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Lectures in Secondary Schools in Italy: “Western Sahara and human rights, UN and EU responsibilities”
16/01/2011

   

 

   

Two secondary schools of the municipalities of Castel Maggiore and the city of Cento, (Bologna-Emilia Romagna), hosted lectures on Friday and Saturday morning for the class of Baccalaureate students on the Western Sahara situation, focusing on human rights and the international responsibility.

The lectures were presented by the Secretary General of the Saharawi Journalists and Writers Union, Malainin Lakhal, Giulia Olme, representative of the Italian NGO, CISP, and Ugo Mazza, ex-Counsilor of the government of the region, Emilia Romagna, who summarized to three groups of students the latest developments of the Moroccan human rights violations in Western Sahara and the facts about the conflict in the region .

The students who had already received many lectures before on the conflict in Western Sahara thanks to initiatives of educative programs by the Italian NGO, CISP and the university of Forli, were able to get the latest information about the Moroccan Consultative Council of Human Rights, and Morocco’s official recognition of the responsibility of its authorities on the death of 352 Saharawis in Moroccan military bases from the seventies until 1992.

In his interventions, Malainin Lakhal stressed that the most important facts to keep in mind before going to details is to stress that Western Sahara is recognized by the international community as a country and a Non-self-governing territory, whose people has an inalienable right to self-determination.

“Thus, he said, a right is there to be exercised, not to be discussed or denied! A right cannot be denied out of an opinion”, yet Morocco with the support of France is denying the Saharawis this fundamental right and is violating openly the international right.

He further stressed that the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination cannot be exercised by anyone on behalf of the Saharawis, “Morocco cannot do that, nor can Polisario the legitimate representative of the Saharawi people, neither can the UN or any other international body, this is an exclusive right to the people and only the people can exercise it freely and democratically through a plebiscite to decide what they want to do with their property, their land, Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa”.

He also stressed that “there is no other possible solution to the conflict in Western Sahara apart from consulting the Saharawi people, in a genuine referendum, under the auspices of the international community, otherwise all what would be done, whatever it is, would only be to delay the solution and to continue feeding the status quo and continue playing with the future of the region and hindering its real emancipation, stability and security, and this is a real crime committed against the peoples of the Maghreb”.


Mr. Malainin Lakhal indicated that “the Saharawi people has well proved their willingness to continue the legitimate struggle to get back their rights, recalling that the civilized and extraordinary protest initiated by the Saharawis in Gdeim Izik camp last October, which was destroyed savagely by the Moroccan oppressor on November 8, 2010, was just an additional confirmation of this determination and will certainly not be the last action Saharawis have in reserve to fight occupation”.

The Saharawi lecturer held the UN, the EU and above all France and Spain responsible for the delays in the resolution of the conflict in Western Sahara.

“France, he said, is the real responsible behind the Moroccan success to avoid the implementation of the UN resolutions, because Paris do not hesitate to support the Moroccan rebellion against the international law and is thus accomplice in the human rights violations committed by Rabat against the Saharawi people. France is staining her hands with the innocent blood of the Saharawis, and is staining its history by causing the sufferings of the people of the last colony in Africa”.

“Morocco is no more than a proxy, an obedient servant of the French interests and strategic policies in North Africa, and in Africa in general, through which Paris acts, because we always find French prints in all the developments in Western Sahara, especially in the Security Council and the EU where France opposes any kind of pressures against the Makhzen, and opposes any kind of implementation of the law there”, he said.

“France, he further said to the students, the cradle of freedom, democracy and human rights, is turning a blind eye to the Moroccan violations of human rights in Western Sahara, and is putting the veto on the table to impede any kind of monitoring or protection of human rights in the occupied zones”.

On another hand, the Saharawi lecturer criticized the European Union’s position, which he said, is shaped and decided in Paris, and which treats Morocco with so much indulgence though everyone knows what the Moroccan regime is really doing and the harm it is causing.

It is shameful, he added, that Europe, which is raising the flags of democracy and defense of human rights, is the same Europe which supports dictatorship and oppression in Morocco and against Western Sahara.

He recalled that Europe has granted Morocco an advanced status, and is in a way or another supporting the Moroccan illegal occupation by signing economical agreement with Rabat encouraging Morocco to exploit the natural resources of the last colony in Africa.


After the lectures, which tackled different subjects related to the conflict in Western Sahara, the Saharawi peaceful resistance, the latest events after Gdeim Izik camp events, and the Saharawi nation building and state building, the students were able to ask questions and exchanged ideas.

On her side, Ms. Giulia Olme gave to the students the basic information about the UN system and bodies and how it works in terms of conflict resolution and peacekeeping.

She explained to the audience the complications that the UN bodies find in implementing the law because of the influence of the big powers, and in the case of Western Sahara because of the inability of the Security Council to avoid the French veto.

She further recalled the students of the main resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, Security Council and the legal opinion adopted in 1975 by the International Court of Justice, in addition to the main position adopted by international bodies.

On his side, Mr. Ugo Mazza told the students about his personal experience and visit to the occupied city of El Aaiun last November 2010, and how he was forced to hide so as to visit the Gdeim Izik camp few days before the latter was completely destroyed by Moroccan military forces.

He explained to the students why the Saharawis decided on October to organize this camp of dignity, and how he was impressed by the good organization and order that the organisers of the camp succeeded to maintain.

He stressed that the Saharawis have given proof of determination to fight for their rights until getting independence, and estimated that organizing a referendum on self-determination is the only solution forward.

 


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