Mrs. Saadani Maouelainin and Mr. Ahmed Lakhrif, members of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs made two presentations on the Sahara issue before the UN Fourth Committee, which began its works on October 8 on the sidelines of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Their speeches back those put forward by petitioners from around the world, to support a realistic political solution to the impasse around this artificial conflict and bring back sequestered people camps to their homeland, through a system of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty.
Mrs. Saadani Maouelainin Corcas member: Constant struggle against "impunity" of Polisario leaders
Mrs. Saadani Maouelainin, petitioner, spoke as a "victim" of the Sahara "artificial" conflict. She said she experienced the violation of human rights in its most atrocious conditions by the leaders of the Front Polisario.
After what happened to her family, she said, she continues to fight "against the impunity in which Polisario leaders still live with the complicity of the Algerian army."
She also complained that "the delegation of the Kennedy Center has refused to meet her during its recent mission in the region," as well as other victims of the Polisario Front, considering it a "political complicity with the Front ".
She also noted "the political and social rights enjoyed by the Sahrawi population" in the southern provinces of Morocco, which led her to say that the only just and lasting solution is the autonomy of the Western Sahara under the Moroccan sovereignty.
Ahmed Lakhrif Corcas member: the spread of terrorist ideology in the Tindouf camps, a disturbing reality
Lakhrif Ahmed, Corcas member and MP at the House of Advisors, warned Tuesday in New York against the "terrorist ideology being spread" in the Tindouf camps.
The "spreading terrorist ideology within the Tindouf camps is a reality that nobody can deny," said Lakhrif speaking before the UN 4th Committee.
He denounced the critical situation in the Tindouf camps, where most of the population, "my brothers and members of my tribe" live in very difficult conditions, a situation that contributes to the despair and frustration, especially among young people, which is a fertile ground for terrorist organizations and other armed groups as well as crimes that thrive in the Sahel-Saharan Africa.
Terrorist organizations and armed groups have taken advantage of this situation to infiltrate the camps, spread their ideologies and recruit new members, the elected municipal official in Laayoune.
An "undeniable reality admitted even by Polisario leaders ," he said, referring to the words of a senior separatist official recently reported by the Spanish newspaper "ABC", according to which Polisario elements have joined ranks of the largest terrorist organizations present in the region, namely AQIM and Mujao.
"This is a first to see the Polisario itself acknowledging that elements of its militia joined terrorist organizations pointed Lakhrif, for whom this" proves, if need be, the seriousness of the situation that cannot be concealed, "especially by Polisario which "used to deny any scandal from inside"
However, serious upheavals that shook the Sahel-Saharan region in recent months has made political camouflage useless, especially after the kidnapping of three foreigners (two Spaniards and one Italian) within the Polisario camps, said Ahmed Lakhrif .
He asked before the Member States on the issue how a terrorist organization could enter the head of the Polisario leadership despite a strong monitoring system, kidnap hostages and went hundreds of miles away before that Polisario militia realizes it. How such kidnapping can take place easily without even a single shot, especially in an area of intensive military deployment?.
How the hostages were transported in record time from the Tindouf camps to the north of Mali, safely and peacefully in a militarized area? he questioned .
For him, there is no doubt that without the complicity within the camps of Tindouf, certainly with the connivance of some officials, "terrorists could never carry out such an operation, especially in a monitored and controlled field." He also criticized the narrow and personal calculations of the Polisario and its insistence on maintaining the status quo holding hostage people in the camps to serve "its own interests."
Obviously, for this native of Smara, despair and frustration are the result of the intransigence of the Polisario leadership that refuses Moroccan autonomy proposal, which preserves the dignity of Sahrawis guarantee their well-being and safeguard their culture and identity, he concluded.
