Friday, November 25, 2005

Seminar on Western Sahara Conflict

Föreningen för Utvecklingsfrågor- Swedish Development Forum -inbjuder i samarbete med Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, ABF och Stiftelsen Global Kunskaptill ett seminarium:Västsahara i fokus- ett seminarium om naturresursernaspolitiska betydelse i Västsaharakonflikten
Under 2005 belyser FUF olika situationer av konflikthantering och deras möjligheter att åstadkomma långsiktig fred och utveckling. Fokus för detta seminarium är Västsahara. Västsaharakonflikten har pågått sedan 1970-talet, först som en väpnad kamp mellan Marocko och den västsahariska befrielserörelsen Polisario. 1991 slöt de stridande parterna en vapenvila och alltsedan dess har konflikten fortsatt vid förhandlingsbordet där parterna, trots intensiva ansträngningar av FN, inte lyckats enas om principerna och tillvägagångssättet för en folkomröstning om territoriets framtid.
En mycket viktig orsak till att konflikten blivit så långdragen är att Västsahara, som har en mycket liten befolkning och ett geopolitiskt läge som inte är av en större strategisk betydelse, besitter mycket stora naturresurser. Förutom fiskeresurser finns även fosfater och, som framkommit i synnerhet under se senaste åren, mycket betydande oljefyndigheter.
Under seminariet kommer deltagarna utifrån sina olika utgångspunkter att belysa naturresursernas roll i Västsaharakonflikten. Även de utländska oljebolagens agerande inom territoriet och huruvida detta varit i överensstämmelse med folkrätten, en fråga som nyligen flitigt debatterats i Norge, kommer att belysas.
Medverkande:Hans Corell, ambassadör; Pedro Pinto Leite, nederländsk folkrättsjurist;Toby Shelley, brittisk journalist verksam vid Financial Times;En representanter för Utrikesdepartementet kommer också att medverka.
Moderator: Lennart Wohlgemuth, direktör vid Nordiska Afrikainstitutet (NAI).
Seminariet hålls på engelska.Tid: Torsdag 24 november, kl. 17.30–20.00Plats: Hedénsalen, ABF-huset, Sveavägen 41, Stockholm (T-bana: Rådmansgatan).
Välkommen att lyssna, diskutera och ställa frågor! Anmäl gärna ditt deltagande till: mailto:fuf@algonet.seeller tel: 08-643 42 75.
Föreningen för UtvecklingsfrågorTegelviksgatan 40 116 41 StockholmTel: 08-6434275E-post: mailto:fuf@algonet.seHemsida:

Exchange of families visits resumed again

Resume of visits' exchange between Saharawi families separated by Moroccan occupation
Chahid El Hafed, 24/11/2005 (SPS) The visits' exchange for the Saharawi families separated by Moroccan occupation, organised under the aegis of the UN, will be resumed this Friday the 25th of November 2005, according to a source close to the Saharawi Committee for the referendum.
The beneficiaries of this operation, which comes within the framework of the Confidence building measures adopted by the UN's Security Council, will be 28 persons in total, all of them from the wilaya de Ausserd (refugee's camp) and will travel to El Aaiun (the occupied capital of Western Sahara). Meanwhile, 27 other Saharawis will be coming from the occupied territories to the wilaya of Ausserd, the same source indicated.
These visits are expected, always according to the Saharawi Committee for the referendum, to be carried on until next month an will touch all the cities of Western Sahara and all Saharawi refugee's camps.
This operation, which was initiated by the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees in 2003, enabled the reuniting of more than a thousand Saharawi for short periods of 5 days. It was blocked, at the end of 2004, by the Moroccan Government, which refused to subscribe until a recent date to the operation while Polisario Front has expressed his acceptance of the pursuit of the UNHCR's programme since the beginning.
Saharawi Coordinator with the MINURSO, M. M'hamed Khdad, had underlined last October the 5th 2005 in a written statement, that POLISARIO Front doubts about the sincerity of this new Moroccan volte-face because "Rabat has always denied the engagements it takes before of the international community and is blocking to this day the enforcement of the latter's decisions".
He questioned the good will of Morocco "in particular, at a moment when the fierce repression that started last May is increasingly striking the Saharawi populations in the occupied territories and in the south of Morocco. The occupied territories are still put, it should be recalled, under Moroccan military forces siege while 37 Saharawi prisoners of opinion, who have just stopped a 51 days hunger strike, are still detained, in inhumane conditions in the cells of the Carcel negra".
It should be recalled that besides the exchanges of visits between the families separated by a 30 years conflict maintained by Moroccan colonialism in contradiction and despise of international Law and legality, UN also proposes the exchange of mail, telephone calls and the organisation of seminaries. Measures still rejected by Morocco. (SPS)
040/090/000/TRD 242210 nov 05 SPS

