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News Archive 2009
News Archive 2008



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The arms sellers countries extend the conflict in Western Sahara
Guin Guin Bali - The Security Council of the United Nations has decided to extend its mandate in Western Sahara. Without the obligation of safeguarding Human Rights. Several permanent seats of the Security Council are in the hands of the main armaments sellers to Algeria and Morocco, engaged in an arms race allowed by the international community. Not being able to propose a solution to the conflict means extending the success of the arms market.
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Guin Guin Bali
By Txema Santana
1 May 2010


The debate about Western Sahara has been present all the week in New York. Officially, it was two days in the agenda of the Security Council, but unofficially, it was at least during a week the commonplace subject in the lobbies of the United Nations and also in the external offices owned by the special interest groups of Frente Polisario and Morocco. In the United States, as in Brussels, the lobbys aren't an open secret. They are a reality considered even decisive.

If we focus in what is official, from last Thursday on each of the countries involved and those who have a seat in the Security Council started to show their opinion about Western Sahara, a geostrategic and important zone located in the north of Africa and the spark that starts the low intensity conflict between Morocco/France and Frente Polisario/Algeria. A conflict in which the USA, France, Russia, India, Spain, and the United Kingdom find a benefit by selling weapons to the contenders. Four of them have a permanent seat in the Security Council of the United Nations.

In the midst of all this conflcit there are about 500,000 people and there is Frente Polisario, which also imports weapons, but at a lower rate than Algeria and Morocco, which are the ones that really make this conflict interesting for the world arms market.

Human Rights is the least considered issue in this decision and the proofs have been left exposed and registered in the minutes of the Security Council. Otherwise How could we explain that a nation with a tradition of defense of the Human Rights like France does lead the defense of Morocco in order to avoid that the UN mission in Western Sahara defend this rights? What are the minimums, the fundamentals, the ones that should be defended not just in Western Sahara but also all over the world.

China rebuked the French representative in the Security Council, Gérard Araud. They had a strong argument in which Zhang Yesui, the Chinese representative, adopted the role of world power and was able to face Araud glad that France, with "a great tradition of criticizing China for Human Rights issues is showing now its interests". He remembered the stance of France in the "internal" conflict that China had with Myanmar, ex Birmania. The European Union, leaded by France, imposed economic sanctions to the military regime that got to power in that country and was officially supported by China. Those were past times. Yesterday China welcomed France to its club. The club of not introducing Human Rights in the Security Council and in internal "political" problems. One may think that the EU is only brave to denounce and impose sanctions when the offenses are located far away from its borders. Morocco is its stopper of African inmigrants, among many other economic factors.

The news is that the MINURSO will stay for another year in Western Sahaea with the mission of preparing the population for a referendum, with a budget of 55 million dollars. Prepare the population means, in the language of the United Nations, elaborate an official census of those which will have to vote if they want the independance or not. Since the mandate of the organization began till now things have change a lot. Morocco has an evident control over the territory, undeniable and recognized almost without formalities by international community. The SADR, on the other hand, is more and more diluted. Several international powers, like India, Germany, Norway, France, Australia, and some more, explore and extract natural ressources in Western Sahara. From time to time, like recently, there is a certain controversy due to the fact that some of these illegal practices are carried out in an occupied territory. Norway, for example, did recently retires a fleet of fishing boats from the zone. In order to extract natural ressources from there one must pay Morocco, which has no sovereingty, but acts as if it had. There are more and more critics about these practices, but are less and less heard.

The representative from Austria in the Security Council, Thomas Mayr-Harting, asked this Friday during the session why was it allowed to India to continue extracting natural resources from Western Sahara. No one reacted. India extracts phosphates with total impunity.

But natural ressources of Western Sahara can be left aside, because although beign a territory rich in raw materials, the ressources it is offering to the world are economic.The conflict that is keeping its population besieged, keeping dozens of thousands of people in refugee camps, is helping countries that sell weapons to make business thanks to two countries that have a good economic situation, Algeria and Morocco, bordering with the zone in conflict and in an allowed arms race.

News:

15.02 - 2016 / 15.02 - 2016Hunger striking to demand education
13.02 - 2014 / 13.02 - 2014Saharawi journalists jailed for covering protests and plunder
14.11 - 2013 / 14.11 - 2013Morocco hinders Saharawi activist's vital surgery
19.09 - 2013 / 19.09 - 2013Mass Grave Revealed in Western Sahara
31.05 - 2013 / 31.05 - 2013Dutch vessel transporting resources from occupied Western Sahara
10.03 - 2011 / 10.03 - 2011Parties Conclude Another Round of Talks
25.02 - 2011 / 25.02 - 2011Hungering for justice: Saharawi political prisoners on hunger strike
11.02 - 2011 / 11.02 - 2011Take Action for Human Rights Monitoring in Western Sahara
11.02 - 2011 / 11.02 - 2011Germany indicts alleged Moroccan spy
19.12 - 2010 / 19.12 - 2010So much for human rights
27.05 - 2010 / 27.05 - 2010Amnesty International's annual report: Morocco / Western Sahara
18.05 - 2010 / 18.05 - 2010Moroccan court bails three Western Sahara activists
17.05 - 2010 / 17.05 - 2010Guinness World Records challenged over Moroccan flag stunt
08.05 - 2010 / 08.05 - 2010Beware the Warnings of al Qaeda
06.05 - 2010 / 06.05 - 2010The arms sellers countries extend the conflict in Western Sahara
05.05 - 2010 / 05.05 - 2010Fate abducted Saharawi citizen still unknown
29.04 - 2010 / 29.04 - 2010Second Tier Titans clash on Human Rights in Western Sahara
28.04 - 2010 / 28.04 - 2010France opposing Security Council on Human Rights
27.04 - 2010 / 27.04 - 2010Spain in favour of human rights monitoring in Western Sahara?
22.04 - 2010 / 22.04 - 2010European Parliamentarians demand release WS political prisoners






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Africa's last colony Since 1975, three quarters of the Western Sahara territory has been illegally occupied by Morocco. The original population lives divided between those suffering human rights abuses under the Moroccan occupation and those living in exile in Algerian refugee camps. For more than 40 years, the Saharawi await the fulfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.
Trailer: Western Sahara, Africa's last colony

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Have a look at this teaser for the upcoming documentary "Western Sahara, Africa's last colony". Coming soon.
Book: International Law and the Question of Western Sahara

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To our knowledge the first collective book on the legal aspects of the Western Sahara conflict. Available in English and French. Order it here.