiatement de contribuer à ce projet colonial, qui est contraire aux lois et normes internationales, et contraire à la morale et aux valeurs".
Dans ce contexte, le Secrétariat national a appelé spécifiquement l'Union européenne, le Conseil et le gouvernement, "lui demandant de reconsidérer l'accord de pêche maritime, signé avec le Gouvernement du Maroc, et de prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires pour veiller à ce que le Sahara occidental soit exclue de tout accord avec le Maroc, à l’instant ou à l’avenir, par respect du droit international et de contribuer à la réussite du processus de décolonisation du Sahara occidental, et le maintien de la paix et la stabilité dans la région".
Il a d’autre part exprimé sa préoccupation par la carence chronique de l'aide humanitaire destinée aux réfugiés sahraouis, et a appelé les Etats et organisations intéressées à "agir rapidement pour combler le déficit, en particulier dans le domaine de l’alimentation".
Le SN a renouvelé ses remerciements et sa gratitude aux amis du peuple sahraoui de part le monde pour leur position de soutien à sa juste cause, notamment l'Algérie, sous la présidence de M. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, pour sa position constante appelant à permettre au peuple sahraoui d'exercer son droit inaliénable à l'autodétermination, conformément au droit et à la légalité internationale.
Le Secrétariat national a condamné les massacres horribles commis par Israël contre le peuple palestinien dans la bande de Gaza, appelant la communauté internationale à "intervenir immédiatement pour mettre fin à cette tragédie, et à trouver une solution au Moyen-Orient, qui garantit le droit du peuple palestinien à l'autodétermination et à établir son Etat indépendant".
RASD: will use all available means to prevent and seek reparation in respect of Kosmos Energy, LLC illegal activities in Western Sahara
In a letter to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kosmos Energy, LLC, Mr. James C. Musselman, Emhamed Khadad recalled that “these activities are in direct violation of international law”.
He also recalled Kosmos Energy that “Morocco is not recognized by the UN as an administering power in Western Sahara, and therefore has no right to authorize or undertake activities related to the exploration and exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara”.
Here is the complete text of the letter, sent Thursday to Kosmos Energy, LLC:
“15 January 2009
Mr. James C. Musselman
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Kosmos Energy, LLC
8401 N. Central Expressway
Dallas, Texas 75225
Dear Mr. Musselman,
Further to my letter to you of 16 June 2006 regarding the signature by Kosmos Energy LLC (Kosmos) of a Moroccan license purporting to authorize petroleum exploration in areas offshore of the territory of Western Sahara, I am writing again in response to news that a vessel operated by Fugro-Geoteam, a Norwegian-based unit of Dutch oil services group Fugro, has been engaged by Kosmos to conduct seismic surveys off the coast of Western Sahara.
As I noted in my previous letter to you – to which I have yet to receive a response – these activities are in direct violation of international law. Morocco is not recognized by the UN as an administering power in Western Sahara, and therefore has no right to authorize or undertake activities related to the exploration and exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara.
The International Court of Justice confirmed in 1975 that there is no tie of territorial sovereignty between Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco. Morocco’s presence in the territory is the result of an illegal invasion in 1975 and the ensuing occupation. A string of UN Security Council resolutions has deplored the invasion, and called for Morocco to withdraw from the territory.
No country recognizes Morocco’s sovereignty over any part of the territory of Western Sahara. On the contrary, more than seventy countries have recognized the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as the sovereign authority over the territory of Western Sahara. The SADR was admitted as a member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1982, and is a full founding member state of the African Union (AU).
At the request of the UN Security Council, the then-United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Legal Counsel, Mr Hans Corell, issued a legal opinion in January 2002 relating to the legality of actions taken by Moroccan authorities to enter into contracts with foreign entities for the exploration of mineral resources in Western Sahara. In the opinion, Mr Corell found that if
‘exploration and exploitation activities were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes 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’. (UN Document S/2006/161)
It has come to our attention that Kosmos Energy has engaged Fugro-Geoteam to conduct seismic data acquisition activities, and that those activities are currently underway. The SADR, as the recognized sovereign authority for Western Sahara, has jurisdiction over, as well as the exclusive right to regulate and authorize, marine scientific research within its territorial waters. It also has the discretion to withhold its consent for such activities where those activities have ‘direct significance’ for the exploration and exploitation of natural resources, both living and non-living.
