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Saharawis: Victims of International ‘conflict of Interest’ hoping for a UN spring.
Sábado, 01 de Diciembre de 2012 12:07
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By: Salah Mohamed

November 8th, 2012 marked the second anniversary of the brutal dismantling of Gdaim Izik camp. More than 40,000 Saharawis internally displaced themselves out of the city of Elaaiun, In Western Sahara, to protest against the occupation of their land by Morocco and the systematic plundering of their natural resources. It was a peaceful form of protesting against marginalization and discrimination, violence and assassinations. The tent city camp, later called: Camp Independence, was democratically organized, and meant a lot for the Saharawis themselves or as for the first time in their lives, they were able to voice their rightful demands without fear. It was the first uprising against terror and marginalization. This protest camp inspired other nations from New Occupy movement through Madrid’s civil protests to the Arab world’s spring. Many Arab populations in Arab countries rose against dictatorship, authoritarian regimes, and against impoverishment and confiscation of liberties.


The brutal dismantling of the camp took place on November 8th, 2010, early in the morning. Raids, arbitrary arrests, murdering were the common features of the horrible day. Twenty three Saharawi civilians, among whom were human rights activists and camp organizers were incarcerated and later transferred to Zaki prison in Sale city in Morocco. Other hundreds of Saharawis including women and elders were incarcerated in Elaaiun’s local prison Carcel negra prison. Reports of torture and ill treatment were documented by the lawyers and the local and international human rights organizations. The UN peacekeeping forces were present there before, during and after the Gdaim Izik camp. They did nothing as they stayed there acting like paid tourists. The UN mission to Western Sahara, MINURSO, is the only UN mission that does not have the component of the human rights in its mandate. This is all thanks to the veto of Morocco’s legal guardian and powerful protector: France.


Christopher Ross, the UN special envoy, came for the first time in Elaaiun, last week, to conduct a visit to the territory and to interact with the local Saharawis. He has been leading five years of negotiations between the Polisario Front and the Moroccan government without success in finding a just mutually accepted political solution that would meet the Saharawis expectations in ensuring their right of self determination. While Mr. Ross was meeting with Saharawi leaders or activists from the civil society in Elaaiun, the police was performing its regular duty on Saharawis: a brutal horrible crackdown on peaceful protesters including: women, elderly and children.


Peaceful protests, in Elaaiun and other cities of Western Sahara, were organized calling for the right of self determination for the Saharawis. A massive brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters led to the wounding and dozens hundreds of Saharawis in most cities.
The violent intervention by the Moroccan occupation forces was trying to silence the Sahrawi citizens from peaceful protesting and from demanding their right to freedom and independence. This whole ordeal and violence against the Saharawis was worldwide exposed and denounced. Minatou Haidar, a Nobel Prize candidate and an RFK Foundation Award winner, was attacked, her car vandalized and her home raided, along with the attack on other activists who were severely injured and harassed on the scene.

Ironically enough, Morocco is still at hard work enhancing its brain-washing propaganda. The Moroccan regime tries to set the fait-accompli on Saharawis, on Moroccans, and on the international community. The Monarchy in Morocco is doing its best to embellish its best to make Saharawis look as the monster and the victimizer, This propaganda serves well the agenda of the Monarch in Morocco as it is another way of creating general consensus whereby Moroccan would forget their own internal problems and only focus on the Western Sahara issue backing up the absolute monarchy towards the legitimization of the occupation.


In Elaaiun , Guelmim Smara, boujdour and dakhla, the Saharawis have demonstrated peacefully to commemorate Gdaim Izik dismantling but the Moroccan police just attacked them aggressively as Saharawi civilians have always been an easy prey for them to practice their sadistic ways of violence. Once again, among the victims were there many women, elders, children who were all injured and ill-treated.

European delegations came to visit the occupied territory and were soon evicted from Elaaiun, while some of them were expelled even before they reach the city of Elaaiun. Four young Norwegian politicians wanted to hear the Saharawis on the issue of fishing, while the other fifteen Spanish wanted to be present on site for the second anniversary of the Gdaim Izik brutal dismantling.

The Norwegian group members were: Kristine Halling  (former Central Executive Member, AUF,) Henriksen, Pål represents who Spjelkavik (international leader AUF Sør-Trøndelag), Gunnar Kaus (member of the International Committee, the Youth Centre) , and Vegard Tjørhom (Oslo County Board Member, Youth Center). The group arrived yesterday to Elaaiun coming from Marrakech with the purpose of conducting a 4 days visit to Elaaiun. They were trying to meet and to talk to Saharawis in Elaaiun. Interacting with the Saharawi population was seen as an attempt to investigate the current situation. When the Group arrived yesterday afternoon to the northern entrance of Elaaiun, they noticed that the police officers at the police checkpoint looked very angry and aggressive. After the initial introductory paperwork formalities, they ordered them in an angry voice to limit them to the Nagjir hotel and not to leave their rooms. The group was also ordered not to meet with any "Saharawi friends".


Thus, the group was confined to its rooms with no contact with the outside world afterwards. The following day, the Moroccan authorities brought a Grand Taxi, and ordered the group to get in with their luggage and to leave the Western Sahara towards Agadir which is located south Morocco. According to the group, there were 15 policemen waiting for them at the lobby along with the Pasha of Elaaiun along with an English interpreter. The Moroccan authorities told the group members that they would be deported Agadir and that they could go to any place in Morocco but not to Western Sahara. They were basically banned from visiting or staying in Western Sahara. Police escorts of uniformed and plain-cloth police agents were following them to make sure they would leave the territory.
Meanwhile, morocco is still plundering the natural resources of Western Sahara. The international community still keeps a closed eye on this terrible and horrible violation. The international law is very clear on this issue as Hans Corell once stated when he was the legal advisor to the UN. Even the New York Bar association recently issued a wonderful legal report in this regard. All agreements and treaties with Morocco should not include the territory of Western Sahara, and all good and resources such as fisheries and phosphate from Western Sahara should not be part of any agreement. This can not be done at the expense of the Saharawis and their own natural resources from which the do not benefit.

As an example, Morocco earns more than $ 200 million from stolen Saharawi phosphate in the period of 6 months. This goes along the way with other huge benefits of an estimate of millions of dollars from revenues from: Fisheries, sand, salt, fruits and vegetables come straight into the pockets of the king and his inner
circle, his generals and some foreign accomplices worldwide.

Supporting and establishing the right of self-determination can be a first step towards recognizing the many other forgotten rights of the Western Sahara people who have long been forgotten by other civil societies and governments. As they have been abandoned by the International community for many decades, it is about high time the UN and all people around the world reacted and straightened the path towards freedom and liberty for Saharawis.