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UN: Christopher Ross Interview
Sábado, 28 de Enero de 2012 19:16
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UN: News & Media

(ENG) In a recent interview, UN Personal Envoy to Western Sahara Christopher Ross said it was "unacceptable" that for 37 years Sahrawi refugees have lived in miserable conditions. Ross said that because of a political dispute "whose main actors have engaged in endless battle on the ground, at the negotiating table, in international fora and I think we should never lose sight of the people caught in the middle of this conflict." UNTV / FILE

(ESP) En una entrevista reciente, el enviado personal de las Naciones Unidas al Sahara Occidental, Christopher Ross, dijo que era inaceptable que, durante 37 años, los refugiados saharauis hayan vivido en míseras condiciones. Ross dijo que por una disputa política “cuyos actores principales se han involucrado en una batalla interminable sobre el terreno, en la mesa de negociaciones, en foros internacionales, y pienso que no deberíamos nunca perder de vista a la gente atrapada en medio de este conflicto”.


The Western Sahara and North African People’s Power
Sábado, 28 de Enero de 2012 16:04
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Abdelkader Abderrahmane, Senior Researcher, Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis Division, ISS Addis Ababa


In April 2011, the mandate of MINURSO—the United Nations (UN) Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, which has been tasked since 1991 with maintaining a ceasefire and monitoring Africa’s longest territorial dispute between Morocco and the Sahrawi Polisario Front— was yet again renewed. Twenty one years since MINURSO was set up, closer attention ought to be placed on the Western Saharan dispute, one which has exhausted and frustrated a large number of UN special envoys.

It is important to recall that the occupation of the Western Sahara - a land once described by a MINURSO observer as “the worst police state I have ever seen”- by Morocco is in blunt violation of international law. Back in 1963 the Western Sahara was included in a list of territories, identified by the UN, which sought self-determination. The notion of self-determination was already enshrined in the UN Charter and is supported by UN resolution 1514 which stipulates that “all people have the right to self-determination”. This was further supported by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a ruling on October 16th 1975 when it declared that the Western Sahara was not a territory without a master (terra nullius) at the time of its colonisation by Spain. The ICJ judgement, therefore, declared that Morocco had no valid claim on the Sahara based on any historic title.

Having said that, Moroccan intransigence has only been possible with the biased involvement of Western states, principally the US and France, aided no less by Saudi Arabia’s massive financial handouts. This can be explained by the fact that Morocco has long been considered a stable regional Western ally, one that maintains strong economic ties with the US and the European Union. Morocco’s pro-Western antics, however, do not detract from its continued occupation of the Western Sahara. Such a double standard policy can also be compared to the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. Indeed, the latter’s invasion by Iraq was based on historic claims similar to Morocco’s, but was rightly rejected by the UN Security Council.


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Jueves, 19 de Enero de 2012 12:04
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Morocco Can Further Demonstrate its Commitment to the Rule of Law

Rabat/New York—The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC)—a global network of more than 2,500 non-governmental and civil society organizations—called on Bahrain and Morocco to demonstrate their commitment to international justice and the rule of law by ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and acceding to the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Court (APIC). The Coalition has selected Bahrain and Morocco as the focus for its January 2012 Universal Ratification Campaign (URC), a monthly campaign launched to encourage countries to join the Rome Statute system
In two separate letters dated 11 January 2012 to King of Bahrain HM Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and King of Morocco HM Mohamed VI, the Coalition urged both governments to demonstrate their commitment to international justice and the rule of law by ratifying the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC—the first permanent international court capable of trying perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

At a time when sweeping changes are occurring across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the Coalition believes that Morocco and Bahrain can further strengthen this growing movement in the region towards ending impunity by joining the ICC.


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