sexta-feira, 27 de março de 2009

Irish MEP voices concerns about the life of three Saharawi hunger-striking prisoners of conscience

The Member of the Irish Parliament, Kathy Sinnott, also member of the Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, sent a letter to the Moroccan Ambassador to Ireland, expressing concerns about the serious state of three Saharawi hunger-striking prisoners of conscience in Moroccan prison Boulemharez.

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

H.E. Mr. Anas Khales
Ambassador of Morocco
39 Raglan Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

Currently, three Sahrawi political prisoners, Khallihanna Aboulhassan, Ali Salem Ablagh and Brahim Baryaz, all of them are university graduates, are staging an open-ended hunger strike in Boulemharez prison in Marrakech, Morocco, protesting about their miserable living conditions and that they be treated as prisoners of conscience. This has been going on since 12 February of this year, with little to no response whatsoever from the local or national authorities. The prisoners’ health is continuing to deteriorate very dangerously, even to loss of consciousness.

Reports coming from the prison are very alarming and require immediate action if serious injury and death is to be prevented. I would ask if His Excellency would contact the local prison and courts as well as any other Moroccan authorities necessary to address and cater to the hunger strikers’ demands. I also ask that you revert to me with more information on this desperate situation.

I look forward to your response.

Yours Sincerely,

Kathy Sinnott

MEP for Ireland South
Subcommittee on Human Rights

Office of Kathy Sinnott, MEP for Munster

Brussels Office: European Parliament, WIB 3M081, 60 Rue Wiertz, B-1047
Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 228 47692
Fax: +32 (0) 228 49692

POLISARIO representative in Denmark received by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC)

POLISARIO Front’s Deputy Representative in Denmark, Abba Malainin, was received Wednesday by the Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Mr. Andreas Kamm, according to POLISARIO Front representation in Denmark.

The Discussions focused on the humanitarian situation of the Sahrawi refugees, especially the last survey conducted in 2008 by Medecins du Monde (MDM) and WFP in coordination with UNHCR concluded that there was malnutrition in the Saharawi Refugee Camps, with 61 percent of the children and 66 percent of pregnant women suffering from anaemia (iron deficiency). The assessment also showed that 55 percent of all women are anaemic, with a possibility of overall micronutrient deficiencies in the entire population.

The Saharawi Diplomat briefed the Secretary General of the (DRC) about the recent reports published by the European Parliament Ad-hoc delegation, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that unveiled the grave human rights violations perpetrated by the Moroccan Government in the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara.

Mr. Abba Malainin brought to the attention of his interlocutor the critical situation of the three Saharawi political prisoners, who have been going on an open hunger strike since February 12th, 2009 in Boulemharez prison in Marrakech,

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is a private, humanitarian organization covering all aspects of the refugee cause. The aim of the organisation is to protect refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) against persecution and to promote durable solutions.

Danish Refugee Council is an umbrella organisation with 30 member organizations.

More than 30 people arrested during peaceful demonstration in El Aaiun

More than 30 people were arrested and dozens seriously injured during a brutal intervention of Moroccan forces against a peaceful demonstration started from Tuesday night to Wednesday in the occupied city of El Aaiun, demanding their inalienable right to self-determination.

The Moroccan forces of repression have brutally suppressed the demonstrators; arresting more than 30 people and wounding dozens, as for homes which were precisely under siege, according to a source from the Sahrawi Ministry of the occupied territories and Immigration.
According to a non-exhaustive assessment, the Moroccan forces of repression have arrested the Sahrawi citizens, Nguiya AL Hawass, Hayat Rgueibi (recently a victim of rape), Jamal Al Husseini, Snatu Sbai, Al Dagna Musawi and Dahbi Al Jamii, Zahra Al Mussawi, Zahra Rais, Lamat Zughmane and Afaf Mohamed Fadel.

Another demonstration took place in the occupied city of Smara, demanding the immediate withdrawal of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara and the release, without further delay, of the Sahrawi political prisoners still languish in Moroccan prisons, some of them are in a critical states of health because of the hunger strike, notably in Boulemharez prison (Marrakech).

Forty-fourth day of hunger strike by Sahrawi political prisoners in Marrakech prison

The Saharawi political prisoners in the Carcel Negra (Black jail) in occupied El Aaiun, expressed Wednesday their full solidarity with their compatriots on hunger strike since 43 days in Boulemharez prison (Southern Morocco), in a press release, a copy of which was received at SPS.

