POSITION OF STRENGTH AND CLOSE TO VICTORY - POLISARIO FRONT 14.TH CONGRESS IN DAKHLA (Saharawi refugee camp)




Notes and updated info about Sahrawi situation from European Left point of view / JP Väisänen
 
European Left Delegation to 14. th Polisario Congress from the right Katrin Voss (Die Linke), Piera Muccigrosso ( EL office in Brussels) and JP Väisänen ( SKP - Communist Party of Finland)

Polisario 14.th congress reelected the President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR, since 1982) and Secretary General Mohamed Abdelaziz by overwhelming majority to Polisario Secretary General. Abdelaziz is a Polisario Front's founding member. He has been the secretary general of the Polisario Front since 1976, following the death of El-Ouali Moustapha Sayed, a former Polisario leading member.  

The Sahrawi president was awarded the National Consultative Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (CNCPPDH) annual prize 2015 in recognition of his struggle and activism for the liberation of occupied Western Sahara and the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination for more than 40 years

According to the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) constitution, there is a form of one-party state, as long as it is not in control of its territory. The organization backing the republic is the Polisario Front, (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro). Polisario has declared that it will either transform into a normal political party or when free from occupation split into several parties.

14.th CONGRESS of "STRENGTH, PLANNING AND WILLPOWER TO IMPOSE NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE AND SOVEREIGNTY."

Some 2,475 Saharawi delegates, coming from the liberated territories, occupied territories, refugee camps and Saharawi diaspora abroad and a large number of foreign guests including the European Left delegation took part in the 14th Congress of the Polisario Front (December 16-20) in the province of Dakhla (Saharawi refugee camp). 

JP (Juha-Pekka) Väisänen chairman of the Communist Party of Finland and member of the EL Executive board, Katrin Voss member of the International office of the German Left Party Die Linke and the EL Africa Working Group and Piera Muccigrosso from the EL office formed the EL delegation. The congress was hold under the slogan, "Strength, Planning and Willpower to Impose National Independence and Sovereignty."

National action program was adopted on 5th day of Polisario Front Congress. The general status of the Polisario Front underwent amendments, including inter alia, the criterion of military seniority and age of 45 years at least to be candidate for the post of the Secretary-General which should now be elected directly by the delegates. The reinforcement of security in the liberated Sahrawi territories and the strengthening of army dominated the works of the commissions designated by the 14th Polisario Front Congress.

Speakers of the congress also stressed Saharawi people's diplomatic victories achieved recently, citing European Parliament resolution on the need to expand MINURSO (UN Mission for the Referendum of Western Sahara) prerogatives to include monitoring and reporting of human rights situation in the Saharawi territories occupied by Morocco.

The congress underlined the various priorities for Sahrawi people, particularly the need to preserve the national unity and consolidate the building of a modern State with its executive, legislative and judicial institutions. Polisario called on the United Nations to assume its responsibilities in the current standstill in the process for the decolonization of Western Sahara, which has been occupied for 40 years.

The moral and financial reports presented at the Congress were adopted overwhelming by the majority of the participants at the congress. Intense debates (in closed doors) were held, during three days, by the delegates in an enthusiastic and responsible atmosphere.
Several issues were broached by the participants, notably those relating to the Sahrawi Liberation Army, the position and role of the Sahrawi young people within the Front’s political authorities and their participation in the political and economic life. Themes relating to the military development and orientations of the Sahrawi Liberation Army and its preparation were also discussed by the participants at the congress.

EL delegation met Omar Mansour spokesman of the congress and head of Polisario Front mission to France. Mansour informed about the congress stating that president Abdelaziz has underlined that the return to war remains one of Polisario Front’s options, and the Sahrawi people can resort to it if the situation require. In this regard, the future direction to strengthen the capacities of the army is one of important future tasks. According to Mansour congress speakers tackled several issues, especially those relating to the Saharawi Liberation Army and the role of the young.
Omar Mansour, said that the participants “whose majority is made of young activists representing 52% of the participants at the congress underlined the need to strengthen the army’s capacities for a possible return to armed action to enforce the Sahrawi people’s legitimate rights to self-determination.”  In the same regard, Mansour added that the debates at the level of the commission of the national action program focused “particularly” on the need “to strengthen security in the liberated Sahrawi territories,” in order to fight the scourge of drugs, of which the Moroccan occupation authorities want to flood the region and to fight the phenomenon of terrorism.
Polisario congress addressed the need to make more efforts to develop the liberated territories in order to “improve the living conditions of its inhabitants.”

