The Moroccan government expelled on Thursday a French citizen "known for her hostility to the territorial integrity of the Kingdom," a common description of activists fighting for the independence of Western Sahara and the Sahrawi indigenous community as seen by Moroccan authorities.
According to an official statement issued by the MAP news agency, French woman Marion Martane was behaving suspiciously, and was inciting acts to "to undermine public order."
A spokesman for the French Embassy in Morocco confirmed the expulsion to on Thursday to Efe, but declined to comment further except to say that the she enjoyed consular protection.
The government claimed Martane had breached legal requirements for entry and residence for foreigners in Morocco, without giving further details and without specifying if she had traveled to the Saharawi territories.
Activists for the Sahrawi cause call for the end of Moroccan occupation, claiming that Morocco exploits natural resources in the Western Sahara and sacrifices the interests of the indigenous people and lands.
The expulsion of foreign activists by Morocco is relatively common, and often occurs at the airport upon arrival, when police immediately put them on a flight without allowing them out of the airport.
The burial in November 2014 of eight Sahrawis who were assassinated in 1976 and were exhumed from mass graves by a Spanish team. ARANZADI
Fernando J. Pérez Madrid 9 ABR 2015
Spanish High Court judge Pablo Ruz has indicted 11 military leaders from Morocco for genocide offenses allegedly committed in Western Sahara after Spain abandoned its former colony there in 1976. In a 40-page writ, the magistrate states that it is a “fact” that from that year until 1992 there was “a systematic attack against the Sahrawi civil population on the part of the Moroccan military and police forces.”
Ruz, who is shortly to be relieved in his role by another magistrate, details at least 50 cases of assassination and another 202 of illegal arrest relating to Sahrawi citizens who had identity cards and passports issued by Spain.
He says the attacks against the civilian population took place independently of whether or not the victims formed part of the Polisario Front, the guerrilla group that fought against the Moroccan kingdom for independence until 1991. The judge writes in his writ of “bombings against camps containing the civil population, forced displacements of the civil population, assassinations, arrests and the forced disappearances of persons, all of whom were of Sahrawi origin.”
Ruz argues that the objective of these hostile actions was the “total or partial destruction of the said group of the population and the takeover of the Western Saharan territory.”
As well as the detentions, the magistrate writes, “there were prolonged imprisonments without trial, some lasting many years,” as well as “the torture of Sahrawis by military staff and Moroccan police in a number of official detention centers located both in Western Sahara and Morocco.”
Ruz writes that these actions were “driven” by the top brass among the Moroccan military forces.
A family member of one of the victims shows a Spanish identity card located among the human remains in one of the mass
The Sahrawi population could take up arms again against the Moroccan occupation, given the international inactivity, said here Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, Foreign Minister of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in statements published today.
In reference to Rabat´s occupation of Western Sahara and the deadlock reached in New York talks, hosted by the United Nations, Ould Salek told the Algerian APS news agency that given Morocco´s disrespect for international laws no other option would remain.
Sahrawi people insist on holding a referendum about the territory, rich in phosphate, which was invaded and annexed by Morocco´s monarchy in 1975 following the withdrawal of Spain's military forces from the area, without giving back the territory to the native population.
The annexation of Western Sahara is considered illegal by the international community, but is ignored by the Arab countries because they believe that the emergence of another State is a form of reduction.
On occasion of the 35th year of the Sahara´s annexation on last Thursday, king Mohamed VI said that Morocco will remain in the Sahara and Sahara will remain in Morocco until the end of time.
Retaliatory violence by the Moroccan government continues to rise during United Nations Envoy’s visit to militarily-controlled Western Sahara
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.
Earlier this week, CODESA chairwoman and RFK Human Rights Award Laureate Aminatou Haidar was stopped by police officers outside the UN mission’s headquarters and placed under police surveillance. Her phone calls and emails are being monitored, and her internet connection was cut. In addition to the increased harassment Ms. Haidar experienced, the RFK Center has received reports of police officers cutting power to areas of the city, breaking into private homes, and intimidating anyone who is seen as a potential critic of the Moroccan occupation.
The next day, November 1, following her meeting with Ambassador Ross, Ms. Haidar was attacked by police in a four hour assault that left her car destroyed and her sister and daughter trapped inside while officers threw rocks at the windows. Ms. Haidar was shoved her to the ground, beaten, and threatened with a knife. She sustained two football shaped hematomas from the public assault, which the Moroccan government denies ever happened.
In September, following a human rights delegation to Western Sahara, the RFK Center released a statement with preliminary observations on the human rights situation in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara. The delegation observed firsthand the intimidation and state-sponsored violence that critics of the Moroccan regime live under each day. In spite of the systematic violence against the Sahrawi people, the UN continues to ignore the need for a human rights mandate in its peacekeeping mission there. In response the rising violence and oppression in Western Sahara, the RFK Center has launched a petition calling on the President of the United States to demand that the UN Mission include a human rights monitoring mandate: http://www.change.org/petitions/end-human-rights-violations-against-the-people-of-western-sahara-2.
UN peace envoy Christopher Ross (AFP/File, Abdelhak Senna)
(AFP) – Aug 29, 2012
RABAT — Human rights observers visiting Moroccan-held Western Sahara witnessed a woman protester being beaten by police and hospitalised, a member of the group said on Wednesday.
"We saw the woman being beaten. And then we went to hospital, where we found her badly injured," Santiago Canton, director of the Robert F. Kennedy Partners for Human Rights, told AFP by phone from a Sahrawi refugee camp in western Algeria.
"The police were very aggressive. We were told by people there that the situation has been like that for some time," he said.
The incident took place earlier this week in Laayoune, the main city under Moroccan control, during a visit to the disputed territory by the delegation, which is led by Kerry Kennedy, president of the RFK Centre for Justice and Human Rights.
In a statement published by the Washington-based group on Tuesday, the day the delegation left for Algeria, Kennedy described how a policeman lunged at her 17-year-old daughter's camera as she took photos of the incident.
Canton emphasised that the purpose of the trip was to assess the human rights situation on the ground.
He said that while the Moroccan authorities cooperated with the observers, "unfortunately they had a group of people following us everywhere we went."
The visit comes amid a row between the United Nations and Rabat, which has demanded the replacement of new UN peace envoy Christopher Ross, whom it accuses of "bias" in efforts to resolve the status of the territory.
Morocco annexed the Western Sahara in 1975 in a move never recognised by the international community.
The rebel Polisario Front, which has been campaigning for the territory's independence since before its annexation, controls a small part the desert interior and has bases in Tindouf, across the Algerian border, where some 40,000 refugees live in extreme conditions.
The rights observers travelled to Tindouf on Wednesday, where they met rights activists and families of the victims of Africa's longest-running conflict.
They were due to meet representatives of UN agencies and NGOs working there before holding talks with Polisario leaders.
"It is moving to see women who have such terrible stories of human rights violations committed against them or their relatives not admit to being defeated or broken," Kennedy was quoted as saying by the official Algerian news agency APS.
Some Moroccan MPs have strongly criticised the group's visit.
Morocco's Foreign Minister Saad Eddine El Otmani, cited by the official MAP news agency on Wednesday, said he hoped the visit to Western Sahara and Tindouf would allow the group "to realise the gross abuses suffered by the populations in the camps."
The delegation will publish a report at the end of the trip, which is due to wind up on Thursday.
Secret police reaching into our car, assaulting Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo, the photographer. Laayoune, Aug. 25, 2012.
(2012-08-28) The following blog post by Kerry Kennedy, President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, appeared yesterday in the Huffington Post. Ms. Kennedy is currently leading a human rights delegation in Western Sahara. She wrote this article while the delegation was in Laayoune, meeting with members of civil society including RFK Human Rights Award Laureate Aminatou Haidar. It describes her and her daughter's experience witnessing violence against protesters in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. The incident was also covered by AFP.
Despite his civilian dress, there was no mistaking the secret police when he reached across the front passenger seat of the Toyota , to block the lens of my 17 year old daughter Mariah's Nikon from recording the beating of a woman by his colleagues, uniformed and not. Mariah's shutter was too fast for him, so he lunged further in an attempt to snatch the camera, grazing her face. Mariah was fine. The woman was not.
A few hours later, Front Line Defenders Director Mary Lawlor and Eric Sottas, Founder of the World Organization Against Torture, went to the local hospital, where they visited the bloodied and bruised victim, Soukaina Jed Ahlou, President of Sahrawi Women Forum.
As witnesses, we were not alone. A handful of women in multicolored melhfas—the traditional Sahrawi garb, a 20 feet of printed fabric wrapped around the body head to toe—surrounded their sister protester, as the police harangued them. We saw one local policeman in blue uniform. Then there were the handful of thugs, identified to us by local human rights leaders as members of the DST, or Morocco’s version of the Stasi. In addition, there were the two plainclothes informants who had been following us all day—when Mariah took their pictures, they tried to shield their faces and then one ducked behind his car. Two of the brutes planted themselves in front of the windows of our car, partially blocking our view of the beating. The third one cursed Mariah, called her an unprintable name, and blocked her camera with his hand.
RFK Human Rights Award laureate Aminatou Haidar recognized the DST thugs immediately. One of them, mustachioed and bald, Al Hasoni Mohamed, was the same man who accosted her thirteen year old son, menacing "I will rape 'til you're paralyzed."
Known as "the Sahrawi Gandhi," Aminatou is one of Western Sahara's most prominent human rights defenders. For over 20 years, she has been involved in non-violent resistance against Morocco's occupation of her homeland. Moroccan authorities have illegally detained her, imprisoned her, beaten her, tortured her, and threatened her with death. She once spent four and a half years in isolation, blindfolded. Despite the abuse by officials, she considers Moroccan citizens her "brothers" and she courageously maintains her firm commitment to non violence as she advocates for the release of prisoners of conscience, seeks to strengthen local human rights monitoring mechanisms, and demands that the referendum—agreed to by all parties over two decades ago, which will allow the people of Western Sahara to vote on their future—finally takes place.
The violence we witnessed is not an isolated incident. We met a dozen women whose sons and husbands were beaten and remain in prison for their non violent activism. We met with a group of men who showed us home videos of non-violent demonstrators be harassed, kicked, and beaten with nightsticks by uniformed police and their ununiformed colleagues. We met with a group of lawyers who said from 1999 forward they have represented over 500 cases just like the one we witnessed today, non-violent protesters bruised, bloodied and too often, murdered, and always, always accused of some crime. Across all those years, the courts have acquitted only three Sahrawi victims.
The regional office of the Moroccan government claimed that Jed Ahlou was not beaten, and that the entire incident was a mere show. It didn't look like a show to us. Her wounds and swollen and discolored face looked all too real.
We are here for a week with a delegation from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights to assess the human rights situation in both Western Sahara and the Algerian refugee camps where displaced Sahrawi live. We had a first glimpse on day one, seven days to go.
The Members of the RFK Center Delegation are Kerry Kennedy, President, Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (USA); Mary Lawlor, Director, Front Line Defenders (Ireland); Margarette May Macaulay, Judge, Inter American Court; Judge(Jamaica); Marialina Marcucci, President, Robert F. Kennedy Center – Europe (Italy); Eric Sottas, former Secretary-General, World Organization Against Torture (Switzerland); María del Río, Board of Trustees, Fundación José Saramago (Spain); Santiago Canton, Director of the RFK Partners for Human Rights, Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (Argentina); Marselha Gonçalves Margerin, Advocacy Director, Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (Brazil); Stephanie Postar, Advocacy Assistant, Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (USA); and Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo (USA).
Secret police blocking Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo from photographing the beating of a nonviolent protestor. Laayoune, Aug. 25, 2012. Photograph by Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo.
Uniformed police officer attacking nonviolent protestor. Laayoune, Aug. 25, 2012. Photograph by Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo.
Secret police in Laayoune trying to hide from being photographed following the assault of Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo and the beating of a nonviolent protestor. Laayoune, Aug. 25, 2012. Photograph by Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo.
The nonviolent protestor, Soukaina Jed Ahlou, who was attacked by Moroccan secret police. She has been released from the hospital since this photo was taken and remains under medical evaluation. Laayoune, Aug. 25, 2012. Photograph by Mary Lawlor
King Mohammed VI of Morocco Photo: ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP/Getty Images
By Fiona Govan, Madrid
The European Parliament's committee for International Trade last week gave the green light to a new agriculture agreement that will ease restrictions on the importation of fruit and vegetables from Morocco.
But it has emerged that the single biggest beneficiary of the deal will be the King of Morocco, who is head of one of the three largest agricultural producers in the north African country and lays claim to 12,000 hectares of the nation's most fertile farmland.
Human rights groups have warned that royal estates covered with polytunnels stretch across swathes of the Dahkla region of the Western Sahara, the former Spanish colony annexed by Morocco in 1975.
