Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Sandblast-arts organises a “mass public protest reading” in London in favour of Western Sahara



The British cultural organisation, Sandblast-arts, will organise “a mass public protest reading” of the 1975 International Court of Justice’s legal opinion, it indicated in a press release.

The text stresses that the Centre for the Study of Colonialism Empire and International Law and Sandblast are hosting “the first ever Western Saharathon”, where Students from all over the United Kingdom will congregate at SOAS to join with academics, activists and artists for a marathon public reading of the International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion (over 200 pages long)”.

These mass public reading, will take place at SOAS, in front of the Brunei Gallery, near “Russell Square tube” this October 16 to 31, from 12 p.m-01 p.m, except on weekends, the press release indicated.

The reading is a way to mark the 33rd anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion on the Western Sahara, issued on the 16th October 1975, and “famously upholding the right of self-determination of the people of Western Sahara over the territorial claims of neighbouring states, Morocco and Mauritania”.

It is also a way “to publicise and protest the continuing occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco, and the complicity of the international community in retreating from the right of self-determination”.

The organisation also asked for “at least 2 volunteers to help on Oct 16 and 17 to man the Sandblast stand, collect donations, sign-ups for the mailing list etc. Anyone who is able to help on other dates after these is also welcome to express his or her interest”.


The Rio Group at UN -Western Sahara

Rio Group supports Saharawi people’s exercise of their right to self-determination



The Rio Group, composed of 22 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, declared support to the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination, on Monday before the UN 4th Committee for Decolonisation in New York.

The Group reaffirmed hope that with the support of the UN “the Saharawi people would be able to exercise their right to self-determination", declared Mexican Ambassador to the UN, Mr. Pablo Macedo, in his statement before the Committee on behalf of the group.

He declared that the group takes into account “the recent process of dispute settlement and the four of rounds of negotiations undertaken in the last year”, he appealed to the parties to “reinvigorate this effort”.

Mr. Pablo Macedo underscored the importance of ensuring that all the peoples of the world had the ability to exercise their inalienable right to self- determination, “a right that was affirmed in the United Nations Charter, as well as a number of General Assembly resolutions”, he affirmed.

“To date, the process of decolonization had made it possible for many peoples to win their independence, and the Special Committee’s establishment had been a milestone in this history”, he added.

“More than 80 countries had been aided by the Committee’s work. The fact that 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories remained on the United Nations list showed, however”, that “this task remained unfulfilled”, he estimated.

Thus, he appealed to the relevant administering Powers to adopt the necessary measures to achieve decolonisation in each of them, taking their particular situation into account on a case-by-case basis.

He also expressed the Rio Group’s appreciation to the members of the Special Committee, and expressed further hope that its recommendations would be adopted by the General Assembly.

The Rio group is composed of Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Salvador, Uruguay and Venezuela.


The Foreign minister Mr Mohamed Salem Ould Salek in NEW YORK

POLISARIO accepts the nomination of the new UN Envoy to Western Sahara (Ould Salek)



POLISARIO Front was informed by the UN about the nomination of the American, Christopher Ross, as the new Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General to Western Sahara and officially accepted, the Saharawi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, declared on Tuesday.

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, "informed us of this nomination that we accepted", Mr. Ould Salek declared in a statement to the Algerian Press Agency (APS), in margin of the works of the UN General Assembly’s fourth Committee that started Monday in New York.

POLISARIO accepted this nomination, Ould Salek said, "because we are ready, regardless who the mediator is, to negotiate on the basis of the Security Council’s resolutions that recognise the imperativeness of the exercise by the Saharawi people of their right to self-determination", he added.

"The mutually accepted political solution" recommended by the Security Council in its resolutions on Western Sahara, "must guarantee this inalienable right to self-determination", he affirmed.

The UN had already announced, last September, the end of the mandate of thee ex-Personal Envoy, Mr. Peter Van Walsum, but did not officially declared the name of his successor.

The Head of the Saharawi diplomacy said that this delay in the declaration of the name of the new nominee is due to the reluctance of Morocco to accept the new Envoy so far. Morocco "is putting pressures of the Secretary General and the new Personal envoy so as they accept the demarche of his predecessor, which was refused by the Security Council", Mr. Ould Salek said.


NEW YORK/SADC-UN debate on Western Sahara 2008

The fifteen Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries affirmed Monday evening before the UN General Assembly’s Fourth Committee that “self-determination is the only answer for the situation in Western Sahara".

"For us, the Member States of SADC, the struggle for the people of Western Sahara is a struggle for self-determination and is based on the principles of decolonisation, promotion of human rights, international legality and the stability and security of the African continent", Ambassador Dumisani S. Kumalo, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa declared on behalf of SADC.