Omar Mansour underlined young Saharawi people's role in the different bodies of the Polisario Front and their participation in political life and economic development.
The Polisario Front calls upon the UN Security Council to take into consideration the recent findings of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and to expedite measures leading to a just solution in accordance with the Charter and the decisions of the UN, including the 1514 decision. The Saharawi President Abdelaziz urges the Security Council "to assume its responsibilities to end the Moroccan equivocation and refusal to comply with UN resolutions and decisions of the African Union (AU)."

EU and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)

The decision (2015) taken by European Union Court of Justice (CJEU) invalidating the trade agreement on agricultural produce signed, in 2012, between the Kingdom of Morocco and the European union, is "historic" and poses the "basic" question on the future of Western Sahara territories, according to Lawyer Gilles Devers, the principal lawyer of the Polisario Front who brought the case to the court.

 On a question regarding the annulment by the EU Court of Justice of the Agriculture Agreement between the EU and Rabat, President Abdelaziz said that "this verdict is consistent with international law," denouncing "any attempt likely to block the application of this judicial decision."
EL delegation met with the Sahrawi deputy minister for Foreign Affairs Mohamed Sidati. EL delegation expressed its solidarity with the Sahrawi People´s just struggle for an independent state underlining that the statutes of the EL have a clear supporting position to the fight for a free and democratic Sahrawi state. Both delegates Katrin Voss and JP (Juha-Pekka) Väisänen gave their speeches to the 14.th congress. Here is link to Väisänen´s speech http://skp.fi/2015-22-12/viva-polisario-solidarity-to-sahrawi-people-s-right-for-sovereignty-and-free-west-sahara

According the Sahrawi deputy minister for Foreign Affairs Mohamed Sidati the current report (2015) on Sahrawi People by the European Parliament on Human Rights calls on the one hand, for the freedom and expression for Sahrawi populations in the occupied territories and calls, on the other hand, for the immediate release of Sahrawi political prisoners. The resolution obtained a large majority thus becoming an official document of the European Union (EU). The report will be presented later to the United Nations Council for Human Rights.

According to Sidati the decision made by the French oil giant Total to cease its geological survey work in the Anzarane block, off the occupied territories of Western Sahara, is a  “new diplomatic success" for the Sahrawi cause.  Sidati says that “This is the immediate result of the decision of the European Union's Court of Justice to cancel, with immediate effect, the agreement on agricultural and fish products trade liberalization, signed in March 2012 between Rabat and the EU”.

United Nations and SADR

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will visit Polisario and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in January 2016. Informing about his visit Ban Ki- moon declared that “Morocco should understand that it cannot build the future on international law violation and that the only solution is to hold referendum on (Saharawi people's) self-determination."

President of the SADR and Secretary General of the Polisario Front Mohamed Abdelaziz has said that “Morocco is increasingly isolated on the international diplomatic scene. Sahrawi people are today in a "position of strength" and "close to victory".

SEPARATION WALL, LAND MINES AND FLOOD

According to the head of the Saharawi group for antipersonnel land mines' victims, Aziz Haidar antipersonnel land mines and fragmentation bombs in Western Sahara planted by Morocco along the separation wall, and which have been carried away by the October floods, constitute a real danger to the local population.

Western Sahara is one of the world's ten most mined countries. Over 1600 Sahrawi victims of antipersonnel land mines have been recorded. Due to the rains that swept away antipersonnel land mines in supposed secured areas some 400 victims were hit in the liberated territories. Despite the Ottawa Treaty banning antipersonnel land mines and Oslo agreement against fragmentation bombs nearly seven million antipersonnel land mines have been planted by Morocco along the separation wall.  Two organizations, a Norwegian working in Bir Lahlu and a British in Amhyris, are undertaking mine-clearing operations in those regions.