They argue that the deal amounts to a breach of international law and effectively legitimises Morocco's occupation of the disputed Western Sahara region.
The Western Sahara's Polisario Front independence movement is preparing to lobby the EU Parliament not to ratify the deal when it is put to the vote next month.
A similar row over fishing rights in waters off the Western Sahara led the
European Parliament to cancel a deal last December that allowed trawlers
from EU countries to fish in Moroccan waters in exchange for annual payments
If approved the agricultural agreement will immediately increase concession in
the fruit and vegetable sector, liberalising trade on 55 per cent of EU
imports from Morocco.
"It is deeply regrettable to see agreements adopted without excluding
produce grown in the Western Sahara," said Lamine Baali, the Polisario
representative to London.
According to a UN study of 2002, any economic activities that are not in
accordance with the wishes and interests of the people of Western Sahara
would be in violation of international law.
"The region is recognised as not being part of Morocco under
international law and we urge the EU to specifically exclude the Western
Sahara, whose people do not wish this and will not benefit," Mr Baali
told the Daily Telegraph.
The Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW), which is currently undertaking a
study of the impact of the agricultural industry on the Sahrawi people, said
the new EU agricultural agreement "effectively endorses Morocco's
strategy to settle the southern parts of the Western Sahara."
"The King of Morocco has ownership of the tomato industry in occupied
Western Sahara," noted Erik Hagen of WSRW. Reports estimate that some
10,000 are employed on fruit and vegetable plantations in the Dakhla region
yet the majority are Moroccan settlers.
"The EU makes a distinction when it comes to produce from occupied
Palestinian territories, but fails to apply the same principles to its trade
agreements with Morocco," said Mr Hagen. "It is highly unethical,
as it undermines the UN peace efforts and gives an unfortunate sign of
support to Morocco's illegal presence in Western Sahara."
Given recent developments in North Africa, the Pan-African Parliament wants decisive action to be taken to realize the sovereign rights of the Sahrawi Arab Republic of the Western Sahara.
At the parliament's fifth ordinary session, currently underway here, a fact finding mission reported back on their experience…
Morocco occupied the Western Sahara in 1976 when the Spanish colonizers left. In 1991 a plan was adopted at the United Nations calling for a referendum in which the people should decide on self-determination. But to date that has not happened.
The fact-finding mission says by and large the plight of the Sahrawi people has fallen from the international agenda… But the African Parliament representative for the Sahrawi republic told Press TV his government is supported in Africa, Latin America and Asia…
AS part of its recommendations, the report calls for the matter to be escalated to the African Union summit so that it remains on the agenda until a referendum takes place.
The fact-finding mission also wants the United Nations to take decisive steps against Morocco, but a previous attempt to have a resolution passed was threatened with a veto from France and the United States.
Pan-African Parliament MP's say recent developments in Libya, and the referendum in south Sudan shows that with the political will from the international community resolutions can be implemented. But France sees Morocco as an ally and so has hampered efforts to grant the Sahrawi people their rights.
Since 25 September 2011, the Saharawi civilians in Dakhla, in the south of Western Sahara, are facing brutal and oppressive attacks from Moroccan armed militias. These militias reside in the Alwakala neighbourhood, home to thousands of Moroccan settlers brought into the territory by the Moroccan government in 1991, to participate in the envisioned referendum in Western Sahara.
Saharawis’ lives and physical safety are in danger, their houses raided and private and public property burned. The military has sealed off the road to Dakhla, thereby obstructing the media so as to hide the serious crimes committed with impunity by the Moroccan intelligence services and armed militias. This Moroccan aggression is rooted in racism, and has resulted in dozens of casualties among Saharawi, who try to flee the city to save their lives.
We note that the Moroccan authorities attempt to distort the facts on the events in Dakhla, as they have done many times before when they’ve also supported the armed militias in attacking Saharawi civilians and their properties.
As a result, the Saharawi Human rights NGOs and committees wish to announce the following;
1. Our absolute solidarity with the victims of the vicious attacks perpetrated by the armed militias of the Alwakala neighbourhood and the Moroccan authorities’ agents.
2. Our condolences and solidarity with the family of the Saharawi martyr Maichane Mohamad Lamine Lahbib Echiaa, who has been kidnapped and beaten to death by the militias.
3. We denounce the Moroccan authorities’ attempts to distort the Dakhla reality, and misinform the local and international public opinion.
4. We demand the Moroccan government allow an independent and fair investigation into all the crimes committed by the armed militias and the Moroccan secret services against the Saharawi civilians in Dakhla, Western Sahara.
5. We call on the United Nations and the UN Human Rights Council to send an international commission to investigate the grave violations of human rights committed by armed militias backed by the Moroccan authorities.
6. We ask the international community, NGOs and all the free voices to immediately act on the following:
a. Respect for human rights in Western Sahara, including the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination. The political conflict and the military siege in Western Sahara must end.
b. Work for a UN mechanism to protect the Saharawi civilians and report on the human rights situation in Western Sahara.
c. An immediate response to the Saharawi civilians’ demand to be protected from the armed militias and repression by the Moroccan state.
d. Increase pressure on Morocco to:
i. Clarify the fate of abducted Saharawi;
ii. Release all the Saharawi political prisoners;
iii. Guarantee civil, political, economical, social and cultural rights for the Saharawi people, including their right to benefit from their natural resources.
Western Sahara, 29 September 2011
- Family of the Saharawi martyr Said Dambar
- CODESA (Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defender)
- ASVDH (Saharawi association for victims of grave human rights violations committed by the Moroccan state)
- CODAPSO (Saharawi Committee to Defend Self-Determination)
- CSPRON (Saharawi committee for UN settlement plan and protection of Natural resources of Western Sahara)
- Gdeim Izik Coordination Committee
- Victims of enforced disappearance and arbitrary arrest in the Sahara
- Committee to Defend the Public Freedom and Human Rights in Western Sahara
- Saharawi Association to Protect Prisoners
- Saharawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Smara, Western Sahara
- Organisation against Torture in Dakhla, Western Sahara
- Committee of families of kidnapped Saharawi
- FAFESA, Forum of Future for the Saharawi Women in Western Sahara
- Committee of Mothers of the 15 disappeared Saharawi
- Saharawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Glaimim, South Morocco
- Freedom Sun for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Western Sahara
- Saharawi Centre to Protect the Collective Memory
"WESTERN SAHARA QUESTION IN THE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL CONTEXT"
The Second International Conference of Jurists for Western Sahara, held in Altea (Alicante, Spain), during 29 and 30 April and 1 May 2011, after studying, discussing and analyzing the status of Western Sahara, its population, its land and natural resources;
ASSUME THE FOLLOWING CONCLUSIONS:
Western Sahara is a Non-Self in the process of decolonization, which remains illegal and violent occupation by Morocco after thirty-six years. This necessarily requires the application of the legal parameters of international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.
The permanence of Morocco as a country occupying the Western Sahara is contrary to the opinion of the International Court of Justice, and maintained with the connivance of the Security Council United Nations, particularly in France, returning to deny the inclusion of verification Human Rights in the mandate of MINURSO.
It is therefore right that must be adhered to its indigenous population to self-determination, and that right should be reflected through the holding of a free, democratic and transparent which included the option of independence.
Has the potential to influence the UN General Assembly and that of its subsidiary bodies, particularly the Fourth Committee and the Third Committee, to progress effectively in the realization of the right to self-determination for the Saharawi people and the protection order Human Rights in the occupied areas of Western Sahara.
The Moroccan regime has no jurisdiction over the Western Sahara and its people. Beside that also the Moroccan government systematically denied the basic elements of legal proceedings, preventing the right of the Saharawi defense, imprisoned for defending their status, identity and human rights of his people.
Morocco continues to implement the same policy of annihilation against the Saharawi people and the systematic violation of their human rights.
The Western Sahara's natural resources are pillaged by Morocco with the complicity of Western states and especially European countries, but in no time the product of such a reversal in the Sahrawi people.
The European Union, far from ensuring the rights of the Saharawi people, has not shown their support and also extended the fisheries agreement in breach of its own ruled by the European Parliament's legal services.
Spain continues to sell arms to Morocco in breach of its own laws, which partly explains their complacency with the Moroccan regime.
It should be highlighted the importance of the African Union in support of the Saharawi people in achieving their right to self determination.
The People of Western Sahara, like the other peoples under colonialism, is recognized by international law the right to pursue all means self-determination, to be entitled to use armed force, lacking the right of the occupier, Morocco .
As the tide of revolutionary fervor sweeps across Arab nations, Morocco is now lined up for demonstrations on February 20 in Rabat. The Democracy and Freedom movement is using Facebook and YouTube technology to call on the disaffected to meet Sunday to show their dissatisfaction with the present Moroccan government calling them corrupt, elitist and out of touch with the populace.
The government spokespersons are calm about the proposed demonstrations saying that they are a natural outgrowth of the civil unrest seen in neighbouring Arab speaking countries. King Mohammed VIKing Mohammed VI is currently quite popular, having enacted reforms since coming to power. Morocco enjoys close relations with the West and France.
"The rating agency Standard and Poors has said the country of nearly 32 million is the least likely in the region to be affected by widespread political unrest. And the Moroccan government says it is not worried about a protest scheduled for February 20"Morocco Channel
As an insurance move to head off serious unrest the Moroccan government has announced a boost to price subsidies to the tune of 1.4 billion euros. The money is to be spent to underwrite prices for staples which have seen a steep rise in the past few months.
Morocco must take seriously the separatist movement in the Western Sahara alled the Polisario movement which is seeking to redraw borders from 1975 when Spain granted independence. To date, the movement has been ruthlessly suppressed, but at a cost to the economy.
The economy is one of the underlying themes in the revolutions seen in Tunisia, Egypt and the unrest in Algeria, Libya, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain and now the small country of Djibouti is seething with unrest. Since the economic crash in 2008, many countries have experienced elevated levels of unemployment. Coupled with higher unemployment, food prices have risen steeply forcing many below the subsistence levels.
The stark contrast between the rulers and the masses in many of the countries undergoing political convulsions has pushed many young people to risk their lives for a better way. Many are well educated and technologically savvy and have been able to organize via Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.
Based on dozens of interviews, this report documents human rights abuses inflicted by Moroccan government forces against civilians during the dismantlement of the Gdaim Izik protest camp in November 2010, and in its aftermath.
In January 2011, a delegation of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights traveled to Western Sahara to visit 2008 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Laureate, Aminatou Haidar. Led by Haidar, the delegation examined human rights violations allegedly committed by Moroccan security forces against Sahrawis. The delegation met with more than two dozen victims of abuse, torture, and imprisonment and their families, in addition to Moroccan government officials and representatives of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
According to the findings of the report, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, failure to follow criminal procedures, and repression of civilians by Moroccan government forces are all too common in Western Sahara. This context, in concert with the violence that broke out on November 8, 2010, when Moroccan security forces dismantled the Gdaim Izik camp set up by residents of Western Sahara to protest social and economic discrimination, reinforces the need for impartial international human rights monitoring of the situation.
Take Action for Human Rights Monitoring in Western Sahara
Recent tragic events in Western Sahara demonstrate the urgent need for human rights monitoring. MINURSO, the UN mission in Western Sahara, is the only contemporary UN peacekeeping mission in the world without a mandate to monitor human rights.
In April the UN will address the renewal of MINURSO's mandate - we must ACT NOW to make sure that this time human rights monitoring is included!
Published: 11.02 - 2011
Please write to the following before the end of February: (in order of priority)
• Your representative to the UN
• Your Foreign Minister; for the UK this is Alistair Burt MP (If writing on behalf of an organisation. Individuals please write to your MP asking her/him to write on your behalf)
• The Current President of the Security Council - Brazil - (Please request that your letter is circulated to all members of the Security Council)
• UN Secretary General
• UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
• All Security Council members
Contact details below. Letters or faxes are best, but if you don’t have time please email.
For most impact we will ask to write again in April.
• The recent violence in Western Sahara and the lack of transparency surrounding the events demonstrates an urgent need for human rights monitoring in Western Sahara.
• MINURSO remains the only contemporary peace-keeping mission without a mandate to monitor human rights.
• The UN is failing in its responsibility to protect the victims of this conflict.
• Human rights monitoring by MINURSO is essential to prevent further violence and instability.
• Ask: What steps will they take to ensure that human rights monitoring is included in the MINURSO mandate?
