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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.

 

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Palestine in Africa
Jueves, 15 de Noviembre de 2012 18:05
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Source: SOUCIANT (An Article by Emanuel Stoakes)

Military occupations bring certain themes to mind: human rights abuses; poverty; crowded refugee camps, and so on. Geographic references are equally synonymous: Palestine, Kashmir or West Papua, to cite the most recent example. Rarely, if ever, is the miserable situation in the sparsely-populated province of Western Sahara cited.

This is hardly surprising, given that the issue has long been ignored by the world’s media, and by the international community. Statements of concern have been plentiful from UN members, in particular from African Union states. However, pitched against French meddling, and the effective backing of the Arab League and the US, this state of affairs looks set to continue.

Yet the bitter plight of the dispossessed Sahrawi people, living in refugee camps in Africa’s last de facto colony, demands far more attention than it has received from the world. Living under the thumb of the occupying Moroccan military since a takeover by Rabat in the 1970s, the local people are now being demographically overwhelmed by Moroccans encouraged to settle in Saharan towns. The effect, as it is in the West Bank, is to create a residential obstacle to a reversal of the status quo.

A UN-sponsored Sahrawi referendum on the occupation is officially waiting to take place as a consequence of the ceasefire agreements between the Polisario Front, a separatist rebel group, and Moroccan forces. The vote is seriously overdue: it was meant to have taken place in 1992. Since that time, the Sahrawi have remained impoverished, subjugated and virtually hopeless for an improvement in their situation. Meanwhile, the occupiers have benefitted from their partnerships with the West, while the latter keeps all but silent on the gravity of Sahrawi suffering.

One person who has not neglected to critically address this issue is Stephen Zunes. Together with Jacob Mundy, the University of San Francisco political science professor produced one of the more recent books on the subjects: Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Resolution (Syracuse University Press, 2o10.) Talking to Souciant, Zunes described Morocco’s occupation as amounting to “the worst police state [he’d] ever seen.” I began by asking Professor Zunes two of the more pertinent questions on the issue: Why does the Western Sahara suffer from such neglect, and can we expect things to change in the near future?

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Human Rights Defender Brutally Attacked by Moroccan Police
Sábado, 03 de Noviembre de 2012 15:59
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Retaliatory violence by the Moroccan government continues to rise during United Nations Envoy’s visit to militarily-controlled Western Sahara

(Nov. 2, 2012 – Washington) RFK Human Rights Laureate Aminatou Haidar is the latest victim of systemic violence and police brutality by the Moroccan government against the Sahrawi people. The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) has received multiple reports in the last week that indicate dramatically increased police presence, repression, and assault against civilians in El Ayun, the of capital of Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, coinciding with Ambassador Christopher Ross’s arrival in the area.

"The fact that this violence against the Sahrawi didn’t just continue but actually increased during Ambassador Ross's visit demonstrates how vital it is to build a global conversation about the plight of the Sahrawi. The Moroccan government believes that the international community will not hold them accountable for these continued human rights violations. We have to prove them wrong." said Kerry Kennedy, President of the RFK Center.

Ambassador Ross serves as United Nations (UN) Envoy to Western Sahara, a region Morocco was occupied militarily since 1975 despite calls for a referendum on self-determination. He is in the midst of a planned visit to speak with Sahrawi citizens as part of the UN’s Western Sahara peacekeeping mission, known as MINURSO. Four decades since the UN cease-fire, the Sahrawi people suffer torture, arbitrary detention, forced disappearances, and other human rights violations at the hands of the Moroccan government and the UN’s peacekeeping mission lacks human rights monitoring mandate to report on such violations.

"It's unacceptable that in spite of the overwhelming evidence of violence against the Sahrawi people, the international community and the UN are still refusing to include a human rights mandate in the peacekeeping mission." said RFK Partners for Human Rights Director Santiago Canton.

 

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The White House regarding the FTA and the status of Western Sahara
Jueves, 01 de Noviembre de 2012 17:22
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Letter of The White House to a congressman

 
At the arrival of Christopher Ross, the Moroccan authorities harasses the prominent HR defender, Aminatou Haidar
Jueves, 01 de Noviembre de 2012 05:45
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31 October...

Aminatou Haidar, the chairwoman of CODESA, The Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders, based in El Aayoun, was subjected to harassment by the Moroccan police today afternoon.

Aminatou says she left home to witness and register the police blockade in El Ayun, intensified at the arrival of the UN envoy Christopher Ross to the capital of Western Sahara. She was stopped by two police agents, one in uniform, the other in plainclothes, at 5.15 p.m.at the outskirts of Minurso Headquarters, asking about her destination. Aminatou considered this act a violation of her right to movement, protesting against hindering her freedom to mobilization without any legal reason.

While continuing to drive in the city centre, she was surprised by a police Prado following her and controlling all her movements, until she reached Maatallah neighbourhood, where a large Sahrawi population is concentrated. Then, an ill-known Moroccan police officer, Mohamed Elhassouni, started taking photos for her from a police Volkswagen, registered as 136769~ش . At her protest against this harassment, more police vans arrived to surround the place and repress any sort of mass protest.

Leaving the place, Aminatou was put under strict surveillance by a Fiat Palio -registered as 131372- belonging to an intelligence service, called ‘Les Renseignements Généraux’, along Smara Street, until she arrived at the CODESA Secretary General, Elarbi Messoud’s house, where more surveillance cars joined.

Aminatou adds that her house is still under police surveillance; her home telephone, mobile phone and internet connection are being controlled and spoilt.

The Executive Board

The Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders,

CODESA

 

 

 

 

 
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