Sahrawi students Brahim Baryaz, Ali Salem Ablagh and Khalihnna Abul Hassan have conducted since February 12 an indefinite hunger strike in the prison of Marrakech to protest against their conditions of detention that do not respect international conventions that the Kingdom of Morocco has signed.

The President of the French Association of Friendship and Solidarity with the Peoples of Africa (AFASPA), Jean Paul Escoffier, notified Tuesday the King of Morocco regarding their situation in the prison of Marrakech.

In this regard, CODESA also appealed to the international human rights organizations to intervene urgently to save the lives of Sahrawi prisoners of conscience of a "certain death".

Sahrawi NGO expresses its solidarity with political prisoners on hunger strike in Bulemharez prison

The Saharawi Association of victims of grave violations of human rights committed by the Moroccan State (ASVDH) expressed Thursday its support and solidarity with the Sahrawi political prisoners on hunger strike for more than six weeks in the Moroccan prison of Bulemharez (Marrakech).

ASVDH has urged Moroccan authorities to reply as soon as possible to the legitimate claims of those prisoners, to "save their lives from certain death," the association said.

In this regard, the association holds the Moroccan authorities "responsible for the consequences that may result from this hunger strike which threatens lives of the political prisoners, arrested for their political opinions in favour of self-determination of the Saharawi people ".

Finally, ASVDH launched a call to international organizations of human rights to put pressure on Morocco for the release of Saharawi political prisoners which still languish in Moroccan prisons.

OMCT is concerned by the deteriorating situation of human rights in Western Sahar

The President of the World Organization against Torture (OMCT), Eric Sottas expressed "deep concern" over the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, specifying "torture can not be in any way legitimate.”

Mr. Sottas speaking on the Sahrawi National Radio, in an exclusive statement to its program "freemen behind bars" condemned torture and chases perpetrated by the Moroccan authorities against the Saharawi Human Rights Defenders in the Saharawi territories under the Moroccan occupation.

He also indicated that he follows with great attention the situation of human rights in Western Sahara, adding that his organization is awaiting the response to a request to the Moroccan authorities for a visit to the region.

"We are awaiting a response and we hope to be able soon to visit the region, and if the European delegation waited more than 3 years to receive approval, we hope for it, as soon as possible.”

Regarding the case of the young Saharawi, Hayat Rgueibi, lately raped by Moroccan police, the president of OMCT has condemned the inhuman and criminal act that occurred most recently in the city of occupied El Aaiun.

Shipping companies desist from Western Sahara trade


A group of three Norwegian shipping companies have stated that they desist from future assignments in Western Sahara.

Illustration photo above shows bagged fishmeal being loaded at the El Aaiun harbour, November 2008. The vessels are not related to the 3 companies mentioned in this article.

The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara discovered recently that the Norwegian owned vessel "Kine" had visited Western Sahara. The vessel transported 2227 tonnes of bagged fishmeal from the occupied territory.

The ship is owned and managed by the Norwegian companies Vaagebulk IV, Vaage Shipmanagement AS and Wagle Chartering.

The three shipping companies told the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara that they were not aware of the fact that the shipment had been done at all.

Such shipments are in violations of the recommendations of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to information that the three companies have provided to the Support Committe, "Kine" arrived El Aaiun harbour in Western Sahara on 7 August, and started loading the fishmeal the following day. On 11 August, the ship had loaded the 2227 tonnes, which were to be transported to the importer Elagro SIA in Latvia.

The fishmeal was produced by the Moroccan company KB Fish.

"We do not want our vessels to be used in Western Sahara", confirmed Mr. Biørn Borge, CEO of Wagle Chartering, on behalf of his company and of the companies Vaagebulk IV and Vaage Shipmanagement AS.

At the time the vessel carried out its transport, she was chartered by the Dutch firm Hudig & Veder. Mr. Borge said they will convey their position to the Dutch company.

They furthermore state that they will state their position on Western Sahara trade once they chart out their vessels to other companies in the future.

Last week, the Norwegian shipping company Atlantic RTI / Fearnley Finans said that they too want to avoid such trade in the future, by introducing a Western Sahara ban in its future contracts.