For more information - MINURSO & Human Rights
UK Foreign Minister
Alistair Burt MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
UN Security Council Contact details
UK Mission to the UN
H.E. Sir Mark Lyall Grant
Permanent Representative of the UK to the United Nations
UK Mission to the UN
One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
885 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Fax: +1(212) 745 9316
US Mission to the UN
H.E. Ms Susan E. Rice
Permanent U.S. Representative to the United Nations
United States Mission to the United Nations
140 East 45th Street
New York, N.Y. 10017
Fax: +1(212) 415 4053
Email via online form: http://archive.usun.state.gov/Issues/Contact2.html
H.E. Mr Gérard Araud
Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations
245 East 47th Street 44th floor
New York, N.Y. 10017
China (President of the Security Council - March)
H.E. Mr. Zhang Yesui
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations
350 East 35th Street
New York, NY 10016
Fax: +1(212) 634 7626
H.E. Mr Vitaly Churkin
Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
136 East 67 Street
New York, NY 10065
Bosnia and Herzegovina
H.E. Mr Ivan Barbalic
Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
420 Lexington Avenue
Suites 607 & 608
New York, NY 10170
Fax: +1(212) 751 90 19
Tel: +1(212) 751 90 15
Brazil (President of the Security Council - February)
H.E. Mrs Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti
Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations
747 Third Avenue, 9th Floor
New York, NY
Columbia (April’s President)
H.E. Mr. Nestor Osorio
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations
140 East 57th Street, New York
Direct line: +1(212) 355-7223
General contact details
Tel: +1(212) 355-7776
Fax: +1(212) 371-2813
S.E.M. Denis Dangue Rewaka
Ambassadeur Extraordinaire et Plenipotentiaire, Representant Permanent
Mission permanente du Gabon auprés des Nations Unies
18 East 41st Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Fax: +1(212) 689 5769
Tel: +1(212) 686-9720
Ambassador Peter Wittig
Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations
The Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations
871 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
Telephone +1 (212) 940 04 00
Telefax + 1(212) 940 04 02
Hardeep Singh Puri
Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations
235 East, 43rd Street, New York 10017.
TEL: +1 212-490-9660
EMAIL: India@un.int, & firstname.lastname@example.org
H.E. Dr. Nawaf Salam
Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations
The Permanent Mission of Lebanon to the United Nations in New York
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 531-533
New York, NY 10017
Fax: +1(212) 838-2819
H.E. Mrs U. Joy Ogwu OFR
Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
828 Second Ave
New York, NY 10017
Telephone : +1(212)-953-9130
Fax +1(212) 697 1970
Email via online form: http://www.nigeriaunmission.org/index.php?option=com_contact&view=contact&id=2&Itemid=53
José Filipe Moraes Cabral
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative of Portugal to the United Nations
866 Second Avenue, 9th floor
New York, NY 10017
Telefone: +1 212 759 9444
Fax:+1 212 355 1124
Phone: +1 212 759 9444 Ext. 902
Fax: +1 212 588 0217
H. E. Ambassador Baso Sangqu
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations
333 East 38th Street
Tel: +1(212) 213 5583
Fax: +1(212) 692 2498
Spain – Group of Friends
H.E. Mr. Juan Antonio YÁÑEZ-BARNUEVO
Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations
One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, 36th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel.: +1(212) 661 1050 / 51 / 52 / 53 / 54
Fax: +1(212) 949 7247
Email via online form: http://www.spainun.org/pages/directorio.cfm
UN Secretary General
The Honourable Ban Ki-Moon
760 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
Salutation: Secretary General
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Navanathem Pillay
High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Fax: +41 22 917 9011
Tel (41) 22 928 9555
Salutation: Ms Pillay
TANGIER AND RABAT TO JOIN TUNIS AND CAIRO Was it just yesterday that the Oread Daily cast a spotlight on the possibility of a popular uprising in Morocco? Well, boys and girls, hold onto your hats, it's a comin'. And remember in that very same article I speculated on what such might mean for the independence movement in the Western Sahara. Check out the last two paragraphs of the article below. And now we say to King Mohammed VI, it's time to be planning a career change.
A growing number of Moroccan civil society groups are calling for large scale protest marches in the Kingdom. As the first protests are already being organised in Tangier and Rabat, the army is regrouping.
Following the developments in Tunisia and Egypt, Moroccan youth groups have started organising the first protest marches in the country to demand political reform and greater human rights in Morocco.
The first mass protests have already been organised in Morocco. On Sunday, the group ATTAC Morocco staged a larger demonstration in the northern city of Tangiers, with protesters focusing on "the deterioration of social conditions and high basic food prices."
The Tangier protest however was brutally stopped by security forces, according to eyewitnesses. Batons and tear gas were used to disperse demonstrators who had gathered in the Square of Nations in central Tangier. Protesters had chanted slogans of solidarity with the people of Tunisia and Egypt, demanding a "right to employment, housing and a decent life."
But Moroccan protesters have not given up, despite the brutal response by security forces. Today, there are reports from the capital, Rabat, about demonstrations in front of the Egyptian Embassy, with hundreds of protesters chanting slogans in solidarity of their counterparts in Egypt.
Further protests are now being prepared by a magnitude of groups in Morocco.
A group of young Moroccans is currently spreading the protest call through the social network Facebook, calling for demonstrations on 27 February "in front of the prefectures and the wilayas in all regions and central authorities in cities and villages, to demand the freedom of political organisation, the alternation of power and human rights."
The so-called "Movement for Freedom and Democracy Now" in a statement specifies that this protest is "part of a spontaneous global transformation that aims at giving people their rightful place in society," further calling for democracy, freedom and the adherence to popular will.
According to the statement, there is a list of demands including "the abolition of the current constitution, dissolve parliament and government, parties who have contributed to the consolidation of political corruption and take immediate real action for a political transition."
The organisers further refer to "the terrible conditions of poverty, unemployment and human rights violations and restrictions on freedom of press" in Morocco. Morocco is known to be the poorest and least developed state in North Africa, facing enormous social problems.
Also other organisations are calling for protests. A grouping of the political opposition, trade unions, human rights organisations and an association of the unemployed has issued a statement calling for rallies and demonstrations to be held next Saturday, 5 February.
Also, the Labor Council of the Democratic Labour Confederation of Morocco has called for Sunday 6 February to be a day of protest. Marches are planned for in the south-eastern town of Ouarzazate "to protest the inhumane living conditions in Morocco."
As the calls for protests are widening in Morocco, the regime is increasingly insecure. King Mohammed VI has met with French government officials and his most trusted military leaders in his private chateau outside Paris to discuss the security situation.
Several unconfirmed reports from Morocco and occupied Western Sahara agree that security forces now are being pulled out from the occupied territory to be deployed in Morocco-proper in preparation of a possible popular revolt.
The reported regrouping of Moroccan troops may leave Western Sahara - a territory whose indigenous Saharawi population is always ready to revolt - open to rebellion. Security forces stationed in Western Sahara are famed for great brutality against civilians, which could bode unwell for protesters trying to organise marches in Morocco.
Human Rights Watch report: USA and France continue to support Morocco on Western Sahara
“On Human Rights, the US continued to publicly praise Morocco’s reform efforts and advances made by women,” and “France rarely publicly criticized Morocco’s human rights practices and openly supported its autonomy plan for Western Sahara” says the new Human Rights Watch report. The report also points to the fact that France and the USA both provide Morocco with financial aid to back up their support.
Both countries are permanent members of the UN Security Council, have a long history of ties to Morocco, and both press for Western Sahara to remain under Moroccan autonomy, not for the referendum on the status on Western Sahara that international law demands. “Genuine autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty [is] the only feasible solution,” stated a House of Representatives letter to President Barack Obama from April 2009. “I hope to see Morocco’s autonomy plan serve as the basis of negotiation in the search for a reasonable resolution. France will be at your side,” stated French president Sarchozy before Morocco’s parliament in 2007.
France has had ties with Morocco as far back as the sixteenth century, went to war with Morocco on several occasions in an attempt to colonize Morocco, and eventually succeeded in colonizing part of Morocco from 1912 to 1956 (Spain colonizing the other part). France still sees Morocco as being part of its sphere of influence, the two governments have good political relations, and France is Morocco’s main trade partner and investor.
Morocco was one of the USA’s closest allies in their fight against communism and is one of its main allies in its fight against terrorism. Morocco was the first country to recognize the independent United States, and the two nations also signed a treaty of friendship as long ago as in 1777 (renegotiated in 1836 and still in effect) that can be said to have laid the foundations of the two countries present good relationship. Amongst other things, this treaty states that “if either of the Parties shall be at War with any Nation whatever, the other Party shall not take a Commission from the Enemy nor fight under their Colors” and that “the Commerce with the United States shall be on the same footing as is the Commerce with Spain or as that with the most favored Nation.”
Moroccan report confirms killing of 352 "disappeared" Saharawis
Ahmed Herzenni, President of Morocco's Advisory Council on Human Rights (CCDH)
The Royal Advisory Council for Human Rights (CCDH) of Morocco in a unique report confirms the killing of 352 "disappeared" Saharawis from 1958 to 1992. Out of these, over 200 died in military bases and secret detention centres, including children. Saharawis demand an international court to look into the case.
Morocco has over the years been accused of the systematic use of extrajudicial detentions and killings, especially against persons opposing the occupation of Western Sahara, shows an English translation of the CCDH report, obtained by Afrol News. The report was finalised in December 2010 but not meant for the general public.
Moroccan authorities categorically deny these facts.
HR more respected
Since the 1990s, however, human rights were gradually more respected in Morocco, in particular after current King Mohammed VI ascended to the throne in 1999.
Institutions like the CCDH were created and allowed to dig into earlier abuses to promote national reconciliation. But in particular in occupied Western Sahara, human rights abuses, including "disappearances", remain the norm.
The CCDH report outlines how 352 named Saharawis, whose whereabouts have been unknown for decades, either died in combat or were killed in detention.
144 killed in combat
Out of these, some 144 Saharawis had been killed in military combat, according to the report, which however does not give details about the circumstances of their death. The families of these Saharawis killed in combat so far have not been informed about the death or site of burial of their relatives.
Most of the other Saharawis mentioned in the Moroccan report died while in detention without any preceding trial. Some 115 persons died in several Moroccan military bases, including 14 child ren aged from 3 months to 15 years. Some 13 people were executed by a martial court in 1976.
Died due to mistreatment
The remaining "missing" Saharawis died in civilian detention centres, both ordinary Moroccan prisons and secret detention centres, which were customary at the time. The report mostly outlines how these prisoners died due to mistreatment in detention or during transport.
Also the families of these victims have so far received no information about the whereabouts or status of their relatives. The dead prisoners were buried, typically within prison walls, without the knowledge of their families.
The Moroccan human rights officials were able to document the faith of the 352 Saharawis – which had not be properly registered by authorities earlier – by interviewing military and prison staff, in addition to other victims still alive. In most cases, they were also shown where the prisoners were buried.
The CCDH investigation goes up to 1992. At that point, some 261 imprisoned Saharawis were released, many of which had spent over ten years in secret detention without any trial. Some of these survivors served as informants to the CCDH officials.
The first Saharawi reactions to this indirect Moroccan recognition of human rights abuses has been negative. Abdeslam Omar Lahsen, leader of a Saharawi association of families of the disappeared, says the report documents that "crimes against humanity" had been committed and demands an international court to look into the case.
"Far from healing wounds, this recognition by Morocco reopens the case of the victims of forced disappearance," Mr Lahsen says in a statement. He adds that Morocco is still "keeping the impunity of the perpetrators of the crimes against humanity committed against the Saharawi people."
21 de enero de 2011 | The Robert F. Kennedy Center
THE RFK CENTER FINDS EVIDENCE OF ESCALATING ABUSE, TORTURE, AND ARBITRARY IMPRISONMENT IN WESTERN SAHARA
HE RFK CENTER FINDS EVIDENCE OF ESCALATING ABUSE, TORTURE, AND ARBITRARY IMPRISONMENT IN WESTERN SAHARA
WASHINGTON (January 18, 2011) – Torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, failure to follow criminal procedures, and repression of civilians by Moroccan government forces are all too common in Western Sahara, according to the findings of a recent visit to El Aaiun by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
Western Sahara human rights leader Aminatou Haidar, recipient of the 2008 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, hosted the staff delegation from January 11 to 14 to examine human rights violations allegedly committed by Moroccan security forces against Sahrawis. The delegation included RFK Center Executive Director Lynn Delaney, Director of the Center for Human Rights Monika Kalra Varma, and Advocacy Officer Mary Beth Gallagher. Although the delegation’s ability to work or move freely was not impeded, the staff was under constant surveillance by both uniformed and undercover police.
Indications of repression, limitations on freedom of expression, and economic and social marginalization of Sahrawis, as well as state-sponsored violence, are emblematic of the human rights situation there. This context, in concert with the violence that broke out on November 8, 2010, when Moroccan security forces dismantled a camp set up by residents of Western Sahara to protest social and economic discrimination, reinforces the need for impartial international human rights monitoring. The RFK Center strongly condemns the violence committed on both sides surrounding the dismantling of the protest camps in November.
