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Saharawi Consultative Council to Ban Ki Moon: Self-determination is the unique solution to the conflict




In a letter to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, he Saharawi Consultative Council declared on Wednesday that a referendum on self-determination is the only way out to resolve the conflict in Western Sahara.

The Council, which met under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic, Mohamed Andelaziz Wednesday in a first session after the congress of POLISARIO held last December, criticised the Moroccan repeated violations of the international legality and rejection of UN’s peace plans.

It also called on the UN to expand the mandate of the UN mission on the ground to include the monitoring of human rights that are continuously violated by the Moroccan State.

Here is the complete text of the letter to Ban Ki Moon of which UPES received a copy:

Mr Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations
United Nations
New York

20 February 2008

Mr Secretary-General,

We would like to address to you this letter to draw your attention to some developments relating to the question of Western Sahara.

As you are aware, the question of Western Sahara is an issue of decolonisation of which solution is anchored in the free and democratic exercise by the Sahrawi people of their inalienable right to self-determination as provided for in the UN Charter and other UN relevant resolutions. As you are also aware, the decolonisation process of Western Sahara was dramatically interrupted in 1975 when Morocco invaded the territory, which it has been illegally occupying ever since.

Moreover, Morocco has not only violated its obligations under the UN Charter when it invaded Western Sahara and used force against its people but has also undermined all peace efforts that the international community has been deploying for over two decades with a view to bringing about the decolonisation of Western Sahara.

For it was Morocco that openly declared its unwillingness to go forward with the implementation of the Settlement Plan and the Houston Agreements, and it was Morocco that also rejected the “peace plan for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara” that was proposed by Mr James Baker.

Today, after having rejected the idea of a UN-supervised self-determination referendum, Morocco is trying to implicate the UN in legitimising its illegal annexation of our country through its proposal of a so-called “autonomy”. This proposal is null and void because it is contrary to the principle of self-determination as an inalienable right to be exercised by the people concerned and not by the occupying power.

The only viable and just solution to the problem of Western Sahara consists in the free and democratic exercise by the Sahrawi people of their inalienable right to self-determination. Morocco has solemnly and voluntarily accepted this democratic solution, and the United Nations should exert pressure on Morocco to respect its own commitments undertaken before the international community.

As you are aware, in order to overcome the deadlock caused by Morocco, the Frente POLISARIO presented to the UN, on 10 April 2007, a proposal in which it reaffirmed the need for the referendum on self-determination as the only just and democratic way to bring about the decolonisation of Western Sahara. Moreover, it demonstrated its preparedness to negotiate with Morocco the establishment of strategic relations between the two countries in all domains especially those that could be of particular concern to Morocco. The United Nations should encourage Morocco to seize this opportunity for peace in the context of the ongoing negotiations between the two parties under your auspices.

The situation of human rights in the occupied territories of Western Sahara is still a cause of great concern to us. As you indicated in your report of 19 October 2007, although MINURSO does not have the mandate or resources to address the issue of human rights, the United Nations remains committed to upholding international human rights standards.

In this context, we call on you to expand the mandate of MINURSO to include the protection of human rights of Sahrawi citizens in the territories under Moroccan occupation, and to safeguard their fundamental freedoms. We moreover call on you to ensure the release of all Sahrawi prisoners of conscience and the accounting for more than 500 disappeared civilians and 151 POWs held by the Moroccan authorities.

We remain hopeful that the ongoing negotiations between the Frente POLISARIO and Morocco under your auspices would bring the decolonisation of Western Sahara to its conclusion. We also remain confident that the United Nations will continue its efforts to achieve a lasting and just solution that would provide for the self-determination of the Sahrawi people, as the only viable and legal path to achieve a durable peace and stability in the Maghreb and the whole region.

Please accept, Mr Secretary-General, the assurances of our highest consideration.