Sunday, August 19, 2007
latter from the Saharawi president Mr Mohamed Abdelaziz to Mr Ban ki-moon UN GS
Secretary-General of the United Nations
Bir Lehlou, 19 August 2007
Since its invasion of Western Sahara, which took place on 31 October 1975, the Moroccan Government has persistently violated the dictates of international legality. Indicative of this conduct is its illegal colonial presence in the Territory and the concomitant abuses of human rights of Saharawi civilians including assassination and other despicable practices such as burning and burying people alive in mass graves, deportation, massive settlement of Moroccans, and systematic plundering of the natural resources of our country. Of late the Moroccan Government has also reneged on its international commitments and turned its back on all the agreements it had concluded, under the aegis of the United Nations, with the Saharawi side.
I would like to address to you this letter to draw your attention to serious and repeated provocative practices that are utterly incompatible with the Security Council resolution 1754 that called for good faith in the direct negotiations to be held between the two parties with a view to reaching a solution that will provide for the self-determination of the Saharawi people.
In the Saharawi territories under Moroccan occupation the Moroccan authorities are exerting all forms of pressure on Saharawis to compel them to vote in elections that concern another country that is not theirs, namely the Moroccan Kingdom, whilst depriving them from the right to vote for exercising their inalienable right to self-determination.
The persistence of the Moroccan Government in these practices is yet another move towards escalation and a gross violation of international law, in view of the fact that it does not have sovereignty over Western Sahara and therefore it cannot treat the population of the Territory, which it has invaded by force, as it would treat the population of any other region situated within its internationally recognised borders.
At the same time as the Moroccan occupying authorities intensify their repression and tighten their security siege and information blackout on the Territory, their holding of elections in the occupied Western Sahara is yet another blatant defiance of the dictates of international legality, and an attempt to impose the Moroccan colonial fait accompli in a territory supervised by the United Nations.
The responsibility of the United Nations lies in ensuring the exercise of the right to self-determination and decolonising Western Sahara. For that reason, the United Nations cannot remain idle in the face of an act that is openly contemptuous of its own responsibility and scornful of its mission, MINURSO, which is present in the Territory for the sole purpose of organising the only valid vote called for by the international community, namely the self-determination referendum.
In this context, we would like to call on you, Mr Secretary-General as the head of the highest international body, to intervene to put an end to this violation of international law and international humanitarian law, and to put pressure on the Moroccan Government to refrain from this provocative course of action by confining its elections to its internationally recognised borders, and ceasing its attempts to involve the Saharawis in polls that do not concern them.
We would also like to call on the United Nations, as the responsible for the Territory, to fully assume its responsibility in putting an end to the brutal repression exerted by the Moroccan occupying authorities against Saharawi civilians, and allowing access to the Territory by independent observers and media; it is also called on to ensure the release of the 66 Saharawi prisoners of conscience who are still held in prison as part of hundreds that had been detained following the peaceful demonstrations that started on 21 May 2005 to demand the respect for the right to self-determination.
We also demand the accounting for the fate of more than 500 Saharawi disappeared and 151 prisoners of war who are still held by the Moroccan Government, and the release of the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights of September 2006 and that its recommendations be acted upon, as well as the broadening of the mandate of MINURSO to include the monitoring of human rights in Western Sahara and reporting on the situation.
Please accept, Mr Secretary-General, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Secretary-General of the Frente POLISARIO