The RFK Center mission met with more than two dozen victims of abuse, torture, and imprisonment and their families during the trip, in addition to Moroccan government officials and representatives of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). “Human rights abuses have been ongoing, and the spike in violence resulting from the dismantling of the Gdyam Izik camp is alarming,” said Varma. “There are overwhelming indications of abuse, harassment, or torture both before and after the violence, and Aminatou Haidar and her fellow human rights defenders work at great personal risk in these conditions.”
“The fact that there is no international human rights monitoring mechanism as the situation worsens in Western Sahara is unacceptable,” stated Varma. The RFK Center has long called on the United Nations Security Council to add a human rights component to MINURSO to monitor the human rights situation in Western Sahara and the camps in Tindouf, Algeria.
“I hope that after the visit of the RFK Center to Western Sahara, the delegation will be able to shine a spotlight on the alarming human rights situation in the territory of Western Sahara, which is under Moroccan control,” said Haidar. “Strong support from the United States and the international community is needed to end the suffering of the Sahrawi people.”
The RFK Center will be issuing a report detailing its findings in the near future.
Aminatou Haidar, 2008 RFK Human Rights Award Laureate
Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights engages in long-term partnerships with RFK Human Rights Award Laureates to support sustainable social justice movements. As one of Western Sahara’s most prominent human rights defenders, and president of the Collectif des defenseurs saharaouis des droits de l'homme (CODESA), Aminatou Haidar promotes the civil, political, social, cultural, and economic rights of the people of Western Sahara, including the rights to freedom of speech and association and to self-determination. Ms. Haidar works through non-violent means to organize peaceful demonstrations to denounce the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Moroccan government. Despite years of illegal imprisonment, torture, and abuse under Moroccan authorities, Ms. Haidar continues to encourage Sahrawis to seek, through non-violent means, the realization of their fundamental human rights.
For journalists to arrange an interview, please contact:
Josh Karlen, Director of Communications
Le Centre RFK découvre des preuves d'abus, de torture et d'emprisonnements arbitraires croissant au Sahara Occidental
WASHINGTON, 18 janvier 2011 – La torture, les détentions et les arrestations arbitraires, l'incapacité de poursuivre des procédures pénales, et la répression des civils par les forces du gouvernement Marocain sont des choses communes au Sahara Occidental, selon les découvertes faites au cours d'une visite récente à El Aaiun effectuée par le Centre Robert F. Kennedy pour la justice et les droits de l'homme.
La chef de file des droits de l'homme au Sahara Occidental, Aminatou Haidar, lauréate 2008 du Prix Robert F. Kennedy des droits de l'homme, a accueilli le 11 janvier dernier jusqu'au 14 janvier la délégation afin d'examiner les violations des droits de l'homme prétendument commises par les forces de sécurité Marocaines contre les Sahraouis. Les personnes ayant participé à cette mission d'information étaient les suivantes : la Directrice Générale du centre RFK Lynn Delaney, la Directrice du Centre pour les droits de l'homme Monika Kalra Varma et la représentante légale Mary Beth Gallagher. Bien que la capacité de la délégation à travailler ou à se déplacer librement n'ait pas été entravée, elles demeuraient constamment sous surveillance par le biais de policiers en uniforme et en civil.
Les indices de répression, de limitation de la liberté d'expression et de discrimination économique et sociale des sahraouis, ainsi que la violence sponsorisée par l'État sont emblématiques de la situation locale concernant les droits de l'homme. Ce contexte, conjointement avec la violence qui a éclaté le 8 novembre 2010, lorsque les forces de sécurité Marocaines ont démantelé un camp établi par des résidents du Sahara Occidental afin de protester contre la discrimination sociale et économique, renforce le besoin de contrôle impartial de la communauté internationale en termes de droits de l'homme. Le Centre RFK condamne fermement les violences commises des deux côtés lors du démantèlement des camps de protestation ayant eu lieu en Novembre.
La délégation du centre RFK a rencontré plus de deux douzaines de victimes d'abus, de torture et d'emprisonnement et leurs familles lors de ce voyage, ainsi que les représentants du gouvernement Marocain et les représentants de la Mission des Nations Unies pour l'organisation d'un référendum au Sahara Occidental (MINURSO). "Les abus à l'encontre des droits de l'homme continuent, et le pic de violence résultant du démantèlement du camp Gdyam Izik est alarmant" confie Varma. "Il existe des indices accablants d'abus, de harcèlement ou de torture ayant eu lieu avant et après les violences, et le travail d'Aminatou Haidar et de ses collègues défenseurs des droits de l'homme est hautement risqué dans ces conditions."
«Le fait qu'il n'y ait aucun mécanisme de contrôle international des droits de l'homme au Sahara Occidental alors que la situation empire est inacceptable » a déclaré Varma. Le centre RFK propose depuis longtemps au Conseil de Sécurité l'ajout au MINURSO d'une composante ayant trait aux droits de l'homme afin de contrôler la situation des droits de l'homme au Sahara Occidental et dans les camps de Tindouf en Algérie.
«Je souhaite que la visite de la délégation du centre RFK et les entretiens faites avec les victimes sahraouies des violations des droits de l'homme aillent clarifier d'avantage pour le les membres de la délégations la situation alarmante des droits de l'homme au territoire du Sahara Occidental sous contrôle marocain » disait Haidar. «L'intervention ferme en son faveur par des Etats Unis et partout dans le monde entier par des nations libres est nécessaire pour mettre fin a la souffrance du peuples sahraoui. »
Le centre RFK publiera sous peu un rapport détaillant ses découvertes.
Aminatou Haidar, Lauréate 2008 du Prix Robert F. Kennedy des droits de l'homme
Le centre Robert F. Kennedy pour la justice et les droits de l'homme s'engage dans un partenariat à long terme avec les lauréats RFK des droits de l'homme afin de soutenir les mouvements de justice sociale durables. Étant l'une des défenseures des droits de l'homme les plus éminentes du Sahara Occidental et la presidente du Collectif des defenseurs saharaouis des droits de l'homme (CODESA), Aminatou Haidar promeut les droits civiques, politiques, sociaux, culturels et économiques du peuple du Sahara Occidental, y compris la liberté d'expression et d'association et l'autodétermination. Madame Haidar travaille au moyen de la non violence afin d'organiser des manifestations pacifiques pour dénoncer les abus perpétrés par le gouvernement Marocain. Malgré des années d'emprisonnement illégal, de torture et d'abus sous le régime Marocain, Madame Haidar continue d'encourager les Sahraouis à chercher, au travers de moyens non violents, la réalisation de leurs droits fondamentaux.
Pour les journalistes désirant organiser une interview, veuillez contacter :
Josh Karlen, Directeur de la Communication
Imprisoned Saharawi human rights defenders Messrs Brahim Dahane, Ali Salem Tamek, and Ahmad Anasiri declared a 48-hour hunger strike, beginning on 11 January 2011, in protest at the conditions of their detention and an alleged lack of fair trial guarantees.
In a statement issued on 9 January 2011, the three imprisoned human rights defenders stated: "our last four trials in the court of first instance in Casablanca took place under extraordinary circumstances. Various security forces and severe restrictive measures were employed to prevent our families from entering the court building. Moreover, hundreds of Moroccan citizens and dozens of lawyers were mobilized to protest inside the court; they chanted racist and chauvinistic slogans, and physically attacked us and all other detainees, as well as our families, some members of the defence, international observers and journalists...these dangerous incidents...demonstrate the lack of genuine will of the Moroccan state to fulfil the conditions for a fair trial"
On 7 January 2011, the ongoing trial of seven Saharawi human rights defenders was adjourned until 14 January. The human rights defenders' defence team boycotted the hearing in protest against alleged due process violations.
On 31 December 2010, the six lawyers acting as the defence team for the seven human rights defenders issued a statement declaring that they would boycott all sessions and procedures of the trial as a protest against harassments inflicted against the defendants, their families, their lawyers and international observers in the previous three trial sessions, and to demand basic conditions for a fair trial.
Front Line renews its call for the immediate and unconditional release of the 7 human rights defenders on the grounds that they were detained solely on the basis of their legitimate human rights work.
On 8 October 2009 the seven Saharawi human rights defenders were arrested at Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca. Some months later, four of the defenders, namely Mr Yadih Ettarrouzi, Mr Rachid Sghayar, Mr Saleh Lebayhi and Ms Idagja Lachgare were released on bail while the other three, namely Mr Ali Salem Tamek (Vice-President of the Sahrawi Collective of Human Rights Defenders -CODESA); Mr Brahim Dahane (President of the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights - ASVDH), and Mr Ahmad Anasiri (General Secretary of the Sahrawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Smara) remained in prison. On 21 September 2010, the military court in Rabat declined jurisdiction over the case.
On 15 October 2010, the three detained human rights defenders, were not permitted to travel from Sale prison, where they were being held, to attend a hearing before the Ain-Sab'a lower court in Casablanca while the other four defendants, who were released on bail, presented themselves to the court.
According to a representative of the defence team, the legal nature of the case had been changed from "felony" to "delinquency" and that the seven human rights defenders had been accused of "endangering the security of the State", an accusation which, according to the defence team, was not based on any evidence. During the session, a large number of Moroccan lawyers, who were apparently against self-determination for Western Sahara, shouted slogans and harassed the defendants, their lawyers and Sahrawi and international observers who attended the session.
On 5 November 2010, as the trial reconvened the Security Services again allowed a large crowd to enter the courtroom so that there was no room for the international observers. As the trial got under way, the people in the public gallery began chanting the Moroccan national anthem; "Sahara is Moroccan" and called the defendants "traitors".
The crowd attempted to attack the four defendants who had previously been released on provisional liberty and the defence lawyers upon arrival at the Court. The judge finally left the Court because of the noise from the public gallery at which point the crowd started to attack the Sahrawi human rights defenders, beating them and shouting insults.
In the resulting melée two Spanish journalists were injured. A Front Line representative who attended this session demanded urgent protection from the security services for the international observers and they were eventually able to leave the court under police protection. As they left the court the representatives of Front Line, the International Commission of Jurists and the British Bar Association were subjected to a flood of insults as they made their way though the streets from the court.
On 17 December 2010, the trial session was reconvened in the same circumstances leading to a protest by the defence team concerning the lack of safety measures provided for the defendants and their lawyers, and called for the release of the three defendants in jail and the provision of basic fair trial guarantees. The trial was adjourned until 7 January 2011. Brahim Dahane, Ali Salem Tamek and Ahmad Anasiri remain in custody.
Sahrawi activists to seek asylum in Canary Islands
Group of 16 had been in hiding since October protests.
Sixteen Sahrawis who arrived by boat to the Canary Island of Fuerteventura on Wednesday will request political asylum on Friday. All of them are thought to have participated in a mass protest against Moroccan control over Western Sahara last October, an event that was forcibly dismantled by Moroccan police.
Since then, they and many other Sahrawis have remained in hiding, several sources say, awaiting a chance to flee by sea.
The boat took around 17 hours to reach Fuerteventura, where several of its passengers tried to escape. Spanish police arrested 26 of a total of around 35, according to eyewitnesses. Sixteen of the detainees are expected to request political asylum and will in all likelihood be interviewed on Monday or Tuesday of next week as part of the asylum process.
Legal experts said that it is "very likely" that their request will be granted, given the current situation in Western Sahara and the recent events in its capital Laayoûne, where the Sahrawi protest was violently put down, according to witnesses. At the time, Morocco imposed a media blackout on Spanish reporters in an effort to prevent news from reaching the former metropolis of this North African region.
Sahrawi sources in the disputed territory said that Morocco has been "facilitating" the departure of several boats filled with individuals considered to be "uncomfortable" for Rabat.
A spokesman for the Popular Party in the Canary Islands said that the situation requires "decided and efficient action by the Spanish government to provide serious solutions to the problem of Western Sahara once and for all."
Western Sahara is the last colony in Africa which is at present in the process of decolonization, as required by the United Nations. It is situated on the Atlantic coast in North West Africa..
Airy Sindik Mejia Lara
It is bordered to the south by Mauretania, to the north by Morocco and to the east by Algeria. Its territory is the Sahara Desert and its capital is El Ayoun, near the sea in the north.
In Western Sahara there are natural resources including 85% of the world’s stock of Phosphate, used in the production of agrochemicals, one of the most destructive of industries.
But this is not the only resource that is found in this forgotten territory, there are also oil, gas, the biggest fish stocks in the world, and the richest fosses of water in North Africa.
Europe has profited from these since the territory was proclaimed a colony by Spain in 1885, and more extensively since its occupation in 1934. Years have gone by for this land and no-one has stopped lying about the Saharaoui people.
During the time of Franco’s dictatorship, on the 17th and 18th of July 1936, while he was planning his coup against the Spanish Republic, he promised independence for the Saharaoui people in exchange for their support.