To my knowledge, no attempt has been made by Kosmos Energy to contact, inform or seek authorization for the aforementioned seismic data acquisition activities from or by the SADR as the rightful sovereign authority and representative of the people of Western Sahara. If such efforts had been made, your company would be aware that its activities are in direct conflict with the rights granted by the SADR Petroleum Authority to other commercial interests pursuant to petroleum licenses entered into in 2005. Further information regarding these licenses is available at http://www.sadroilandgas.com.
Finally, I note the public commitment of Kosmos to carrying out its business according to the highest international business standards. This commitment is seriously jeopardized by ongoing activities in Western Sahara’s waters. Over recent years, a number of companies operating in Western Sahara pursuant to commercial arrangements with the Kingdom of Morocco have withdrawn their operations. For example, French company Total withdrew in 2004, as did Kerr-McGee in 2006 following the decision by the Norwegian Government Petroleum Fund to divest its interests in the company. In doing so, the Fund noted that Kerr-McGee’s presence in Western Sahara constituted ‘a particularly serious violation of fundamental ethical norms’.
In light of the above, it is my responsibility to inform you that the Government of the SADR, including the SADR Petroleum Authority, reserves the right to use all available means, including legal avenues, to prevent and seek reparation in respect of any unauthorized activities relating to the natural resources of Western Sahara.
I look forward to your prompt response.
SADR Petroleum Authority
Advisor to the HE Mohamed Abdelaziz, President of the SADR.
Member of the Polisario leadership.
cc. Mr Hans Meyer
Other related stories:
- Fugro under fire for Sahara deal
- The Saharawi Republic urges Fugro-Geoteam to cease illegal activities in the occupied zones
- WSRW demands Fugro to leave Western Sahara
- Norwatch: Norwegian Oil Industry in Occupied Western Sahara
- “In 2002, the Under-Secretary-General of Legal Affairs, Mr Hans Correll, issued a legal opinion to the Security Council on the matter in which he reaffirmed that Morocco has no sovereignty over Western Sahara. Mr Correll stated that if exploration and exploitation of the oil resources of the Territory “were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the international law principles applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories”. During a conference held in December 2008 in South Africa Mr. Correll reaffirmed his opinion of 2002 and added referring to agreements made with Morocco that it is "obvious that an agreement…that does not make a distinction between the waters adjacent to Western Sahara and the waters adjacent to the territory of Morocco would violate international law":
Read the complete text of his intervention in that conference:
In open letters, HIC-HLRN and its member in Gaza, al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, urged all international actors to immediately take action in voicing solidarity with this call and to support this statement electronically and/or view the full letter, on the following link: http://www.hlrn.org/img/cases/Gaza-OL-140109-UNGA.pdf
Here is a summarized copy of the open letters, UPES received Today from HIC-HLRN:
14 January 2009
H.E. Jean-Maurice Ripert
Ambassador of France and President of the UN Security Council
Permament Mission of France to the United Nations
245 East 47th Street 44th floor
New York, N.Y. 10017
Fax: +1 (212) 207–8765
H.E. President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann
Permament Mission of Nicaragua to the United Nations
820 Second Avenue, 8th Floor
New York NY 10017
Fax: +1 (212) 286–0815
We support our friends at Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza) and the Housing and Land Rights Network of Habitat International Coalition, comprised of civil organizations concerned with human settlements in over 100 countries, in appreciating the momentous duty that you face in addressing the probable war crimes and crimes against humanity being carried out in Gaza since 27 December 2008. It may be unreasonable to invoke reference to a Middle East peace process except in a posthumous sense in this context. However, at stake still are prospective consequences of the present assault by Israel on Gaza that promise to undermine further the credibility of the states and governments of the international system globally, the United Nations Organization and international law norms as such, unless an appropriate and principled response is seen to come from both the Security Council (SC) and the General Assembly (GA) that effectively upholds international human rights, humanitarian norms and international criminal law. The challenge before you and the SC and GA embodies no less than those stakes, having global dimensions.
