UN Security Council renews mandate of Western Sahara Mission for one year

PUSL.- The Security Council vote that took place today adopted resolution 2494 renewing the mandate of MINURSO (Referendum Mission in Western Sahara).

Both Russia and South Africa abstained. Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and is the second time to abstain from adopting a referent resolution of Western Sahara.

France another permanent member and traditional defender of Morocco’s position has been pushing for MINURSO’s mandate to be extended a year instead of the 6 months of the last vote in April this year.

The status quo remains, and MINURSO’s mandate will not include any mechanism to protect the Saharawi population under Moroccan occupation and victim of extreme human rights violations.

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RENEWAL OF MINURSO’S MANDATE: Western Sahara on Security Council Agenda

lecourrier-dalgerie.com.- In October, members of the Security Council, chaired by South Africa, should renew the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) before it expires on October 31st.

Before that, they will meet in consultations to consider the report of the Secretary-General on MINURSO. Colin Stewart, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and Head of MINURSO, is expected to make a presentation on the report of the Secretary-General to MINURSO. As a reminder, on April 30, 2019, the Council adopted resolution 2468 renewing the mandate of MINURSO for six months. After the two round tables in which Morocco and the Polisario Front took part, the resignation of the special envoy the former German head of state Horst Köhler, blocked the dynamics of negotiations that he had initiated. As a reminder, a third round table was to follow, but Köhler resigned from his post abruptly on May 22 for “health reasons”. Since then, a search for a substitute is in progress and no announcement has yet been made, because of the prevarications of Morocco who claims, according to his propaganda organs, to reject a special US envoy. The mandate of the personal envoy is based on the ability to build trust between the parties. It must also have the support of the Security Council. Meanwhile, the situation on the ground remains tense.

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76 organizations denounce and condemn Moroccan occupation and genocide of the Saharawi people in letter to the Security Council

To the honorable members of the Security Council of the United Nations

Since July 19, 2019, the occupied city of El Aaiun, in Western Sahara, has been besieged and the Saharawi population is under a brutal attack by Moroccan forces. This escalation of the situation on the ground is due to the silence of the international community and, in particular, to the absence of a mandate that includes a mechanism for the protection of the civilian population in MINURSO.

Even children have been brutally beaten and were victims of arbitrary detention. No one is safe. Moroccan occupation forces used sticks, tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and stones. Hundreds of members of the Moroccan security forces, including police, gendarmes and paramilitary forces, participated in the violent attacks that have claimed hundreds of victims. Night and day attacks and raids on the homes of the Saharawis with the destruction of their belongings and arbitrary arrests continue. Injured people cannot go to the hospital for fear of being arrested immediately. On July 20, the 24-year-old Saharawi, Sabah Othman Ahmeida, was hit by a vehicle from the Moroccan authorities and as a result of which she suffered injuries that caused her death.

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Western Sahara: Security Council renews MINURSO mandate for 6 months

PUSL.- At today’s meeting of the Security Council (SC) on Western Sahara, the extension of the mandate of MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) was adopted with 13 votes in favour and two abstentions (Russian Federation and South Africa) for six months.

All members of the SC support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General’s personal envoy, Mr. Horst Koehler, and the performance of MINURSO and Colin Stewart.

The approved text was written by the United States, which was disappointed with the two abstentions and emphasized the need to accelerate the process to reach a mutually acceptable and realistic solution that results in the self-determination of the Saharawi people.

France, Morocco’s historical ally said that a realistic political process is needed and that Morocco’s proposed autonomy plan is a credible solution. They voted in favour, but they prefer a one-year rather than six-month mandate, arguing that they are more stable mandates. Read more

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UN SG report: Human rights violations in Western Sahara and Torture and ill-treatment of Sahrawi prisoners in Morocco

PUSL/TORNADO.- Human rights violations in the occupied territories and the situation of the Gdeim Izik prisoners are highlighted in an advance copy of the Report of the UN Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara for the information of the members of the Security Council this April.

The Secretary General notes that Gaps in reporting on the situation of human rights in Western Sahara persist owing to the lack of access of OHCHR to the territory. In its resolution 2440 (2018), the Security Council encouraged enhanced cooperation with OHCHR, including through facilitating visits to the region.

