Western Sahara issue reviewed by UN Committee on Decolonization

NEW YORK-The UN committee on the situation with regard to the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence, or « Special Committee of 24 », reviewed Friday at UN headquarters (New York) 16 issues of non-colonized territories including Western Sahara.

During the review of the situation of the Sahrawi case, representative of South Africa Maniemagen Govender said that the Department of Legal Affairs of the UN had supported the request of the people of Western Sahara to exercise its right to self-determination.

He then urged the Security Council to support the political process between the Polisario Front and Morocco in ensuring that the mandate of MINURSO (UN Mission for the organization of a referendum in Western Sahara) is respected around its three priorities.

In this regard, he stressed that the priorities of the MINURSO consist in acting as an instrument of stability, implementation of a referendum and to provide independent information to the United Nations Secretariat, to the Security Council and the international community.

Calling that the last colony in Africa can finally be decolonized, he said that the continuing colonization of Western Sahara was « a denial of the Constitutive Act of the African Union and a serious obstacle to the continent’s economic and social development. »

For his part, representative of Venezuela Maria Elena Padron Anzola, strongly advocated the rights of the Saharawi people to self-determination and called for strict implementation of Resolution 1514 (1960) of the United Nations.

While calling the committee of 24 to examine the Sahrawis reality of everyday life, she regretted that the mission of the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, Christopher Ross, is suspended after the unilateral decision of Morocco to withdraw confidence.

For Padron, the Saharawi people must nevertheless exercise their right to self-determination and independence as quickly as possible.

For his part, representative of Ecuador Jenny Lalama-Fernandez supported the will of the Saharawi people to get a referendum for the exercise of their inalienable right to self-determination.

She noted that the report of the Security Council last April showed « the restrictions imposed by Morocco to MINURSO that has no freedom of movement or direct access to populations or local human rights organizations. »

« We are facing a serious situation of violations of the UN duties, » she said, noting that human rights are still violated in Western Sahara in which resources are exploited illegally by Morocco.

APS, 16/06/2012