In support of that looming task, we add our voice to the attached contribution to the SC and GA’s work, outlining the issues involved and the values at stake for the SC and GA’s consideration, offered by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and the Housing and Land Rights Network of Habitat International Coalition. In the spirit of problem solving and preservation of fundamental principles of the UN Charter, we urge both the SC and GA to take the requisite measures to establish justice and enforce the rule of law commensurate with the promise of the applicable instruments of international law. The world expects no less.
Toward that end, we join the numerous other civil movements and experts across the globe in supporting the establishment of a special tribunal that calls to justice those parties of record and other perpetrators of the war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out against the civilians of Gaza in this conflict. To whit, Israel’s wanton destruction of homes and other civilian properties and infrastructure is one demonstrable means by which the current conduct of warfare breaches numerous international prohibitions against criminal conduct, requiring full reparations as remedy for the legal and natural persons affected.
The attached brief summarizes essential details of these documented charges that inform the audaciously hopeful proposal for international accountability in the form of a special tribunal on Israel’s continued occupation and current assault of the Gaza Strip. We submit these notes for your consideration and remain supportive of that adjudication-and-reparation effort.
In the meantime, we look forward to receiving information on your positive efforts to achieve remedy to the grave breaches ongoing in the occupied Gaza Strip under your presidency.
Please be assured of our highest consideration,
The Saharawi political prisoner and member of the Saharawi Journalists’ and Writers’ Union (UPES) was arrested last October 28 and sentenced by the Moroccan colonial court to three years imprisonment and more than 6200 US dollars fine in addition to be banned from work for the coming 10 years because of his political opinions in favour of the independence of Western Sahara.
He undertook a hunger strike, in the prison of Inzegan, for 14 days. 7 members of his family also participated to the hunger strike to express their opposition to the Moroccan injustice against their son.
UPES intervened to try to save the lives of the hunger strikers, and sent them an open setter asking them to stop the hunger strike and coordinate a campaign with the members of UPES to demand the release of the prisoner.
The hunger striker positively answered the petition, and they stopped the hunger strike after 14 days.
the open letter sent by UPES to international organisation to save the life of
the Saharawi prisoner and his family during their hunger strike.
Civilians make up about 40 per cent of casualties with children accounting for a third of the dead, aid agencies and Palestinian medics said.
About 1,017 people have been killed and at least 4,750 people injured, Hasanein Myawaya, the head of Palestinian emergency services, said.
Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Gaza, said while fewer Palestinians had been killed on Wednesday than during previous days, the situation for Gazans remained one of "complete fear and terror".
"For those who venture out [for food] ... they know that anytime they leave their house it could be the last time.
"More than 80,000 Palestinians have now fled their homes because of the fighting around them ... there is a sense of overcrowding ... UN schools have taken in 35,000 refugees.
‘Desperation and fear’
"There is real desperation and fear among the people," he said.
Mohyeldin also said that the so-called "humanitarian corridor" - the Israeli three-hour daily lull in fighting to allow food and medical supplies into Gaza - is "simply not producing a cessation of hostilities".
Shelling could still be heard in parts of Gaza City during the three-hour armistice, he reported.
Mads Gilbert, a surgeon with the Norwegian Aid Committee, told Al Jazeera: "This is a man-made situation that affects mainly the civilian population of Gaza who are without protection."
Thirteen Israelis have been killed in the conflict, including three civilians and 10 soldiers.
Alan Fisher, reporting for Al Jazeera from Israel close to the Gaza border, said around 15 rockets had been fired from the Strip into Israeli territory.
As the death toll continued to rise, diplomatic efforts to bring about a ceasefire appeared to make little progress.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, arrived in Cairo earlier on Wednesday in a bid to kick-start ceasefire negotiations between Hamas - the Palestinian faction that controls the Gaza Strip - and Israel.
Ban met Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, on arrival and is expected to hold talks with the leaders of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.
The UN chief has not said whether he will have direct contact with Hamas leaders.
Ban has repeatedly called for both sides to immediately end hostilities, so far to no avail.