Deceived and still dreaming of independence, they began the first rebellions against the Republican Government in the African colonies of Spanish Sahara, Ceuta, Melilla and Tetuan, from where boats later set sail in support of Franco.
Once in power, the dictator forgot his promises, which became the first betrayal. On the eve of Franco’s death on November 14th 1975 the tripartite agreements were signed, selling Western Sahara to Morocco and Mauretania, the second betrayal.
During the transition from Francisc o Franco’s dictatorship to so-called democracy in Spain, King Juan Carlos promised independence, and once again betrayed the Saharaoui people, the third betrayal.
On the 14th November 1976 Felipe Gonzalez also promised independence, and when in power betrayed the Saharaoui people for the 4th time. In recent times Zapatero and Trinidad Jiménez declared themselves in favour of Saharan independence, and once in power created a strategy of censorship, and sold arms to support the Moroccan occupation of Saharan territory, the fifth betrayal.
In 1991 the United Nations promised to hold a referendum on self-determination and independence for the Saharaoui people within 8 months, in exchange for a cease-fire between the Polisario Front and Morocco.
The United Nations Mission for the Referendum for Western Sahara (Minurso), spent 18 years in the territory without making the slightest improvement in living conditions or human rights in the areas occupied by Morocco in Western Sahara, the sixth international betrayal.
The Saharan people have been betrayed by all the different brands of western ideologies.
Monarchy, dictatorship, the left, the right and the International agencies have betrayed Western Sahara and its people.
These are the so-called alternatives that the West has offered as a peaceful solution to the conflict, while in reality the agonising situation has been perpetuated.
The conditions which existed before the Saharan protest camp of Gdeim Izik, 15 Km from the city of El Ayoun included: torture, disappearances, persecution, the rape of women and girls; the economic, political and cultural marginalization of the Saharaoui people; the razing to the ground of homes, plunder, a multitude of beatings, mass graves and ‘black prisons’, all at the hands of the occupying Moroccan police and armed forces.
Innumerable violations of human rights could be cited, but taken together the conditions during the last 35 years in the territories occupied by Morocco in Western Sahara amount to genocide, the attempted extermination of the Saharaoui people.
The Saharaoui protest camp at Gdeim Izik in Western Sahara, which lasted from its beginning on Oct. 9th until its violent eviction on November 8th was an ultimatum to the international community, to respond urgently, and they called for the Red Cross, UN peacekeepers, the international media and international human rights organizations.
Wishing to unblock the decolonization process and achieve independence.
In Gdeim Izik the slogan of the Saharaouis was: “ I don’t want a house or a job, all I want is independence and for the Moroccans to leave”.
At the meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday Nov. 16th 2010, the French response was once again to veto Minurso so it does not have power concerning human rights.
Spain plays down the death and extermination of the Saharan people, prioritizing the economic and strategic interests of its friend Morocco.
London is paralysed by the student rebellion against the raising of university tuition fees. Milan finds itself hostage to mafia-dominated rubbish collectors, who blackmail the extreme-right government of Berlusconi into brutally repressing protests.
Greece and Ireland face an economic crisis, and in Portugal a national strike has been announced. France has blue-collar workers on strike, while in Spain strikes by white collar workers are ended by the army.
The European Union, championed by Germany, speculates with fishing rights and energy exploitation in this occupied territory Western Sahara.
With the evidence contained in reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the European Union hesitate to carry out an investigation of what happened during the eviction of Gdeim Izik, and later in El Ayoun, after nightfall during the military curfew, when there were tortures in public, and many murders in Saharan homes at the hands of the Moroccan police and occupiers.
The consequence of the European economic and political crisis is murder and genocide in Western Sahara. This is the price to be paid for a failed decolonization. We should not be surprised or shocked if all these betrayals leave the Saharan people only one alternative. 35 Years patience waiting for a peaceful decolonization process to happen is a lot of patience.
We are on the eve of war, and maybe the powerful in Europe are even hoping for it, to regenerate their economies.
The price of colonialism is war abroad. Convenience for Europe at the cost of concentration camps and military encampments in Western Sahara, to maintain the businesses that support the European Union. The economic crisis in Europe costs the most painful ruin in other countries. Here in Europe governments fall and politicians come and go. In Western Sahara the Saharaoui people’s very existence as part of humanity is at stake. The West boasts of democracy while it exports battlefields. These are the consequences of a global system in crisis.
Two women hide in Smara (Western Sahara) reported atrocities committed by Moroccans from dismantling the protest camp Izik Gdaim.
THE Prime Minister is in Rabuni, which is about twenty miles from the camp of El Aaiun, the second most populous in the region of Tindouf, which also hosts three major camps (Smara, Djala and Awsera). In this total live in some 165,000 Saharawi territory. Algeria welcomes them on their land and has turned over a good portion of the desert, miles and miles of a sad landscape, without evidence, that they manage as they can. Rabuni is in the middle of this huge clay and there is no concentrated efforts of all the Prime Ministry. The building work the Saharawi Prime Minister (Abbas El Fassi) and the director of general administration (Mohamed Mouloud Ergeibi), together with its partners.
Many of the statements coming from the territories occupied by Morocco converge here, mainly through e-mail or Skype. Abdul Mohamed Salem is in charge of collecting all that information, and in the evenings, every day. Abdul is contained within a small yellow room, worn by the rigors of daytime heat and extreme cold that night gives in these amazing places. A brown sofa and a black flank the table, which supports a lightweight laptop and a flag of SADR (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic). On the wall hangs a tiny, dusty portrait of President, Mohamed Abdelaziz. The smell of mint tea and sparkling lights all pervading sense of Abdul, focused on the computer screen and small red flashes emitted by Skype, a program that lets you talk with others via the Internet.
Sipping the potion of the desert and back again to your computer. They are calling it. "It J.M." he enthuses. "It's a Saharawi woman who was in Gdaim Izik, camp attacked in Laayoune. Now lies in Smara. She can tell you things, but you can not publish his name. They would look and worn." J.M then. "Salm Alikum" the girl show, greets Hassani (Arabic dialect) but continues in a perfect Spanish: "The attack was at dawn. At five o'clock the police and soldiers had surrounded the camp and attacked six . They did it with every weapon they had, and shots were fired. I could see at least two deaths. A one knew him. Regreg was called and has two children. The camp was full of youth, women, children and homes, and showed no mercy to anyone, they hit everyone. "
J.M. take a break and return to the events of that fateful awakening: "The younger they faced police with stones and bottles filled with gasoline, all they had, thanks to them we were able to escape because we did a corridor security. But there are people who were caught overnight in the camp, because the incidents lasted all day. Following the fighting moved to Laayoune, where he continued until one o'clock in the morning. In the camp there were 800 tents and more than ten thousand people. Many have disappeared, do not know where they are, but some have already found. I recently found that Moroccans 16 bodies had been thrown into a pit. " J.M. describes the facts unchanged, with the calm voice of someone who's been reviewed over and over again: "In Gdaim Izik were 800 tents and burned them all, plus the military and the police stole everything inside. That was terrible, but what happened next is worse. We can hardly go out. The military have been gone, but the streets are made by the Police and the Moroccan civilians, and among all the Saharawi are stealing.'ve robbed stores have stolen from homes and stolen cars. The king of Morocco itself has encouraged countries to do so. It is a shame. " Now it has changed a little and his voice echoes in the room like a psalm: "It's a shame, a shame you have to talk about this as soon as possible for someone to end this injustice. We ask nothing more than protection . The Saharawi are totally unprotected in our own land. It is unfair, totally unfair. "
Insults and abuse
J.M. hidden in a central area of Smara, and is afraid to go outside. Her neighbor, SMA, was recently assaulted when he went to pick up their daughters to school. J.M. flame and she agrees to talk. His voice is more serious and hesitant, but the statements are equally compelling. She speaks Hassani, and translates Abdul: "Moroccan women insult us and provoke us, and tell their children to stick to our own, which often come home with black eye or a blow to the body. That happens in the schools of Mohamed V, Moulay Rashid and Green March, which we call the Black March, because it's like hell. " "We are afraid to go out and buy food," he continues, and they are young boys who are at risk. We can not sue anyone, the law is not in our favor, the police are not in our favor ... We are afraid because know when to throw our door to enter our houses, as if we were terrorists. We are not terrorists! ". S.M.A. opens up to his words are a nobody answers SOS and which is lost in the sand beds of distant offices, where it is filed.
Impunity in prisons
The situation has calmed down in El Aaiun and Smara, but the Saharawi, who are barely 20% of the total population of Western Sahara, living in the shadows. They dare not go outside for fear of reprisals from neighboring Morocco, do not dare to ask about the missing (at risk of arrest), do not overlook the hospitals (they risk being beaten). And there are worse things. "The greatest injustices done in the prisons. Nobody knows how many are detained Sahrawi, or how many have disappeared. But we do know what happens to those who go to jail, because some have gone and been told. One woman made to sit on a bottle, well, literally. The other girl, Elgalia, cut off his head. All that we are living it ourselves. "Europe is going to do something? France? Spain? Is anybody going to do something? The UN going to do something, "he asked between moans disguised JM
The UN has deployed observers for some time, but apparently Minurso members are nothing more than mere observers, silent witnesses to the injustices suffered by Sahrawi daily. JM understands this: "The UN observers are here but stare, and sometimes not even that, not even want to watch. Sometimes the Moroccan authorities do not give them permission to go where there have been clashes or attacks." J.M. claims to have visual evidence of many of these abuses, and details that, in recent days, the Moroccan civilians, settlers and children of the settlers "are the real danger, because they are emboldened and they want our property. They want us out of here, but not going to get. The world must know this, we need to know what happens, because we will not lose more family members. " J.M. thanks and goodbye to Abdul, releasing the last proclamation of who is cornered: "We're not going to miss here. Never."
Morocco has refused entry to the city of Laayoune dependent Territories Western Sahara's lawyers Ms Inés Miranda Navarro and Ms. Dolores Travieso Darias, responsible for International Observation of the General Council of Spanish Lawyers
Inés Miranda & Mª Dolores Travieso
The lawyers of the General Council of Spanish Lawyers (CGAE), moved on Sunday 05/12/2010 from Gran Canaria to Laayoune in the NT flight 6100, with the intention to attend as observers to the Criminal International Jurists scheduled for Monday morning 06/12/2010 at 09:00 am by the Criminal Court of First Instance in the Moroccan city of Laayoune (Non-Autonomous Territory of Western Sahara) against D. CHTOUKI Othman, D. MOHAMED YADDASI, D. Abdelfatah DERKAOUI and D. HAMED ELKAMELM, all Saharawi political prisoners.
On arrival of the airplane at Laayoune airport, it was announced within the same could not lose the aircraft that did not have anyone Moroccan passport, while the plane was surrounded by armed Moroccan police.
Then the police chief agreed to aeroperto the aircraft steps and asked the Spanish lawyers their passport, and viewing requirements of the lawyers to inform them of what was happening as they were at the trials of Saharawi for more 8, were told that in this occasion the situation was different, and could not get off the plane must return to the Canary Islands.
The police chief was removed from the ladder to meet in the middle of the track with more police on which showed the passport and Accreditation CGAE the Lawyers, which contained the knowledge of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Government of Spain.
A few minutes later he returned the plane to return the passports of Spanish literature, and confirm that they were prohibited from entering the territory, giving them the flight card embaruqe NT 6101, taking off immediately. The International Observer demanded to meet with officials of the decision to refuse entry, receiving a negative reply, being forbidden even to leave the plane. The lawyers reported that they were committing an illegal act, that the Moroccan police agents were acting outside the law and against international law, so they would have to answer complaints made against them inteprondría.
Ms. Inés Miranda and Ms. Dolores Travieso, are members and officials of the International Observation CGAE since its formation in 2002, coordinating and directing the work Ms. Inés Miranda since. The Spanish Lawyers have attended over 200 sessions of lawsuits against Sahrawi human rights activists held in the Western Sahara and Morocco.
The refusal of entry to the Territory of Western Sahara non-self to the two International Observer Lawyers by police in Morocco is more of an instrument employed by the occupying power against the Saharawi civilians in contravention and breach the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Universal Human Rights Delaración. International Humanitarian Law, Geneva Convention IV of 1949 on protection and protection of the population in the occupied territories, and international conventions protecting human rights and fundamental procedural safeguards.
Canary Islands, December 5, 2010
Signed: Inés Miranda Navarro y Dolores Travieso Darias
December 1, 2010 | Carlos Ruíz Miguel
Wikileaks documents on the Sahara
The documents leaked by Wikileaks texts began to appear related to Western Sahara. In the first document that I have news, U.S. diplomats echoed Sarkozy's support for the initiatives of Mohamed VI. At first I did not find anything that does not already know. The only thing that appeared in the press were the gossip of some interest, which is referred to in paragraph 11 of this report declassified.
