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Western Sahara: It’s Time for the People to Choose
Martes, 18 de Septiembre de 2012 15:07
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The latest diplomatic dance on whether or not former US Ambassador Christopher Ross should be allowed to continue to mediate UN-led talks between the Frente Polisario and Morocco on the future of Western Sahara is symptomatic of a much bigger problem ― the large powers’ unwillingness to advance an end to a dispute that they mistakenly see as peripheral to their strategic interests, and their resultant acquiescence in the brutal and illegal occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco for more than 35 years.

Western Sahara is not part of Morocco, nor has it ever been. When still under Spanish colonial rule in 1963, Western Sahara was listed by the UN as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, putting it on the same path towards independence traveled by almost all other colonial territories in Africa. Spain was expected and indeed obliged to oversee a process of decolonization that it completely failed to deliver upon. Instead, Spain’s withdrawal in 1975 was knowingly orchestrated to leave the territory to a tripartite administration with Mauritania and Morocco that eventually led to the illegal annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco.

It is therefore not an accident that not one country anywhere in the world has recognized Moroccan sovereignty in Western Sahara, and that the African Union counts the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), governed by the Frente Polisario, as one of its founding members. As the International Court of Justice put it in 1975, “neither the internal nor the international acts relied upon by Morocco indicate the existence at the relevant period of either the existence or the international recognition of legal ties of territorial sovereignty between Western Sahara and the Moroccan State.”

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Can the BDS movement go global?
Martes, 18 de Septiembre de 2012 14:27
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Mark LeVine discusses widening the scope of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement with Stephen Zunes.

Non-violent resistance proponent Professor Stephen Zunes is a leading expert on strategies of resistance, both to foreign occupations and authoritarian regimes more broadly. He spoke with Mark LeVine about his recent research on the possibility of expanding the contemporary Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement beyond the occupied Palestinian territories and whether doing so would help or hurt the Palestinian BDS movement, and global non-violent struggles for freedom more broadly.

Mark LeVine: Your recent article, "Divesting from All Occupations", has caused something of a stir in academic and activist circles. Can you briefly summarise the main argument and why you have come to it and decided to make it now?

Stephen Zunes: One of the major objections to the BDS movement is that it somehow unfairly "singles out Israel" when there are a large number of other governments which also violate human rights. BDS activists, however, correctly note that there is a much stronger legal case for opposing human rights abuses in territories recognised as being under foreign occupation. For example, international law prohibits, under most circumstances, foreign companies from exploiting natural resources within such territories. Similarly, there are a host of legal issues regarding the export of weapons and other military resources to countries that utilise them in suppressing the rights of those under occupation.

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Divesting from All Occupations
Martes, 18 de Septiembre de 2012 13:48
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In response to ongoing violations of international law and basic human rights by the rightist Israeli government of Benyamin Netanyahu in the occupied West Bank and elsewhere, there has been a growing call for divestment of stocks in corporations supporting the occupation.

Modeled after the largely successful divestment campaign in the 1980s against corporations doing business in apartheid South Africa, the movement targets companies that support the Israeli occupation by providing weapons or other instruments of repression to Israeli occupation forces, investing in or trading with enterprises in illegal Israeli settlements, and in other ways. Although human rights activists recognize such tactics as a legitimate form of nonviolent international solidarity with an oppressed people, right-wing groups supporting the occupation as well as some more moderate organizations concerned about the strident anti-Israel tone of some divestment supporters have denounced the movement.

Still, the campaign has scored notable successes.  One target of the campaign has been the Caterpillar company, which has provided Israeli occupation forces with bulldozers that have illegally demolished thousands of Palestinian homes. In recent months, TIAA/CREF— the leading provider of retirement benefits for those in the academic, research, medical, and cultural fields—has removed Caterpillar from its Social Choice Fund. The influential Morgan Stanley Capital International has delisted Caterpillar from its World Socially Responsible Index, and the Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation has joined a growing list of groups which have divested stockholdings in the company. At the recent General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA, a resolution to divest from Caterpillar, along with Motorola and Hewlett Packard, for their complicity in the occupation was defeated by the narrowest of margins.

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RFK comision report (August 2012)
Sábado, 08 de Septiembre de 2012 07:26
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Observations of the RFK Center's Delegation in Western Sahara

 
Falta de observadores amenaza un juicio justo para los presos de Gdeim Izik
Viernes, 07 de Septiembre de 2012 12:14
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Tras casi dos años del desmantelamiento de Gdeim Izik, un grupo de 22 activistas saharauis continúan en la cárcel de Salé condenados por un "atentado a la seguridad interior y exterior del Estado, formación de banda criminal y atentado contra los funcionarios públicos en el marco del ejercicio de su función". Los presos de Salé, como se les conoce, vivieron en el gran campamento saharaui de Gdeim Izik que se formó a las afueras de la ciudad ocupada de El Aaiún y que fue desmantelado por el Gobierno de Marruecos en noviembre de 2010.

A principios de este año se abrió el proceso que sometería a estos saharauis a un juicio militar. El transcurso de estos nueve meses, los presos de Salé han realizado hasta cuatro huelgas de hambre reclamando una liberación inmediata ante la carencia de pruebas por parte del Gobierno de Marruecos para ser juzgados.