Robert Fisk, a journalist and Middle East expert, said neither the current Gaza war nor the broader 60-year regional conflict would end without resolving the Palestinian issue.
"Unless we deal with... [Palestinian refugees], there will not be an end to this war"
"Why are they [Palestinians] dispossessed? Why are settlements - colonies for Jews and Jews only - being built on Arab land illegally? And still it continues," he told Al Jazeera.
"Unless we deal with this [Palestinian refugees], there will not be an end to this war. There might be a ceasefire in Gaza, a ceasefire in the West Bank, but there will not be an end to the war. That is the problem."
Earlier this week, the United Nations Security Council agreed a binding resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in the Strip.
However, both Israel and Hamas have ignored it and continued fighting.
Fisk said that Israel will be able to flout the UN ceasefire demand as long as the US - the only country to abstain from the 15-member security council vote on the resolution - continues to back Israel.
"It’s quite clear from Hillary Clinton [incoming US secretary of state] most recent comments that it [the US backing of Israel] will continue under Barack Obama.
"I see no change, I see no hope at all in the future," Fisk said.
“The SADR considers illegal any activities related to the exploration or exploitation of the natural resources of the SADR without its express authorization. The Government of the SADR reserves the right to pursue legal action in respect of any such unauthorized activities”, the letter of which UPES received a copy reads.
Here is the complete text of the letter sent by the Saharawi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, to the Company’s Director:
14 January 2009
Mr. Hans Meyer
Dear Mr. Meyer,
Seismic Acquisition in Western Sahara (SADR)
The Government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) has learnt that Fugro-Geoteam is involved in seismic acquisition offshore our territory.
As you would be aware, Western Sahara is currently illegally occupied by Morocco. Western Sahara is formally classified by the United Nations as a ‘Non self-governing territory’, which means that it is still waiting for a process of decolonisation through a UN process.
After a long and bloody war that lasted 17 years Moroccan and the Saharawi independence movement agreed to a UN sponsored cease-fire 1991 as part of a Settlement Plan that should have culminated in referendum of self-determination in 1992. However, the referendum has not taken place yet due to Morocco’s obstructions.
Morocco has not only obstructed the UN peace process and violated the UN resolutions and the agreements it signed with the Polisario Front but has also continuously abused human rights in the occupied Territories of Western Sahara according to recent Human Rights Watch Report of 19 December 2008:
The award of exploration licenses over the territorial waters of Western Sahara by Morocco has been condemned by the SADR as an illegal act aimed at legitimising Morocco’s illegal occupation of our country and plundering our resources. Such deals are unacceptable to the Saharawi people and are considered as highly provocative and indeed a violation of the current cease-fire arrangements. Furthermore, the involvement of foreign companies in Western Sahara is profoundly unethical and immoral because the deals are made with Morocco which is an absolute monarchy that has a bad human rights record and has been involved in acts of aggression against a neighbouring country.
In 2002, the Under-Secretary-General of Legal Affairs, Mr Hans Correll, issued a legal opinion to the Security Council on the matter in which he reaffirmed that Morocco has no sovereignty over Western Sahara. Mr Correll stated that if exploration and exploitation of the oil resources of the Territory “were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the international law principles applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories”. During a conference held in December 2008 in South Africa Mr. Correll reaffirmed his opinion of 2002 and added referring to agreements made with Morocco that it is "obvious that an agreement…that does not make a distinction between the waters adjacent to Western Sahara and the waters adjacent to the territory of Morocco would violate international law":
Several companies that got involved in Western Sahara through deals made with Morocco have decided to withdraw amongst them for example Kerr McGee, Total and Baraka. Other companies have preferred to deal with the Saharawi republic and not engage in the exploitation of SADR resources until the Saharawi republic is admitted to the UN.
The Government of the SADR, which is a founding member of the African Union and recognised by over 80 Countries world-wide as the sovereign authority over the territory of Western Sahara, considers that the presence of Fugro-Geoteam in Western Sahara is illegal and highly unwarranted.
The Government of the SADR strongly urges Fugro-Geoteam to cease its illegal activities in Western Sahara immediately.