"It is a struggle that we are familiar with in our sub-region", he added.

Here is the complete text of the intervention by Ambassador Dumisani S. Kumalo, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa, on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples at the Special Political and Decolonisation Committee (Fourth Committee)
06 October 2008

Mr. Chairman,

Allow us to begin by congratulating you on your election as Chairman of the Fourth Committee. We also wish to express our appreciation to your predecessor, the Ambassador of Sudan, for his work during the 62nd session.

I have the pleasure to address the Committee on behalf of the fifteen Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, namely Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. We also align ourselves with the statement to be delivered later by the Permanent Representative of Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

For us, the Member States of SADC, the struggle for the people of Western Sahara is a struggle for self-determination and is based on the principles of decolonisation, promotion of human rights, international legality and the stability and security of the African continent. It is a struggle that we are familiar with in our sub-region.

For this reason, it is important to recall that Western Sahara remains the last remaining colony on the African continent and it has been on the UN list of Non-Self-Governing Territories since 1963 when it was under Spanish colonial rule. The General Assembly has since consistently recognised the inalienable right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and independence, and called for the exercise of that right in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. Therefore the continuous colonial occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco constitutes a challenge to the principles of the United Nations Charter and the authority and credibility of this body and it is for this reason that SADC cannot remain silent on this matter.

In fact, up to this day it is worth remembering that neither the United Nations nor any regional or international organisation, nor any other country in the world, has recognised Morocco’s claims of sovereignty over Western Sahara. The Moroccan territorial claims to Western Sahara have been rejected by the advisory opinions of both the International Court of Justice on 16 October 1975 and the Legal Department of the United Nations on 29 January 2002. The International Court of Justice stated that there were no links of territorial sovereignty between Morocco and the Western Sahara prior to the Spanish colonization of the Territory. The General Assembly resolution 34/37 (1979), among others, describes Morocco’s presence in Western Sahara as “a continued occupation”.

Mr. Chairman,

The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic is a founding member of the African Union and was also a member of the Organisation of African Unity. At the same time, the Kingdom of Morocco is also a friendly African country. SADC has always carried the hope that these two African nations would find a way to resolve their differences which remain a challenge for our continent.

It is for this reason that SADC commends both parties, Frente Polisario representing the people of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco for their participation in direct negotiations during the Manhasset process based on the two plans that they submitted to the Secretary-General. We would like to believe that the participation of both parties, in negotiations and in compliance with Security Council resolution 1754 (2006) indicates a willingness to negotiate without preconditions and in good faith. The aim is to try and achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

In SADC, we believe that self-determination is the only answer for the situation in Western Sahara.

And, for the negotiations on self-determination between Western Sahara and Morocco to be successful, there should be no attempt to distort the intention of the Security Council in resolution 1754 or the language of the resolution by claiming that the Council preferred one plan over the other. Despite claims by the Moroccan delegation, South Africa can confirm as a member of the Security Council who was part of the negotiations on the text of resolution 1754, that the text of the resolution is clear that the Council “takes note” of both the Saharawi proposal and the Moroccan proposal. The Council called on the parties to enter into negotiations based on both these proposals. Any attempt to place one proposal over the other would undermine the negotiations process and would be counter-productive to the spirit of future negotiations based on the two proposals.

The problem thus far has been that Morocco has tried to impose an autonomy proposal on the people of Western Sahara thereby denying them their right under the United Nations Charter to exercise the right of self-determination. In other words, the Moroccan proposal is seeking to deny the people of Western Sahara the right to choose in a referendum their destiny, whether it be independence, integration or even autonomy.

Mr. Chairman,

SADC is also very concerned about the alarming reports of human rights violations and even atrocities perpetrated against the Saharawi people. The Secretary-General has often referred to a report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the situation in Western Sahara that documents the violations on human rights. We would hope that the Secretary-General will soon publish the findings and recommendations of the OHCHR because we are of the strong view that the human rights violations stem from the non-realisation of the right to self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.

We find it odd that in addressing the issue of Western Sahara, some Member States including the so-called Group of Friends on the issue of Western Sahara, have continued to refuse to include any mention of human rights in UN resolutions, despite the fact that the Secretary-General has continued to report on the human rights situation in Western Sahara. Additionally both parties, Frente Polisario and Morocco, have raised human rights concerns in letters to the Secretary-General. The refusal to deal with human rights abuses in Western Sahara creates a double standard and a clear impression that the United Nations simply does not care about the human rights of the people of Western Sahara.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, SADC once again supports the adoption of a resolution on Western Sahara by this Committee that reiterates the principles of self-determination and decolonisation.

That is the least the people of Western Sahara expect from us.

I thank you.”

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