Transcribe the largest part of the October 2007 cable:
SUBJECT: SARKOZY SWEEPS MOROCCO OFF ITS FEET
Classified by DCM Robert P. Jackson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: French President Sarkozy’s October 22-24 visit to Morocco was viewed as a success by both sides. During a star-like visit and speech to the Moroccan parliament, Sarkozy offered the most explicit French statement to date in support of Morocco’s autonomy plan as the basis for a negotiated settlement to the Sahara dispute. Sarkozy also essentially conceded the loss of the sale of French Rafale fighters to a “better offer” to Morocco for U.S. F-16s. Sarkozy and entourage completed nearly 3 billion Euros worth of commercial deals and military sales during the visit, including a naval frigate. The French Ambassador in Rabat downplayed the commercial aspects of the trip, instead emphasizing Sarkozy’s “Mediterranean Union” summit proposal and his support for Moroccan democratic and economic reforms. The visit received mainly favorable attention in the local media, featuring images of two heads of state interacting as equal partners and friends. End summary.
Leaning Farther Forward on Sahara
2. (C) In an interview with the pro-Palace daily Le Matin just before his arrival, Sarkozy described Morocco’s autonomy proposal for the Sahara as “serious and credible.” Addressing a joint session of parliament in Rabat on October 23, Sarkozy appeared to take explicit French support for Morocco’s plan a step further, describing it as “a new element,” in a long deadlocked process, using the USG formulation that it could “serve as a basis for negotiation in the search for a reasonable settlement to the Western Sahara issue.” Sarkozy’s remarks on Sahara appeared to move France closer toward the Moroccan position, and were embraced as such by most of the Moroccan press, which characterized the president’s remarks as a breakthrough for French policy on the Sahara question. (We understand the Polisario leadership has protested Sarkozy’s remarks.)
Economic Agreements and Military Sales
8. (SBU) Other military contracts concluded during the visit included the sale of a French frigate and the upgrade of 25 Puma helicopters and 140 armored vehicles. In addition, an energy contract was signed to build a 200 million Euro power plant near Oujda in Morocco’s northeast and the French nuclear group Areva signed a deal with the National Phosphate Company (OCP) to extract uranium from Moroccan phosphoric acid. In a press release, the company noted that Morocco’s reserves of the material total 6 million metric tons, twice the world reserves of actual uranium ore.
Press Coverage - Ecstatic, with Exceptions
10. (SBU) Though press coverage of Sarkozy’s visit was overwhelmingly positive, some commentators voiced resentment - the independent (Arabic) daily Al Massae groused that French diplomacy “remains governed by traditional and obtuse concepts” and accused the President of patronizing Morocco by issuing a “certificate of good conduct” to the regime. A leading Islamist daily deemed insulting Sarkozy’s assertion during his address to parliament that Islam stands for goodness, tolerance, and peace, while political Islam stands for separateness and engenders hostility toward “the other.” The Arabic daily affiliated with the Islamist PJD denounced Sarkozy’s remark as a slap in the face to the Islamist MPs present in the audience.
11. (C) While Sarkozy was generally well received, there was much gossip in Moroccan salons about a “too relaxed” President slouching comfortably in his chair as he and the King presided over an October 22 signing ceremony at the Royal Palace in Marrakech. In one image, Sarkozy was seen crossing his legs and pointing the sole of his shoe at the King - a taboo gesture in the Islamic world. Sarkozy was accompanied throughout the visit, including at a banquet with the royal family by his Justice Minister (of Moroccan heritage) Rachida Dati.
Morocco continues to use violence as a weapon to repeated harassment against the Saharawi population in the entire territory of Western Sahara, precluding the possibility of coexistence between two peoples. His actions only show the hardening of the illegal occupation since the dismantling of Gdeim Izik. For 35 years, the Saharawi have suffered the cruel violence Moroccan consistently and in all areas of your life, but it's the last time, when the attacks are becoming more violent, deliberate and with the resounding support of the Moroccan government and police. Cohabitation is becoming more difficult by the repeated involvement of the Moroccan settlers in the attacks against the Sahrawi people are neighbors and classmates, Moroccan, and attack those who betray the Saharawi, both in their classes as their homes, such as what happened in the last days in Laayoune.
On the day of yesterday, November 29, 2010, we woke to the news that Moroccan settlers were entering the Territory several institutes in the Moulay Rachid in Smara and Mohamed V and the Institute Al Tanmya in Laayoune.
Western Sahara: Beatings, Abuse by Moroccan Security Forces
Investigate Violent Response to Disturbances.
(New York) - Moroccan security forces repeatedly beat and abused people they detained following disturbances on November 8, 2010, in the Western Sahara capital city of El-Ayoun, Human Rights Watch said today. Security forces also directly attacked civilians, a Human Rights Watch investigation showed. The Moroccan authorities should immediately end the abuse of detainees, and carry out an independent investigation into the abuse, Human Rights Watch said.
Early on November 8 the Moroccan security forces moved to dismantle the Gdeim Izik tent camp - about 6,500 tents Sahrawis had erected in early October to protest their social and economic conditions in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara. That set off violent confrontations between residents and security forces both in the camp and in nearby El-Ayoun. Eleven security officers and at least two civilians were killed, by official count. Many public and private buildings and vehicles were burned in the city.
"The security forces have the right to use proportionate force to prevent violence and protect human life, but nothing can justify beating people in custody unconscious," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
Following the initial violent confrontations, Moroccan security forces participated with Moroccan civilians in retaliatory attacks on civilians and homes, and blocked wounded Sahrawis from seeking medical treatment. Such conduct, and the beating of persons in custody, cannot be viewed as force used legitimately to prevent or stop violent acts by some demonstrators such as stone-throwing or arson, Human Rights Watch said.
In the aftermath of the violence on November 8, Moroccan security officials detained hundreds of Sahrawis in connection with the disturbances, more than 100 of whom are still being held. Another nine have been transferred to Rabat for investigation by a military court, Sahrawi human rights lawyers in El-Ayoun told Human Rights Watch.
Restricted Access to Information
After the tent camp was dismantled, Moroccan authorities tightly limited access to El-Ayoun, allowing few journalists or representatives of nongovernmental organizations to reach the city and turning back many who tried. A Human Rights Watch researcher was prevented twice from boarding a flight to El-Ayoun on November 11, and finally flew there on November 12. The researcher and Human Rights Watch's El-Ayoun-based research assistant were able, from November 12 to 16, to interview injured civilians and police officers in hospitals and at homes. They also met with Mohamed Jelmous, governor of the El-Ayoun-Boujdour-Saguia el-Hamra region.
"We are glad Morocco changed course and allowed Human Rights Watch to carry out an investigation in El-Ayoun," Whitson said. "But a government that says repeatedly that it has nothing to hide should prove that by allowing all media and nongovernmental organizations to come and to collect information without obstacles."
Human Rights Watch focused its investigation on human rights abuses following the dismantling of the Gdeim Izik camp - not on the nature of the protest at the camp, the decision to close it, or the way it was closed down.
Human Rights Watch does not have its own tally of civilians or security force members killed during the events. According to Moroccan authorities, nine members of the security forces were killed during the operation at Gdeim Izik camp on the morning of November 8, and another died during the disturbances later that day in El-Ayoun. The eleventh died on November 17 from wounds he incurred during the disturbances. One civilian died of injuries sustained during the security force operation at Gdeim Izik, a second after a vehicle hit him in during the unrest in El-Ayoun. The public prosecutor ordered a judicial inquiry into the latter case, a government statement said.
Human Rights Watch told ministry of interior officials in Rabat on November 18 of its evidence that security forces had opened fire in the city of El-Ayoun, wounding civilians, and of other violent attacks by members of the security forces on Sahrawis, both those at liberty and those in detention. The following day, Moroccan authorities again issued a denial, writing to Human Rights Watch that, "The security forces' operations when dismantling the camp of Gdeim Izik as well as its operations in El-Ayoun were conducted in conformity with the legal procedures in place, in strict respect for what is required of a state that respects the rule of law, and without a single shot being fired." At the same time, they wrote, "Moroccan authorities are ready to start investigations and the necessary forensic work to fully clarify the basis for these allegations. Moreover, those persons who allege having been subjected to violence, whether or not they are in custody, are completely free to go to court themselves to file suits to establish the validity of their assertions."
On November 20, the government announced that, on the basis of the report from Human Rights Watch, the crown prosecutor at the El-Ayoun Appeal Court had opened an inquiry into "allegations of persons having been injured by bullets" during the disturbances in El-Ayoun.
Human Rights Watch intends to monitor any official investigation as well as the treatment accorded to victims of abuse who file a complaint.
The security forces involved in the events come from various groups. The troops who intervened at the camp included gendarmes and the Auxiliary Forces, an interior ministry statement said. The forces involved in El-Ayoun included the regular police force, special anti-riot units (groupes d'intervention rapide, or GIR), and the Auxiliary Forces. The latter assists other branches of the security forces and is not part of the interior ministry.
The Human Rights Watch research mission identified the following possible abuses by security forces. Some of those who spoke with Human Rights Watch gave permission to use their names, while others, fearing reprisal, asked the researchers to withhold their names.
Abuses in Detention
Human Rights interviewed seven Sahrawis detained following the November 8 violence and then released. All alleged that the police or gendarmes abused them in custody, including in some cases beating them until they lost consciousness, throwing urine at them, and threatening them with rape. Lawyers representing those who remain in custody told Human Rights Watch that at least one detainee told an investigative judge that he had been raped in detention, while many others told the investigative judge and prosecutor about beatings and other abuses they allegedly endured in custody.
The witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch had severe bruising and other recent wounds that suggested they had been beaten in custody.
Family members of detainees told Human Rights Watch that Moroccan authorities failed to inform them about the detentions for several days and that, as of November 23, the authorities had still not permitted them to visit relatives detained up to two weeks earlier, although defense lawyers had been able to see them for the first time on that day. These delays made it difficult for many families to promptly establish the whereabouts of missing persons or to get information about their treatment in detention.
Human Rights Watch urged authorities immediately to inform next of kin for each person taken into custody, as required by Morocco's Code of Penal Procedure, article 67.
The Sahrawis held in El-Ayoun prison were being investigated on charges such as formation of a criminal gang of with the aim of committing crimes against persons and property, possession of arms, destruction of public property, and participation in hostage-taking and the sequestration of persons, in setting fire to buildings, in the use of violence against members of the forces of order resulting in injury and death, and in armed gatherings.
Ahmed Jadahlou Salem, 34, told Human Rights Watch that he arrived at the Gdeim Izik protest camp the evening of November 7, after making the long drive from Spain. On the morning of the crackdown, he said, gendarmes at the camp detained and handcuffed him, then beat and kicked him with their boots until he lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness, still at the camp, he was again kicked several times in the chest by the gendarmes, who then threw him into the back of a truck:
About 30 or 40 of us were put in the back of the gendarmes' truck. All of us were handcuffed behind our backs. They just threw us inside the van like cattle; some of us had head wounds, and we were all bleeding. We were lying on top of each other, and they left us like this for one or two hours, ordering us to keep our heads down.
Jadahlou said that when the truck reached El-Ayoun, the men were dragged out by their feet and marched into the gendarme station, while being punched and kicked. They were kept in a room that, he said, by November 9 housed 72 male detainees. Jadahlou described to Human Rights Watch how each person was called out of the common room for questioning, and said men kicked and punched him along the way:
In the interrogation room, there were maybe six gendarmes, but others kept coming and going. There was no chair to sit on in the room, and each question was asked with a kick or a slap. They asked many questions - what I was doing in the camp, why we wanted a state of our own. They asked me about many persons by name. They threatened to rape me there.
Jadahlou said the gendarmes tossed urine on the detainees. They provided no food until the evening of November 10, thirty-six to sixty hours after the men were detained. At night, the gendarmes threw water on the floor of the cell to interrupt their sleep. The police released Jadahlou on November 12 without charge.
A second former detainee, Laassiri Salek, 38, told Human Rights Watch that the police detained him at his home in the Columina Nueva neighborhood around midday on November 9. He told Human Rights Watch that, although he was handcuffed and blindfolded, he is fairly certain they transported him to the city's central police station. There, he said, he was beaten during the course of five hours with wooden sticks and batons, causing him to lose consciousness twice. The police revived him by pouring water on him. He could hear other detainees nearby screaming in pain, he said. After the long beating session, during which various police officers came and went, he was taken for interrogation where, he said, he continued to be beaten on his head, back, and kidney area with clubs.