The Government of the SADR considers illegal any activities related to the exploration or exploitation of the natural resources of the SADR without its express authorization. The Government of the SADR reserves the right to pursue legal action in respect of any such unauthorized activities.
It is worth noting that Western Sahara remains a conflict area and all foreign nations in order to safeguard the security and well- being of their citizens ought to discourage them from getting involved in the Territory until the resolution of the conflict. Foreign companies have a special duty not to involve their employees in a conflict zone. The companies should assume their responsibilities and end their presence in Western Sahara henceforth.
Mohamed Salem Ould Salek
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic
Here is the complete text of the press release adopted by the NS after its fourth ordinary meeting, held on the 12 and 13 January in the Saharawi refugee camps.
Final Statement of 4th ordinary round of national secretariat
Headed by Mr. Mohamed Abdelaziz, Secretary-General of Polisario Front and Head of the State, the National Secretariat of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro held its fourth ordinary session on 12 and January 13, 2009.
Having heard the report of the National Secretariat Bureau concerning the period between the third and fourth sessions, which coincides with the assessment of the first year after the twelfth Conference of the front and proceed to the Government in the preparation of the annual program to be submitted to the National Council.
The Secretariat heard detailed presentations, including presentation by the Ministry of Defence about the readiness and willingness of the Saharawi People’s Liberation Army, and the participation of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic in the peace and security forces, which is overseen by the African Union, and another presentation about the developments and prospects of the UN peace process, the situation of human rights and looting the natural resources in the Saharawi occupied territories.
Having expressed satisfaction with the conduct of regular assessments of the programs, paid tribute to the spirit of impulse that characterized the national scene throughout the year, the National Secretariat drew the broad outlines of social and economic programs, it also drew the priorities of the military and diplomatic work, on the basis of the decisions of the Twelfth Congress, and the requirements of the current stage. which requires, on one hand, dealing with international peace efforts, after the appointment of a new Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the Western Sahara, and on the other the need for vigilance and caution about the developments in the field, which reveal the intent of the Kingdom of Morocco in the escalation, and to continue in the approach of intransigence and obstruction.
The National Secretariat concluded that all the facts prove that the Moroccan government turns its back to the international legality, and practically links its cooperation with the international community by imposing its conditions and attempts to pass its failed manoeuvres of illegalizing its illegal occupation of our country, where this has become a traditional attitude of intransigence in its dealings with the United Nations which considers the issue of Western Sahara as an issue of decolonization that can be solved only through the empowerment of the inalienable right of the Saharawi people of self-determination and independence.
While the National Secretariat of Polisario Front renewed its willingness to fully cooperate with the United Nations, and the resumption of direct negotiations with the Kingdom of Morocco, under the auspices of United Nations Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy, in order to allow the establishment of a lasting and just peace in Western Sahara, the National Secretariat draws attention of International Community to the dangers that may result from the Moroccan intensive efforts of armament and military preparations and harassments, which is uncovered muscle flexing that threat to blow up the cease-fire existing since 1991, while the new Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Western Sahara is preparing himself to start his mandate.
The National Secretariat puts full responsibility on the Moroccan government, not only on abortion and obstruction of international efforts for peace, but also on all the implications on security, peace and stability in the region that could be caused by this policy of expansionism, miscalculations and reckless steps that might be made by the Government of Morocco.
The National Secretariat considered in depth the difficult conditions and serious developments in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, southern Morocco and in the university sites, and strongly condemned the assassination of the two martyrs Baba Khia and Hussein Lektif, victims of a heinous crime for which the Moroccan State bears full responsibility.
The National Secretariat applauds the continuation of peaceful resistance, within the framework of the triumphant Intifada of independence, and its resistance to the Moroccan occupation despite the ongoing practice of state terrorism, brutal oppression and blind persecution by Moroccan regime, against the Sahrawi unarmed citizens.
After the testimony of many international organizations, such as UNHCHR, the famous Robert F. Kennedy foundation and others, Human Rights Watch published its report which reflects the atrocious violations of human rights committed by the Moroccan State.
All of this reflects the growing global awareness about the tragedy of the Saharawi people, and strengthens the position of the Polisario Front, which calls for the expansion of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, MINURSO, to include the protection of the unarmed Saharawi citizens, the control of the situation of human rights and to report on it in the region of its mandate.