Here follows the rest of the speeches by the petitioners:
Mr. CONSTANTINOS KOLIOPOULOS from the Pantheon University of Athens came to defend the Moroccan autonomy proposal for Western Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty in 2007, which, according to him, provides an ideal setting for the settlement of the Western Sahara conflict. The current constitutional regionalization in Morocco supports this proposal and demonstrates its sincerity, he said. He discussed issues related to the advanced autonomy proposed by Morocco for Western Sahara, explaining that under the advanced regionalization, the territory's final status is subject to negotiations, as would be allowed by democratic reforms in Morocco as well as possible choices for the Western Sahara. For him, it is not a choice between autonomy and independence as Sahrawi independence seems "unrealistic", while "autonomy is applicable in all cases."
Mr. ERIK JENSEN, former Head of Mission and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, stressed the urgency of a solution to the conflict in Western Sahara at this critical time for the countries of North Africa. He noted that, given the lack of visible changes on this issue, we may almost not see the evolution of the reflexion of the Security Council on this matter. After reviewing the historical evolution of the Western Sahara dispute in 37 years, he explained that a solution imposed by the Security Council had been systematically denied to the extent that the Council seeks mutually acceptable agreements that encourages the parties to reach a negotiated solution that is sustainable and mutually satisfactory. In this spirit, Morocco submitted its proposal in 2007, which has been described as credible, serious and realistic by the Council, said Mr. Jensen. Given the new guarantee brought by the new Moroccan Constitution, he said, "this is the best solution." "Regional autonomy means inevitably a compromise. It does not offer to Morocco the integration of the territory of Western Sahara. It does not mean independence for the Polisario Front," noted Mr. Jensen. It remains, however, a realistic way to move forward as autonomous regions will allow the expression of different identities in a stable political environment, said Mr. Jensen. He added that the people of Western Sahara have the final say through a referendum in which they can accept the terms of a negotiated political solution. The petitioner also drew attention to the terrorist threat in the region and the fact that the Sahara conflict had become a major obstacle to cooperation between the Maghreb countries.
ANDREW M. ROSEMARINE, international lawyer in the UK specializing in human rights in Morocco, recognized "the striking progress made in this area by Morocco", and in particular the adoption of the new Constitution 2011, which provides that all ethnic groups are recognized in Morocco. He praised the part relating to respect for human rights. With regard to the Moroccan autonomy proposal of Western Sahara, he said that Morocco guarantees the role of the Saharawi people to be able to handle their own matters.
Mr. Brahim Laghzal, MP and member of the Moroccan National Council for Human Rights, said he had suffered in the past rights violations in the Kingdom of Morocco. "The Reconciliation Commission, a pilot project has yet succeeded in restoring my rights as a citizen," he added. I received compensation, even if they were well below my sufferings. He explained that, according to him, Western Sahara has always been part of Morocco and its future can only be within the Kingdom of Morocco. The petitioner argued in favor of the autonomy project. He warned against the risks of tensions in the region, hoping that the Sahara will not become like other countries in the region, a hotbed of terrorism. Finally, concluding his remarks, the petitioner stated that in Laayoune camps, regional offices have been established in order to protect the local population and promote their rights.
MOHAMED KHAYA, President of the Provincial Association of Social, Cultural and Sporting Works in Boujdour, focused on the many constitutional reforms adopted last year by the Kingdom of Morocco. This country, he said, was the first to adopt a new constitution and give new powers to the people and members of government. The petitioner put forward new mechanisms adopted and which, via this new constitution, aim to stop the abuses of the past. He cited the Reconciliation Commission, and the National Council for Human Rights which has received an expanded mandate, including tracking abuse, investigating and dealing with abuses reported. All these reforms taken by the Kingdom of Morocco, he said, give an idea of the reality in this country, particularly with a view to consolidating democracy.
ANNA MARIA STAME CERVONE from the « Christian Democratic Women International » drew attention to the deteriorating living conditions in the Tindouf camps in Algeria. She also denounced "the influence of the Polisario armed militia in the camps." "Why the international community does not press for the release of all these 'refugees' since the terrorist threat is more real in this region? " she asked. She said she did not understand how the UN can accept being denied access to the camp in Tindouf to carry out a census. For her, this region has become "a time bomb" because of the "irresponsible policy of the Algerian authorities that feeds separatist vocations", at the risk of the region’s balkanization.