Salek told Human Rights Watch that the police forced detainees to sing the Moroccan national anthem, beating them if they did not know the words. Police threw cold water on them and did not give them food for the first two days. On the evening of November 10, he said, the police ordered the detainees to stand in one line, still blindfolded, as police officers ran up and kicked them hard with their boots. Salek again lost consciousness. When the police released him the next day, he was unable to walk and had to be carried out of the station in a chair and driven home in a taxi. He was still in a wheelchair when interviewed by Human Rights Watch on November 16, five days after his release.
Leila Leili, a 36-year-old Sahrawi activist, was detained outside her father's home close to Smara Avenue in the Lacheicha neighborhood on November 9, after police found in her purse an essay she wrote about the events of the previous day. She told Human Rights Watch that the police officers first took her into a nearby private building, where one policeman punched her in the face. She was kept there for several hours, then transferred to the central police station. There she complained to the police officers that the officers who detained her had let several Moroccans armed with knives go free, but had detained all the Sahrawi civilians they had stopped. She recalls:
Because of this [complaint], they started beating me with sticks on my head and back, and also kicking me. I don't know how many they were, because I was blindfolded. They ordered me to shout pro-Moroccan slogans like "Long Live the King," and to say that I was Moroccan. I told them that I respect their King and the Moroccan people, but am not Moroccan. There were others being beaten in the same room and being forced to say the same things.
Leili was then subjected to a long interrogation about her activist work, her trips to Algeria and Spain, and the work of her association and its membership. Following the interrogation, she was made to sit in the corridor of the police station, and was regularly kicked and beaten by police officers who walked by. She told Human Rights Watch: "They put me in the corridor and everyone who walked by would beat me. They would ask, ‘What is she doing here?' and one would respond, ‘She says she is not Moroccan,' and then they would kick or beat me.
Attacks on Sahrawi Homes
Human Rights Watch visited the Haï Essalam and Colomina Nueva neighborhoods, where numerous homes of Sahrawis were attacked on November 8 and 9 by groups that included security force members and people in street clothes, some of whom appeared to be Moroccan civilians, the inhabitants reported. The people interviewed described how assailants beat residents inside their homes and damaged property. Authorities have reportedly taken steps to compensate homeowners for damage, but have not, as far as Human Rights Watch has been able to determine, announced any arrests or charges against Moroccan civilians implicated in the violence.
A 30-year-old resident of the Columina Nueva neighborhood described how a group of Moroccan civilians gathered in front of his home, near Moulay Ismaïl Street, at about 3 p.m. on November 8. The Moroccans were accompanied by plain clothes police, identifiable by the protective gear they were wearing, and uniformed policemen armed with tear gas and handguns. The civilians broke into his home and hit him on the head with a machete, leaving him unconscious and with a deep gash. His brother watched as the civilians ransacked his home, stealing televisions, kitchen equipment, and many more valuable items, and destroying windows and furniture.
About a dozen Sahrawi homes on or near Moulay Ismaïl Street were invaded and damaged. Two blocks away, a group of about 40 soldiers and police officers invaded the home of two older women at 10:30 a.m. on November 8. The women said that the invaders fired anti-riot shotgun shells with plastic pellets into the home, told the family to leave, and stole a computer and jewelry.
In one such attack in Colomina Nueva, a group of Moroccan civilians and police entered a Sahrawi home at 1:30 p.m. on November 8, where the police found a group of seven unarmed Sahrawi men hiding in a small room on the roof. Four of the men, whom Human Rights Watch interviewed on November 16, said the police attacked them, shooting one in the lower left leg with live ammunition from a small-caliber pistol, firing anti-riot shotgun cartridges with plastic pellets at the group causing superficial wounds, and beating them severely with a heavy butane gas canister and sticks. One of the men, a 28-year-old who eight days later said he was still unable to move his right arm because of the severity of the beatings, recounted the attack:
The police broke into the house and came in armed, and then broke down the door to the room we were hiding in. One policeman beat me with a butane gas canister, raising it over his head and throwing it at me, first on my arm and then on my foot. He was cursing us and saying "You are all Polisario." Then they beat us with sticks, and they fired their guns at us. They forced us to face the wall and continued to beat us. We were seven [civilians], and there were nine or so police.
The police rounded up the men and led them downstairs. Along the way, some of the Moroccan civilians who had entered the house beat them, they later told Human Rights Watch. They were put in a car and taken to the regional police headquarters (Préfecture de la Sûreté Nationale), where they were held for two days, then released without charge.
When Human Rights Watch visited the rooftop room on November 16, the floor and walls were stained by blood. The men showed the researchers pistol and plastic pellet riot control shotgun cartridges that, the men said, lay on the ground on the roof after the police had assaulted them.
Residents of some streets where houses were damaged on November 8 and 9 said that later in the week, interior ministry officials came through and arranged to provide some financial compensation. Governor Mohamed Jelmous also told Human Rights Watch that property owners were being compensated.
The police impeded access to the main civilian hospital in El-Ayoun for much of November 8, in some cases assaulting Sahrawi civilians who sought treatment for injuries, according to more than one witness we interviewed. A hospital worker told Human Rights Watch that he observed one attack in which police broke the windows of a taxi that drove up to the hospital carrying three wounded Sahrawis, and beat both the wounded men and the taxi driver, before letting the taxi driver go and detaining the three passengers. Several Sahrawis who had been beaten said they did not go to the hospital for treatment, saying they feared the police there.
Police Assault Human Rights Researcher on Street
Police beat Human Rights Watch's El-Ayoun-based research assistant Brahim Alansari on an El-Ayoun street, when he was in the company of John Thorne, the Rabat-based correspondent for The National, the Abu Dhabi English-language daily. On November 8 at about 9 a.m., at a time when protesters were throwing stones and security forces were massing in the streets, police stopped the two men on a side street behind the Negjir Hotel in downtown El-Ayoun and demanded to know what they were doing there. After Alansari and Thorne gave their names and professions, the police separated the two men. Alansari described what happened next:
Policemen surrounded me and started to kick me and beat me with their sticks and slap me. They asked me my nationality. When I refused to answer, they seemed angered and started to beat me again. Then a higher-ranking officer arrived and ordered me to reply. I said that I cannot talk while being beaten. He did not order the others to stop hitting me....
One of the police escorted me to where John [Thorne] was seated in a chair. The policeman forced me to sit on the ground next to John, saying that I am a dog and that was my place. After about ten or twenty minutes some policemen approached and told Mr. Thorne to return to his hotel and not to do any work. Then the man in plainclothes asked me not to accompany Mr. Thorne or to take him anywhere and that I should instead go home and stay out of trouble. They returned my phone and ID and gave John his passport, and we both left.
Thorne told Human Rights Watch that he could see the beating from where he was forced to sit, about 15 feet away:
Around a dozen police - some in green jumpsuits, others in blue riot gear - surrounded Brahim and began beating him. I could not see how many policemen struck Brahim, but I could see that he was struck with hands and batons at least twenty times during a few minutes. Then the police made Brahim sit next to me.
Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Moroccan authorities on November 23, detailing this incident and requesting that it be investigated. On November 24 the ministry of interior replied that it had opened an administrative investigation and that the ministry of justice had asked the office of the prosecutor in El-Ayoun to conduct a judicial investigation. Human Rights Watch intends to report on the outcome of these inquiries.
The present conflict over Western Sahara dates to 1975, when Spain, the former colonial power, withdrew and Morocco moved in and seized control over the sparsely-populated desert territory. Morocco has since claimed sovereignty and administered Western Sahara as if it were part of Morocco, even though the UN does not recognize that sovereignty and classifies Western Sahara as a "non-self-governing territory." The Polisario Front, the Western Saharan independence movement, fought a war against Morocco until 1991, when the UN brokered a ceasefire alongside an agreement to organize a referendum on self-determination for Western Sahara's population.
The referendum has not taken place because of the objections of Morocco, which rejects independence as an option and proposes instead to grant Western Sahara a measure of autonomy under Moroccan rule. The Polisario continues to insist on a referendum that includes independence as one option. Negotiations to bridge this gap have so far been fruitless. Meanwhile, large numbers of Moroccans have migrated south and settled in Western Sahara, where they now outnumber the Sahrawis who are indigenous to the region.
Under Moroccan rule, advocacy of independence is considered an "attack on territorial integrity," punishable by law. While not all pro-independence activities in Western Sahara are nonviolent - in some cases, youths threw stones and gas bombs during the recent clashes and damaged property - even nonviolent protests are systematically shut down by the security forces, and nonviolent activists are subjected to unfair trials and imprisonment.
The Moroccan government kidnaps (*) to 4 MPs and a Spanish journalist in Casablanca.
20:20 h. Four Spanish international observers were kidnapped at the moment at the airport in Casablanca.
The Spanish hostages are: Nerea Atiac and Mikel Basabe (PNV Basque parliament and Aral), Nerkane Pérez (parliamentary ARALAR Navarra), Iritzar Iturbe (journalist) and Olaya Sanpedro.
All of them have been seized their passports so their situation is unable to abduction leaving the airport.
02:30 November 7, 2010. After more than 6 hours of the abduction, there is no notice or statement or announcement of the Spanish Foreign Ministry, it is assumed that the Spanish government accept, abide, tolerate, and pleased with the abduction of Spanish citizens.
Child killing shows need for plunder of African colony to stop
“The extremely tense situation in occupied Western Sahara illustrates the need for the UN to work for the protection of the people and the natural wealth of the territory”, stated Western Sahara Resource Watch in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and all members of the Security Council today. Read the letter here.
The Honourable Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary-General
760 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
November 4, 2010
Saharawi in the occupied territory of Western Sahara recently rejected Morocco’s 35-year occupation en masse, moving from cities including El-Aaiún, Smara and Dakhla into nearby encampments. The Saharawi have done so because of dismal social and economic prospects in which they are increasingly disadvantaged and marginalized in their own land. While the Moroccan military tries to seal off the camps, the humanitarian situation of the Saharawi protesters grows ever more troubling. Several violent interventions by the Moroccan security forces have been reported, among which the fatal checkpoint shooting of the 14-year old Saharawi Nayem Elgarhi outside the camp near El-Aaiún. Morocco has denied foreign observers and the international media access to these camps.
The extremely tense situation in occupied Western Sahara illustrates the need for the UN to work for the protection of both the people and the natural wealth of territory. Therefore, Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW), an international NGO - with member organisations in over 35 countries - with the aim of safeguarding Western Sahara’s natural resources for the Saharawi people, would like to repeat its call for the establishment of a mechanism to place the proceeds from the exploitation of Western Sahara’s natural resources under international administration until the conflict has been resolved, and for the inclusion of a human rights component into the MINURSO mandate.
Thousands of Saharawi collectively choose to live as exiles in protest camps, to denounce the discrepancy between their socio-economic marginalisation and the wealth of natural resources harboured by their homeland. Meanwhile Morocco continues to illegally exploit those resources, in contravention of a raft of UN General Assembly resolutions including resolutions 62/113, 62/120, 63/102, 63/111, 64/98 and 64/99, amongst others, as well as its international obligations pursuant to Article 1 of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. As established with great clarity by the UN Legal Counsel in 2002:
‘…if further exploration and exploitation activities were to proceed in disregard of the wishes and interests of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the principles of international law applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories.’
All evidence shows that the Saharawi people have not been consulted in relation to the exploitation of Western Sahara’s resources by the Moroccan authorities and complicit foreign interests, and that they do not reap any benefit from the economic undertakings in the territory. The protest camps visibly demonstrate that the two legal prerequisites for economic activities in a Non-Self Governing Territory have not been met: namely consideration of the wishes and interests of the people of that territory. On behalf of the Saharawi people, the Frente POLISARIO has protested these illegal activities in numerous letters to both the Security Council and to your Excellency. It is clear that Morocco’s continuing and illegal exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara continues to undermine confidence between the parties and as such is a key obstacle to the resolution of this long-standing dispute.
Western Sahara Resource Watch urges the establishment of a mechanism to place the proceeds from the exploitation of the territory’s natural resources under international administration until the status of the territory has been resolved.
Furthermore, the current situation once again underlines the need for the MINURSO mandate to be adapted to include a human rights monitoring capacity, with a direct reporting line to the UN Security Council. The UN has an obligation to protect the Saharawi population while they wait for the organisation of a just and equitable self-determination referendum, in conformity with the resolutions of the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council and of the African Union. MINURSO is the only UN mission established since 1978 without a mandate to monitor human rights. The tragic death of a 14-year old Saharawi boy renders this unjustifiable.
Western Sahara Resource Watch
According to the first statement issued by dialogue committee and the media committee in agdim izik camp for the displaced Sahrawi, And after a series of negotiations with the governors from the central administration of the Moroccan Ministry of Interior in order to reach a just solution to the demands of the displaced Sahrawi protesters; the dialogue committee release the second statement To inform public opinion on the latest developments and to clarify its view on the outcome of what’s happening.