In this context, the National Secretariat calls on the international community to put pressure on the Moroccan government to release, immediately and unconditionally, all Saharawi political prisoners, and to disclose the fate of all Saharawi disappeared persons and prisoners of war, and to open the Territory to observers and media.
The National Secretariat condemns the greedy looting of Saharawi natural resources by Moroccan government, in collusion with foreign bodies, which generates for it billions of dollars for a year, which contributes to the financing of its illegal occupation and encourages it to proceed with the intransigence and obstruction of the peace efforts.
The National Secretariat while renewing its call to remind that the Saharawi people is the only legitimate owner who is entitled to dispose his own natural resource, it made an urgent appeal to all governments and companies involved to immediately stop contributing in this colonial project, which is contrary to international laws, norms, morals and values.
In this context, the National Secretariat addresses specifically the European Union, Council and Governments, asking it to reconsider the maritime fishing agreement signed with the Government of Morocco, and to take all necessary actions and measures to ensure the exception of Western Sahara land and resources from any actual or future agreement with Morocco, in respect to international law and contribution to the success of Western Sahara decolonization process, and the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.
On the other hand, the National Secretariat, expressed concern about the chronic shortage of humanitarian aid received by the Saharawi refugees, and called upon States and organizations concerned to act quickly to fill the shortfall, particularly in the nutrition field.
The National Secretariat has condemned the horrible massacres committed by Israel against the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip, and called upon the international community to immediately intervene to put an end to this tragedy, and to find a solution to the issue of Middle East, that guarantees the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the establishment of its independent state.
The National Secretariat renewed thanks and appreciation to all friends and brothers in the world for their positions of support to the just cause of the Saharawi people, notably Algeria, under the chairmanship of His Excellency Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, which is strongly committed to the defence of the respect and application of international legitimacy, the decolonization of Western Sahara, and the empowerment of the Saharawi people to exercise its inalienable right of self-determination and independence.
Finally, while the National Secretariat salutes the masses of our people in the liberated territories, in the camps of pride and dignity, in the occupied territories and southern Morocco, in the countryside and communities, and warmly greets the Saharawi People’s Liberation Army fighters, it appeals to all Saharawis to redouble efforts, and strengthen the fabric of unity and steadfastness, through the embodiment of the twelfth Front Polisario congress decisions, to keep readiness to confront the occupation manoeuvres, and make all national coming merits succeed.
Entire struggle to impose the sovereignty and full independence
The Moroccan occupied Western Sahara, which has always ranked as one of the least-free places in the world, according to Freedom House’s annual survey, continues to fall in the bottom tier next to countries like Zimbabwe and Tibet.
Last year, many international human rights organisations condemned the Moroccan human rights violations in the occupied territories.
Human rights Watch annual report 2008 clearly indicated that Morocco is violating Saharawi political, social and cultural rights, giving examples on the exercise of torture, unfair trials, detention, restriction on freedom of expression, demonstration.. etc
CEO, Hans Ivar Meyer
Melbourne/Oslo, 12 January 2009
Open letter regarding Fugro-Geoteam’s involvement in occupied Western Sahara.
It is with great disappointment that we today learned about Fugro-Geoteam’s involvement in Kosmos Energy’s explorations offshore occupied Western Sahara.
We urge your company to terminate your profoundly unethical activities, and immediately withdraw your vessel "Geo Caribbean" from the Western Saharan waters.
We would also like to point you to a few legal, political and ethical dilemmas regarding your engagement.
Western Sahara is occupied by Morocco, and the majority of the indigenous Sahrawi people has fled to Algeria since the occupation began, where they are currently living in refugee camps. The situation in the camps has for years been characterised by an acute shortage of food and medical supplies. One out of 5 children in the refugee camps are suffering from malnourishment, according to 2008 report by Norwegian Church Aid.