In reference to the Gdeim Izik Political Prisoners the SG informs that Torture and ill-treatment of Sahrawi prisoners in Morocco continued to be reported. OHCHR (UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) received several communications from lawyers and/or family members of the Gdeim Izik group of prisoners alleging that several members of the group were subjected to torture, prolonged solitary confinement, medical neglect, denial of family visits and access to independent monitoring mechanisms. The SG also mentions the hunger strikes of the Gdeim Izik prisoners some with a duration of over 30 days which resulted in some of these prisoners consequently developing critical health conditions. Read more

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POLISARIO reiterates its support for the UN political process

EW YORK, January 30, 2019 (SPS) -. Frente POLISARIO reiterated on Tuesday, in a statement after the appearance of Köhler before the Security Council to report on the situation in Western Sahara, its support for the UN political process and the defense of the inalienable right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence.

For the Frente POLISARIO, the first round of peace talks on Western Sahara demonstrated that the status quo is not sustainable and is an obstacle to peace. In this regard, it hopes that with the current efforts of the Personal Envoy and the effective support of the Security Council, a just, peaceful and lasting solution will be found that will lead to a real process of self-determination in Western Sahara.

In that context, the representative of the POLISARIO before the United Nations, Dr. Sidi Mohamed Omar, underlined that the “Security Council must take advantage of the current momentum by taking concrete measures to guarantee the inalienable right of our people to self-determination, as they demand the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly. ” Read more

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Morocco denies existence of Saharawi political prisoners

PUSL.- Last Tuesday, January 29, 2019, the United Nations Security Council held private consultations on the question of Western Sahara during which members received information on the latest developments and heard the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Horst Kohler.

Following the meeting Hilale, Morocco’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York, denied the existence of Saharawi political prisoners and reaffirmed that for Morocco there is no other acceptable solution than the autonomous plan of the “southern provinces” official Moroccan name relative to the territories of Western Sahara that Morocco invaded in 1975.

Hilal was clear, Morocco does not give or negotiate, the only solution is the autonomy plan “On this basis, we are ready to negotiate it and give largest operative power for the autonomy. Outside autonomy, nothing. We are not ready to negotiate anything.” Read more

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South Africa will lead the Saharawi struggle during its membership in the UN Security Council

Pretoria (South Africa), December 12, 2019 (SPS) – The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of South Africa, Lindiwe Sisulu, said in a statement that her country “will use its membership in the UN Security Council to defend the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination “.

The South African chancellery expressed its satisfaction by the resumption of the negotiations between the Polisario Front and Morocco, the days 5 and 6 of December in Geneva, under the auspices of United Nations and in fulfillment of the resolution 2440 of the Security Council.

Lindiwe Sisulu reaffirmed her country’s support for the negotiations, which she described as positive, and declared that “South Africa is pleased that the Polisario Front and Morocco have been able to meet to seek a political solution.” Read more

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Report of the SG to the Security Council on Western Sahara raises questions

PUSL.- The Polisario Front sent a letter to the President of the United Nations Security Council (CS) with his comments on the report of António Guterres, UN Secretary-General (see here) presented to CS members on 3 October.

The report sent to the SC by the Secretary-General (SG) is intended for discussion prior to the meeting at the end of the month in which the extension of the mandate of MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) will be decided. In the letter, the Polisario Front reaffirms its readiness to resume negotiations in accordance with United Nations resolutions but points out some concerns regarding the points of the Secretary-General’s report regarding the credibility of impartiality and independence of MINURSO and of the UN itself.

The Polisario Front explains in the letter that it is necessary to analyze the underlying causes of the Guergarat crisis  that have implications for the existing military agreements and the political process.

They also highlight the concern about illegal attempts to “normalize the situation” of the Moroccan military occupation of the occupied territories of Western Sahara. They also address the issue of meetings with the MINURSO Head in any place within the Mission’s defined area of ​​action.

As PUSL has published, there is a concern on the part of Horst Koehler, SG Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, with the “development” and “investments” of the Occupied Territories which is disconcerting in the face of the real situation in this non-autonomous territory and the serious violations of human rights. Read more

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UN plane talks between parties over Western Sahara before the end of the year

PUSL.- Then the UN Secretary-General’s personal envoy for Western Sahara wants to call for end-of-year talks between Morocco and Polisario Front to end a a decades-long conflict, said the Security Council chairman on Friday.

Horst Koehler, former German president and former director of the International Monetary Fund, informed the Council behind closed doors of his efforts to restart negotiations after a ten-year period in which it was not possible to bring the parties together because of Morocco’s intransigence in respect of the premise on which the ceasefire agreement was based in 1991, the holding of a self-determination referendum.

The press conference following the meeting with statements by British Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen, whose country holds the presidency of the UN Security Council this month, was not broadcast on UN television, curiously at the very start the transmission was paused. Read more

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