After a series of meetings that brought us together as a committee for dialogue who represent the displaced Sahrawi in agdim izik camp, with the governors from the Ministry of the Interior, It was agreed to conduct a census of the populations of the camp on the basis of Initial Approval to meet the demands of the displaced Sahrawi.
During the absorption of the internal committees of the camp in the census implementation Pursuant to the agreement; we were surprised by Moroccan media without any prior coordination with us, or even notify us the launching of the distribution of Plots of lands and Welfare card for widows and some people whom not involved in displaced Sahrawi camp. In the presence of the Moroccan authorities and (Senate and elected) and media coverage in the new play; and the goal is the marketing lies and fabrication of partial solutions devoid of legitimacy and credibility.
The Dialogue Committee, the representative of the displaced Sahrawi camp in agdim izik strongly condemns Blatant breach of the agreement and unilateral action to Impose a fait accompli and try to exclude the reality of the camp in the absence of dialogue committee from any role in solving the problem, then we declare to the public opinion as follows:
- We refuse this irresponsible action by the Moroccan State, and we consider the consecration of unilateral policies contrary to all submitted logos such as the involvement of local populations in managing their affairs; then we hold the Moroccan state responsibility for the consequences of what they did.
- Our innocence from any solutions designed to mock the media, and promote the lies without reaching any radical solution to the problem.
- Fully aware of the desperate attempts of the Moroccan State using the tribes In order to partition components of the camp and hit the cohesion and unity; and our response to these attempts and thwarted
- We demand the Moroccan state to break the siege imposed for security and the media in agdim izik camp.
- We assure (We displaced Sahrawi in agdim izik) on our steadfastness and our willingness to fight all forms of struggle until we Achieve our legitimate demands, and have our rights to live in dignity on our land.
Signed: Dialogue Committee
Coordinating the displaced Sahrawi
Agdaim izik camp
CALL FOR TRIAL: Activists against Saharawi Human Rights Defenders
WESTERN SAHARA Address NOTE: Inés Miranda Navarro
Signaling: November 5, 2010 (Friday)
CRIMINAL COURT OF CASABLANCA (Morocco)
15/10/2010 The last day we proceeded to the suspension of the first point of the trial of the "Group of 7".
Cause for suspension:
- By the Procurator was not agreed and ordered the transfer of three of the defendants, D. Brahim Dahan, D. Tamek, and D. Tamek, who are deprived of liberty in the prison of Salé (Rabat) Morocco Criminal Court of Casablanca.
Just as the beginning of the act of the trial there was a violent demonstration by a group of more than thirty lawyers from the Legal Moroccan international observers, the defendants present, and the Sahrawi public in general, prevented the development of slightest action in the Trial REFUSING THE RIGHT OF DEFENCE OF RECOGNISED to lawyers who sought to develop it.
D. Mohamed Lahbib Erguibi, D. Mohamed Fadel Laili, D. Mohamed Boujal, D. Bazid Lahmad, D. Abdalla Chalouk, D. Nour Eddine Dalil, D. Rachid Kenzi
BRAHIM DAHANE, President of the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations-ASVDH-
ALI SALEM TAMEK, Secretary General of the Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights-CODESA-
RACHID SGNAÏR, Member of the Committee Against Torture in Dakhla.
AHMED ENNASSIRI, Secretary General of the Saharawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Smara and President of the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH), section Smara.
YEHDID TERRUZI, member of the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH), section Laayoune.
SALEH LEBOIHI, Chairman of the Forum for the Protection of Children Saharawi, a member of CODESA and AMDH.
DEGCHA LECHGAR, leader of the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations-ASVDH-
"Violating the security of the Moroccan state and its territorial integrity ..."
We recall the procedural status of the Accused:
1. D. Brahim Dahane, D. Ali Salem Tamek, y D. Ahmed Ennassiri are detained in the prison of Salé (Rabat) from October 12, 2009, which were conducted after his arrest inside the plane at the airport in Casablanca on 08 October 2009, while returning from visit the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf. From the moment of arrest until 12 / 10 / 2009 was not known of his whereabouts or the conditions of his detention.
2. The Moroccan government, through its Minister of Communication and Government Spokesperson, Khalid Naciri, said Ms Degja Lechgar, D. Yahdid Terrouzi, D. Saleh Sghair Lebeihi and Rachid, D. Ali Salem Tamek, D. Ennassiri Ahmed and D. Brahim Dahane, who has been called the Group of 7, had been attacking the territorial integrity of Morocco, the Moroccan security, and subjected to military jurisdiction.
3. In the month of February 2010 was placed on probation, Ms. Degja Lechga, the only woman member of the Group of 7, and May 18, 2010, were also released on bail three of the detainees in the same Group D. Yahdid Terrouzi, D. Rashid Saleh Sghair Lebeihi and remain in prison until today D. Ali Salem Tamek, D. Ennassiri Ahmed and D. Brahim Dahane.
4. On September 23, 2010, the Moroccan military court declared itself incompetent to hear the case, inhibiting for ordinary criminal courts in Casablanca. Inhibition occurs precisely when there were 7 days for completion of the period of custody for military jurisdiction, and the necessary signaling and conclusion of trial, if necessary.
5. By the Criminal Court and the Crown Prosecutor of Casablanca, to be the admission of the inhibition from the Military Court in Rabat, not ordered the transfer of Three Inmates to Prison in Casablanca, or led them in person before such courts to notify the new situation in which they were, nor the other defendants in that procedure.
The Court of Casablanca, has not reported to D. Ali Salem Tamek, D. Mr Ahmed Ennassiri Brahim Dahane, to Ms. Degja Lechga, D. Yahdid Terrouzi, D. Saleh Lebeihi, or Sghair Rachid, the procediemitno proceedings against them is now being heard within its jurisdiction, nor to the first three, who remain in detention, they have been notified that such measures have been taken with respect to your personal situation.
6. The marking of Judgement for the day 15/10/2010 was issued by the Court two weeks earlier, without any personal notification to any of the accused. The defense lawyers, are interested in report on the status of the three defendants who remained in prison, and considering that they were in the prison of Salé (Rabat) requested that the resolutions necessary to ensure their presence in Oral Judgement on 15/10/2010, matter is the responsibility of the Attorney of the King and Court.
7. On October 14, 2010 afternoon, the day before the date fixed for trial, was referred by the Crown Prosecutor of Casablanca to Casablanca prison a request that the three prisoners, D. Ali Salem Tamek, D. Ennassiri Ahmed and D. Brahim Dahane, were transferred to trial the next day received a reply in which the Bureau of Prison said that people whose removal is sought are not in that prison for what is not made any movement.
8. The trial was suspended for failure by the three defendants who are in prison, as stated by the Defence Counsel the President of the Court, noting a new date for the meeting on Friday 05/11/2010, without specifying when.
9. The Seven Charged Defense was unable to intervene in the act of Judgement by the chaos created by a group of Moroccan lawyers and that at no time was subject to call to order by the President of the Court, thus severing Defense Law.
As always it is important the presence of Jurists International Observers to new trials, so to all of you the / os who can attend are requested to contact:
INES MIRANDA Best Regards,
November 2, 2010 | CEDESPAZ
Statement of WPC in solidarity with WFDY and the Saharawi People
The WPC condemns the deportation of the President of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), Tiago Vieira by the Moroccan authorities after detaining him for 12 hours at the airport of Casablanca on 30th October.
The action to deprive the President of WFDY from entering Morocco and reaching the occupied territories Western Sahara in Laayoune, is clearly politically motivated and related to the principle positions of WFDY in solidarity with the Saharawi people.
It constitutes an act of political aggression and lack of respect to an International anti-imperialist Organization which is preparing this period the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students in December in South Africa.
We denounce the attitude and actions of the Moroccan authorities and the ongoing occupation of Western Sahara, the only occupied African country today. We furthermore condemn the double moral positions of the USA and the EU, which are clearly favouring the occupation for their own geo-strategical imperialist interests.
The WPC expresses its solidarity with the people of Western Sahara for its right to determine freely and democratically its future. We call for an end of the occupation and condemn the authoritarian methods of the Moroccan authorities which are aiming in the intimidation of the International movement for solidarity with the people of Western Sahara as well as against the anti-imperialist forces inside Morocco.
Amnesty: "Morocco must investigate killing of 14-year old Sahrawi at protest site"
Amnesty International is calling on the Moroccan authorities to immediately investigate the fatal checkpoint shooting of a 14-year old boy outside a camp set up by Sahrawi protestors” said A I in a statement distributed to the participants of 36th conference of EUCOCO.
“According to his relatives, Al-Nagem Al-Qarhi was shot dead on 24 October by Moroccan military officers, while in a car bringing supplies to a camp set up by Sahrawi protesters” said the statement.
“The disturbing details of this killing that must be investigated immediately and transparently”, said Amnesty International. “Morocco needs to show that it has not violated UN standards on the use of firearms, or used excessive force as it chokes off access, supplies and communications to the Sahrawi protest camp.”
Al-Nagem died almost immediately after being shot in the kidney at close range by Moroccan military forces as he sat in a car with six others at a checkpoint, the victim’s sister Sayida has told Amnesty International.
“The other passengers in the car with Al-Nagem were also injured in the shooting, and then beaten by Moroccan police, according to Sayida’s testimony.” Said A I .
“According to his family, Al-Nagem was buried the next evening by the Moroccan authorities, who have refused to allow his mother and siblings to see the body or tell them the location of the burial site.” It added.
Amnesty International finally “has called for the respect of Sahrawi protesters’ right to freedom of assembly and warned that no excessive force should be used to disperse protestors.” The statement concluded.
UK MPs condemn Teenager’s death as Moroccan forces open fire on Saharawi protestors
British MPs have today condemned last night’s shooting in which a 14 year old Saharawi boy was killed and several others injured by the Moroccan Security Forces surrounding the Gdeim Izik protest camp in Moroccan occupied Western Sahara.
Over 10,000 Saharawi (Western Saharan) protesters moved out of cities across Western Sahara in a mass exodus on the 9th October and are living in an impromptu tented city outside El Aauin the capital of Western Sahara.
Numbers in the camp are growing daily as Saharawi protestors come together to highlight the ongoing discrimination and abuse that they experience as a result of the 35 year Moroccan occupation.
The Moroccan Security Forces have surrounded the camp in an attempt to prevent people from entering as well as stopping supplies of food, water and medicine reaching the camp. Several organisations including the Western Sahara Campaign have warned that this could become a major humanitarian crisis.
The boy named as Garhi Nayem was part of a group attempting to enter the camp in a vehicle when it was shot at by Moroccan Security Forces. The injured, which include his brother have been taken to the military hospital in El Aauin.
Today a delegation of MPs and Peers will raise concerns over the situation in Western Sahara with Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt MP.
One of the group Jonathan Evans MP said this morning:
This death is a tragedy, but there are fears this is just the beginning. The UK government can help by urgently raising the issue with the Moroccan authorities to ensure the safety of those who peacefully protest the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara.
Jeremy Corbyn MP Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Western Sahara said:
This is a tragedy and a disgrace and at a meeting I have later today with the Foreign Office Minister I’ll be asking that the UK government make the strongest possible reps to the Moroccans not only to allow safe passage but also, to end the political stalemate by allowing the people of the Western Sahara the free choice to decide the future of their own land.
Mark Williams MP said:
I will be raising this issue with the Minister. We cannot continue to ignore the brutality of the Moroccan authorities against those who peacefully demonstrate for their right to independence. The first step is for the Security Council to implement human rights monitoring in Western Sahara
The protest camp was timed to coincide with the visit of UN Envoy Christopher Ross who is currently touring the region. Last week he called the current impasse over Western Sahara ‘untenable’. He arrived in Morocco on Friday as part of the preparation for the direct negotiations between the parties in November.
The POLISARIO, the representatives of the people of Western Sahara have been warning the UN that action must be taken to prevent violence by the Moroccan Security forces against the protestors.
Western Sahara: US Congressman demands inquiry on Najem El-Garhi killing
WASHINGTON – US Congressman Donald M. Payne demanded Thursday an inquiry about the assassination of young Sahrawi Najem El-Garhi, 14, by urging MINURSO to watch human rights situation in Western Sahara.
"I demand an urgent and exhaustive inquiry be conducted on the Najem Garhi. I also invite the UN Mission for the referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to watch human rights situation in Western Sahara and report these acts to UN Security Council,'' the congressman said in a release.
''Morocco needs to know that the international community will not tolerate the killings and the repression of peaceful demonstrators. The people of Western Sahara deserve freedom, peace and self-determination,'' said Payne, who is chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health to the House of Representatives.
"I am deeply saddened by the death of Garhi Najem, a young Sahrawi youth who sought nothing more than to join other Saharawis in a peaceful demonstration calling for better living conditions for himself and the people of Western Sahara ,''laments the congressman from New Jersey.