Contrary to claims by Morocco, there are few rights abuses at refugee camps run by the pro-independence Polisario movement in Western Sahara, Human Rights Watch said Saturday in a new report.
This article is available in full:
The newly built drillship ‘Atwood Achiever’ is moving at a steady pace around the south coast of the African continent. It is on its way to undertake a highly controversial operation. In only a few weeks from now, the rig will be anchoring off the coast of Western Sahara, a territory largely under Moroccan occupation.
n waters about 2135 meters deep, it will commence the first drilling operation in Western Sahara’s history under Moroccan foreign rule. Exploration of oil offshore occupied Western Sahara is con-sidered to be in violation of international law. Furthermore, it undermines the UN peace process in the territory, is highly unethical since it contributes to supporting Morocco’s unfounded claims to sovereignty over the territory and disrespects the wishes of the indigenous Saharawi people. No state in the world recognises Morocco’s self-proclaimed sovereignty over the territory.
This report is available in full:
INTERVENTION OF THE F.POLISARIO TO THE IV COMMITTEE
69 SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York, October 10, 2014
I address this important Committee on behalf of the Polisario Front, the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people. The Western Sahara is still the last colony in Africa, and its continued occupation by Morocco for the past forty years is, above all, a direct challenge to the position set by the international community that has repeatedly proclaimed the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence. This challenge has dragged on for too long and it is time for it to come to an end.
Some recent developments provide a new opportunity. On the one hand, the African Union has appointed former President of Mozambique, Mr. Chissano, as its Special Envoy for Western Sahara, reflecting the legitimate interests of our continent to revive its historic cooperation with the UN in the Western Sahara decolonization process. On the other hand, the Secretary General of the UN declared in his report to the Security Council in April 2014 that in April 2015 he will make a final assessment of the relevance of the peace process that is currently blocked by Morocco, so as to make the Security Council fully shoulder its responsibilities. To that end, he announced that his Personal Envoy, Ambassador Ross, would travel to the region once every month. Ambassador Ross asked in May, June and September, for the cooperation of the parties to carry out his mission. He received a positive response from the Polisario but has not yet been able to go to the region on three occasions because Morocco, under the guise of maneuvers and delay tactics, has decided not to cooperate, thus obstructing the continued UN mediation effort. For the same reasons of obstruction, Morocco has publicly decried the appointment of President Chissano by the African Union and has not allowed the new Special Representative and Head of MINURSO to travel to Western Sahara to take office in the Territory.
MINURSO came to the Western Sahara 23 years ago to organize a referendum on self-determination that was accepted and signed by Morocco. The facts prove that Morocco has increasingly, step by step, transformed it into the umbrella of a colonial occupation. The decolonization of Western Sahara cannot be mistaken or limited to the replacement of a European colonizer for an Afro-Arab neighbor colonizer.
You and particularly the members of the Security Council should clarify if that’s the mission you wanted for MINURSO. Is MINURSO simply to be the guardian of an illegal occupation and turn a blind eye to the large-scale theft of the resources of our country? Is it to ignore the continuing human rights violations? The latest victim was a political prisoner, Hassana Elwali, who died less than a week ago because he was denied medical care while being detained in prison in the occupied city of Dakhla. The people of Western Sahara, who have trusted the UN for so many years, deserve and need that clarification. After over 40 years, silence or patience to the imposed injustice on the Saharawi people and to what the MINURSO has become means renunciation of responsibilities and is no longer a compelling option.
Thank you very much
Some of these artists live in exile, but continue to focus attention on the plight of the citizens of their embattled homelands.
Aziza Brahim is the granddaughter of Al Kadra, revered war poetess of the Saharawi, the people of the Western Sahara, most of whose land has been annexed by Morocco.
Born and raised in Algerian refugee camps, Aziza learnt to play the tabal, the traditional drum of her people.
Beating out the rhythm, she lifts her hauntingly beautiful voice to chronicle the history of the Saharawi, the decades of war, civil uprisings and life as a refugee, whether in the camps of Algeria or in the Spanish city of Barcelona where she now resides.
See more at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29162685
Amnesty International on Wednesday broke news that seven Sahrawi hunger strikers had ended their fast, reportedly after being promised better prison conditions, but the victory is a small one and only helps to illustrate the wider abuses going on behind the scenes in the Western Sahara.
Last Sunday, Moroccan security forces arrested six Sahrawi demonstrators in the occupied territory of Western Sahara after protests broke out in response to the death of a hunger striking Sahrawi prisoner, Hassana al-Wali.
Torture and death: a political prisoner’s story in Western Sahara – See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/in-depth/features/western-sahara-607501312#sthash.knC3aVpx.dpuf