At the same time, the human rights situation in the occupied Western Sahara remains severe. The Human Rights organization Freedom House qualifies the 2008 human rights situation in occupied Western Sahara to be on the same level as Zimbabwe. A 216 page report by Human Rights Watch in December 2008 clearly documents a large number of human rights violations in the territory, committed by Moroccan authorities. More than 500 Sahrawis have ‘disappeared’ in Moroccan captivity since the occupation began.
No states in the world, nor the International Court of Justice, recognise the Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. More than 100 UN resolutions demand that the right of self-determination for the Sahrawi people be respected, but Morocco refuses to accept the referendum which the UN is demanding.
There is a fragile truce in Western Sahara at this moment. The UN is present in the territory to monitor a ceasefire from 1991. Saharawis under occupation and in exile are increasingly frustrated over the standstill. Since Morocco does not respect the referendum plans as elaborated in the peace agreements, Polisario Front is in now seriously deliberations over whether to return to arms.
Polisario has also considered the Moroccan oil search beginning in 2001 as a violation of the Morocco-Polisario agreements from 1991.
The UN considers the oil search in Western Sahara a violation of international law, if they were to proceed in the disregard of the wishes and interests of the Sahrawis. Please find the 2002 UN legal opinion here: www.arso.org/Olaeng.pdf. The former leader of the 2002 expert team, the UN ex-undersecretary general for legal affairs, Mr. Hans Corell, in a conference on 4-5 December 2008 by the South African Department of Foreign Affairs and the University of Pretoria, gave the following address, which puts the opinion into context:
Neither Fugro, nor Kosmos Energy, have given proof that their activities are in line with international law as elaborated by the UN opinion, i.e. that the Sahrawi people has been consulted, or that it is actually in line with their interests and wishes.
Please see letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, on 8 June 2004, to Fugro NV, which proves this point. The letter urges Fugro NV to abstain from activity in Western Sahara, following your previous engagement in the territory.
The Norwegian Ministry of Finance stated in 2005 that activity similar to the one that you are now doing was "a particularly serious violation of fundamental ethical norms e.g. because it may strengthen Morocco’s sovereignty claims and thus contribute to undermining the UN peace process". See the Norwegian government’s opinion of the Kerr-McGee Boujdour block contract here, as they divested from Kerr-McGee of ethical reasons:
The oil industry has played clear role in giving Morocco the impression that the sovereignty claims are stronger than before. Kosmos Energy, for instance, claims consistently, and cynically, that Western Sahara is "Morocco’s Southern Provinces", and "believes it has made the right bet as to which party will prevail" in the conflict.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs urges Norwegian companies to abstain from activities in Western Sahara, due to the aspects of international law. We believe you are aware of that already:
We are also confident that it is in Fugro’s own interest to maintain good relations with the over 70 states in the world that recognise the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as a state. The fact that Fugro has now repeatedly carried out such activities, do not give the impression that your company takes Corporate Social Responsibility very seriously.
To conclude, carrying out Fugro-Geoteam’s participation in the oil exploration is politically controversial, since it supports Morocco’s unfounded claim over Western Sahara, it is contributing to undermining and violating international law, and it is, most importantly, deeply unethical, since it contributes to the continued suffering for the oppressed Sahrawi people.
The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara and the international organisation Western Sahara Resource Watch insist that your company immediately terminate your activities, and withdraw your vessel ‘Geo Caribbean’ from Western Saharan waters.
Chairman, Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara
Western Sahara Resource Watch
Norwegian Parliament’s Committee for Foreign Affairs
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
CFO of Fugro NV, Mr. Klaas Wester
CEO of Fugro NV, Mr. AndrÃ© Jonkman
CEO of Thor Offshore, Mr. Hans Andrias Joensen
Executive Vice President and CFO of Kosmos Energy, Mr. Greg Dunlevy
Human rights campaigners say that Israeli forces have used the munition, which can burn away human flesh to the bone, over Gaza City and Jabaliya in recent days.
Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, said: "Doctors here say they are seeing unprecedented levels of deep burns.
"They cannot categorically say that white phosphorus is being used, they are saying that the munitions being dropped are unprecendented."
Residents in densely-packed Jabaliya have described Israeli forces exploding shells that drop scores of burning fragments and spread suffocating smoke.
"Its the first time we see this type of weapon, it must be new and its seems like its phosphorous," one resident told Al Jazeera.