Aguerre's Prize awarded to three Saharawi Artists

Diego Aguerre’s Price awarded to three Saharawi artists
(Special Envoy)
Dakhla (refugee camps), 25/11/2005(SPS) Diego Aguerre’s Price, dedicated to the best books on traditional games, popular tells and history and geography paintings, was awarded to Hacim Brahim, Moustapha Houssein Mohamed Moulaye et Mohamed Abdarahim.
The ceremony took place with the presence of the President of the Republic, Mr. Mohamed Abdelaziz, members of the Government and the Secretary General of the Spanish Youth Organisation (OJE), Angel Abad Ayuso.
"A joint initiative between the OJE and the Saharawi Youth organization (UJSARIO) that aims at conserving the historical memory and Saharawi people’s history", Mr. Ayuso underlined during this ceremony.
Intervening during the ceremony, the President of the Republic, Mr. Mohamed Abdelaziz, paid "a high tribute" to a person that is "loved much by Saharawi people, the late José Ramon Diego Aguerre", who has "largely contributed in the writing of the Saharawi people’s and Western Sahara’s history".
He also thanked "all the peoples of Spain, its civil society, organisations and institutions for their solidarity and their efforts in favour of "the independence of the Saharawi people".
The late José Ramon Diego Aguirre, former Spanish officer, is the first foreigner to get the Saharawi honorific nationality, and who wrote many books on the conflict and history of the colonisation of Western Sahara, mainly in his book "the Spanish Sahara, the truth on a betrayal", it should be recalled.(SPS)
010/DHL/000/TRD 251250 Nov 05 SPS

Amnesty denounces abuse in Western Sahara

Amnesty denounces abuse in Western Saharaafrol News, 24 November- Amnesty International today released a report on the systematichuman rights violations committed by the Moroccan occupying forces inWestern Sahara. The human rights group in particular protests thedetention of "prisoners of conscience" and the Moroccan denial ofbasic human rights in the occupied territory.The report, released today, in particular looks into the fate of eightleading Sahrawi human rights activists that have been imprisoned sincedemonstrations and riots started in the occupied territory in May thisyear. Amnesty says it believes that "they may be prisoners ofconscience." Two of them allege that they were tortured duringquestioning.In many of the demonstrations since May, Sahrawi activists haveexpressed their support for the Polisario Front freedom movement orcalled for independence from Morocco. "These views are anathema to theMoroccan authorities, which have not only responded in a heavy-handedmanner to the protests, thereby exacerbating tensions, but alsowidened the scope of the repression by arresting and detaininglong-standing human rights activists who were monitoring anddisseminating information on the crackdown," Amnesty noted.Eight of the activists are currently in detention and awaiting trial.At least one protester has died "in suspicious circumstances" inOctober 2005. Amnesty had not been able to document torture, but goesfar in indicating torture has been common in Moroccan detentioncentres.The human rights group until the Sahrawi riot has welcomed on numerousoccasions the positive steps which the Moroccan authorities have takenin the field of human rights in recent years. However, "theiruncompromising stance in stamping out any form of dissent on the issueof Western Sahara remains a serious stain on their record. Events thisyear have set this into stark relief," the report says.All eight human rights defenders Amnesty report about have activelycampaigned against human rights abuses in Western Sahara for severalyears. Most recently, they have been instrumental in collecting anddisseminating information about human rights violations committed byMoroccan forces against Sahrawi protesters in the context ofdemonstrations in El Aaiun and other towns since May 2005.They have now been charged on various counts related to participatingin and inciting violent protest activities, but deny the accusations.Each of them has also been charged with belonging to an unauthorisedassociation.Amnesty in its report says it believes that most of the chargesagainst the Sahrawi activists are related to their past membership ofthe human rights organization Forum for Truth and Justice – SaharaBranch. This organisation was dissolved by Moroccan court order inJune 2003 on the grounds that the organisation had undertaken illegalactivities "likely to disturb public order and undermine theterritorial integrity of Morocco.""The activities described as illegal appeared to relate solely tomembers of the organisation exercising their right to express theiropinions on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara, anddisseminating views on human rights issues to outside bodies such asinternational human rights organisations, including AmnestyInternational," the report says.Although the Sahrawi human rights organisation was dissolved, theactivists have continued individually to document human rightsviolations in Western Sahara, "thus putting themselves at risk ofarrest and detention," Amnesty says.Despite the charges being brought against them, Amnesty said it is"concerned that the eight activists appear to have been targetedbecause of their leading roles as human rights defenders and theirexposure of abuses by Moroccan security forces, as well as theirpublic advocacy of self-determination for the people of WesternSahara." Consequently, the group believes "they may be prisoners ofconscience, in which case they should be released immediately andunconditionally."In addition to the immediate release of these prisoners, Amnesty inits report called on the Moroccan occupying authorities to investigatethe many allegations of torture against Sahrawi activists. Further,Morocco should "put an immediate end to the arrest, harassment andintimidation of human rights defenders," the report concludes.By staff writer(c) afrol News_______________________________________________Source:

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