Hace unos días, conocíamos la nueva fecha para el juicio que tendrá lugar en Rabat. Se celebrará el 24 de Octubre y al mismo acudirán diferentes organizaciones jurídicas y de defensa de los DDHH que pretenden garantizar la realización de un juicio justo a falta de observadores internacionales enviados desde la propia ONU. La celebración de este juicio se ha ido postergando a lo largo de los meses, siendo cancelados finalmente por el Gobierno de Marruecos en su táctica de evitar que los observadores puedan dar constancia de la realidad a la que se someten los saharauis en un juicio marroquí, en el que sus derechos carecen de importancia y donde las únicas declaraciones que tienen constancia son las realizadas por los propios funcionarios del régimen alauita.

Acompañados por un grupo de abogados de Badajoz, desde Thawra reclamamos la necesidad de observadores civiles que puedan acudir a la celebración de este juicio. Si estás interesado/a en acudir al juicio en calidad de observador de DDHH y para más información sobre la convocatoria, no dudes en contactarnos a través de nuestro correo electrónico saharathawra@gmail.com.

READ HERE IN ENGLISH


After almost two years have passed of the dismantling of Gdeim Izik, a group of 22 Sahrawi activists continue being held in the Salé prison. They have been condemned for "assaulting interior and exterior State securuty, of forming a criminal gang, and assaulting public officials at work." The prisoners of Salé, as they have come to be known, participated in the great Sahrawi protest that took place in Gdeim Izik, a camp which formed on the outskirts of the occupied city of Laayoune, and which was dismantled by the government of Morocco in November 2010.

Early this year, a process leading to these Sahrawis being judged according to military law was begun. During the past nine months, the prisoners of Salé have undertaken four hunger strikes, demanding the Moroccan government for their immediate release due to lack of evidence.

A few days ago, we were informed of the new date for the trial that will take place in Rabat. The trial will be held on the 24th of October, and different judicial and human rights organizations will be present in an attempt to ensure a fair trial, since the UN has failed to send international observers. The trial has been postponed during months, and has several times been cancelled by the Moroccan government in an attempt to avoid showing the observers the reality that Sahrawis face in a Moroccan trial, where their rights lose importance and the only statements considered valid are those made by the officials of the Alawite regime.

Together with a group of lawyers from Badajoz, we at Thawra reclaim the need for civilian observers who could attend this trial. If you are interested to attend the trial as a human rights observer, please contact us for more information via e-mail at saharathawra@gmail.com.


 
Tras dos años Rabat decide conceder un juicio a los presos de Gdeim Izik
Lunes, 03 de Septiembre de 2012 13:14
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La corte marcial de Rabat fijó la fecha de 24 de octubre de 2012 para el juicio a los 23 presos políticos saharauis encarcelados en la prisión de Salé desde el desmantelamiento por las fuerzas marroquíes del campamento de Gdeim Izik, cerca de El Aaiún (Sahara Occidental), el 8 de noviembre de 2010.

Desde su encarcelamiento, los presos saharauis Abdulahi Lakfawni, Abdullahi Toubali, Ahmed Sbai, Babait Mohamed Juna, Brahim Ismaïli, Cheikh Banga, Deich Eddaf (Daish Daf), El Ayoubi Mohamed (Mohamed Al Ayoubi), El Bachir Khadda, El Houssin Ezzaoui, Enaama Asfari, Hassan Dah, Laaroussi Abdeljalil,  Machdoufi Ettaki (Taki Elmachdoufi), Mohamed Bani, Mohamed Bourial, Mohamed El Bachir Boutinguiza, Mohamed Embarek Lefkir, Mohamed Lamin Haddi, Mohamed Tahili, Sid Ahmed Lemjiyed, Sidi Abdallah B’hah, Sidi Abderahmane Zayou, han llevado a cabo cuatro huelgas de hambre para llamar la atención de la opinión pública y reivindicar una mejora de las condiciones carcelarias, un juicio justo y equitativo ante una jurisdicción civil, o su puesta en libertad incondicional.

Los presos saharauis, militantes de los derechos humanos, están acusados arbitrariamente entre otros cargos de "atentado a la seguridad interior y exterior del Estado, formación de banda criminal y atentado contra los funcionarios públicos en el marco del ejercicio de su función". Según la ley marroquí, corren el riesgo de reclusión a perpetuidad.

Recordamos que el tribunal pospuso sine die la primera audiencia, prevista para el 13 de enero de 2012.

La ASVDH hace un llamamiento a todas las organizaciones internacionales de derechos humanos, de juristas solidarios, a asistir a este juicio en calidad de observadores.

English...

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The Netherlands: Western Sahara products are not Moroccan
Lunes, 03 de Septiembre de 2012 12:50
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The new WSRW report ‘Label and Liability’, launched today, documents how produce from the controversial agro-industry in the occupied territory, ends up in the baskets of unaware EU customers.

 

Western Sahara Resource Watch and Emmaus Stockholm
17 June 2012

On July 1, a new agricultural agreement between the EU and Morocco is expected to enter into force. Its vague territorial scope will allow greater volumes of fresh produce from occupied Western Sahara to enter the EU market.

A new report from Western Sahara Resource Watch launched today documents how produce from the controversial agro-industry in the occupied territory, ends up in the baskets of unaware EU customers. The products are made on plantations owned by the Moroccan King or French-Moroccan conglomerates.

“The income and the employment that these rich lands generate only benefit the occupying power. It directly undermines the UN efforts to solve the conflict”, stated Sara Eyckmans of Western Sahara Resource Watch.

The report, ‘Label and Liability’, reveals furthermore how the industry is blooming under a systematic false country of origin reporting, which leaves the customers in the dark.

Download the report here.

“There is a systematic mislabelling of tomatoes from the occupied territories in EU supermarkets. This is in direct violation of a key EU directive which gives the consumers the right to be properly informed on the country of origin of the products”, stated Eyckmans.

 

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