"Its suffocating and has a deadly poisonous smell that I am sure will cause a lot of sickness and disease on all of the civilians here," he said.
Another witness said she saw "... a bright flash and then all of these sparks fell on our area ... landing all around us and in our homes. Our mattresses caught on fire".
The use of the munition in densely-populated areas violates the requirement under international humanitarian law for all feasible precautions to be taken to avoid civilian injury and loss of life, Human Rights Watch said.
International law permits the use of white phosphorus in order to cover troop movements and prevent enemies from using certain guided weapons.
Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at the human rights group told Al Jazeera on Saturday that he had watched Israeli ground forces using white phosphorus.
"Clearly it is [white phosphorus], we can tell by the explosions and the tendrils that go down [and] the fires that were burning," he said.
"Today there were massive attacks in Jabaliya when we were there. We saw that there were numerous fires once the white phosphorus had gone in.
"We went by Israeli artillery units that had white phosphorus rounds with the fuses in them."
Major Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, told Al Jazeera that the Israeli army was "using munitions with accordance to international law".
"The policy of the IDF [Israeli Defence Force] is to not specify the types of munition, we have not done it before and we will not do it now."
Mark Regev, the Israeli government spokesman, said he was unable to confirm or deny whether the military was using the chemical, but that Israel did not use munitions that were banned under international law.
"I don’t have the knowledge of the detail of what ammunition we are using. I can only know for a fact that Israel uses no ammunition that is outlawed under conventions and that Nato forces would not use in a similar combat situation," he told Al Jazeera.
Israel used white phosphorus during its 34-day war against Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement in 2006, while the United States used it during the controversial siege of the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004.
White phosphorus has a significant, incidental, incendiary effect that can severely burn people and set structures, fields, and other civilian objects in the vicinity on fire. The potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gaza’s high population density, among the highest in the world.
Under the Geneva Convention, which are the statutory implementation of the customary law of war, it is forbidden to deliberately attack civilians or bona-fide civilian structures, dwellings, and places used for civilian purposes, such as hospitals, religious structures, and schools. It therefore follows that the use of any form of weapon to deliberately attack civilians or deliberately attack unquestionably civilian targets unoccupied by military forces is a war crime, and in violation of the laws of war.
The problem is it covers such a wide area that when the white phosphorus wafers come down, over 100 in each artillery shell, they burn everything they touch and they don’t stop burning until they are done.Human Rights Watch believes that the use of white phosphorus in densely populated areas of Gaza violates the requirement under international humanitarian law to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian injury and loss of life.
Air bursting of white phosphorus artillery spreads 116 burning wafers over an area between 125 and 250 meters in diameter, depending on the altitude of the burst, thereby exposing more civilians and civilian infrastructure to potential harm than a localized ground burst.
In addition, WP use in Gaza will damage the main components of eco-systems (air, water, and soil) and some processes may be irreversible. As a result the food chain will be affected due to the damage of biodiversity there. The marine life in Gaza also will be damaged for a long period of time due to the contamination of the sea water by white phosphorus.
Since the beginning of Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza on January 3, 2009, there have been numerous media reports about the possible use of white phosphorous by the Israeli military.
It was identified stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells from high-resolution images taken of Israel on the Israeli-Gaza border. The pale blue 155mm rounds are clearly marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made WP munitions.
The rounds, which explode into a shower of burning white streaks, were first identified at the start of Israel’s ground offensive.
According to a report issued by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the danger to medical staff and the difficulty of extracting the injured from collapsed buildings makes proper evacuation and estimation of casualties difficult.
Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights reported that an estimated 80,000 to 90,000 Gazans have been displaced, including up to 50,000 children; 25,696 people were given refuge in UNRWAs 31 shelters.
OCHA report sated that “only 30% of Gaza City is receiving electricity and power supply for the rest is intermittent.”
OCHA report added that Gaza hospitals remain under intense pressure due to the high number of wounded who continue to be brought in for treatment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the main problem currently facing the health sector is access, in terms of the access of staff, procured medicines and equipment to hospitals, and patient referrals out of the Gaza Strip.