|Mohamed El Beikem
|by Mohamed El Beikem*
The status of Western Sahara is still locked in a stalemate pending the resolution of the the United Nations which oversees the file management of the negotiations between the Polisario and Morocco to determine the future of the Western Sahara.
The overall situation of the people of Western Sahara is as following:
– Sahrawi Refugees Camps: Thousands of Sahrawis live in harsh climatic conditions, away from home since 39 years, under severe shortage of international aid, and difficult economic conditions imposed by the asylum realities.
75 % of Western Sahara land is occupied by Morocco, while the Polisario front that represents the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic is in control of the eastern remaining part denoted as liberated zones.
The situation of the region occupied by Morocco: the systematic human rights violations are still ongoing, where the prohibition of the right of peaceful protest, the right of association, the right to express opinion are still forcefully banned and subject to heinous crack down, in addition to out-of-law practices of Moroccan authorities monitoring and spying on all means of communication without any judicial permit.
The Human Rights status: still the Moroccan authorities continue to prevent any kind of manifestation of expression, and continue its series of political arrests and fabrication of charges for the activists, beside the restriction and control of movement and the right of free expression or the exercise of any activities that do not serve the Moroccan state in the occupied Western Sahara. .The militarization of the Saharawi cities continues where the Moroccan state still spreads terror in Western Sahara causing a strangling grip on the Saharawis in their own occupied land.
The political situation: the Moroccan state continues to impose the politis of “fait accompli” by ignoring UN resolutions and recommendations of the Security Council. The Moroccan state has been waging a campaign of diplomatic and media propaganda against the United Nations and especially against the Secretary-General and his representative Christopher Ross in an unprecedented way because of the recommendations of the Human Rights and natural resources monitoring. This goes along with the fact that there are hints that the Western Sahara conflict might be transferred to the seventh UN chapter which allows an imposable resolution on the parties in conflict.
Economic and social situation: The Moroccan state still prevents the local Sahrawis from benefiting from their own natural resources by craeting twisted obstacles in an attempt to prevent the Saharawis from working while encouraging Moroccan settlers to flourish and prosper.The Moroccan state has been adopting a strategy of impoverishment for over 40 years described as follows:
-Security Control: to minimize any political activity that does not serve the monarchial state ́s agenda and interests or its presence in Western Sahara, the security forces tend to arbitrarily arrest, assassinate, torture or fabricate charges or
expulsion from the Western Sahara.
-Education: In spite of the vastness of the Western Sahara, there are no universities nor any high discipline though there are many small towns in Morocco that have universities in all disciplines. Besides, Western Sahara does not have any higher education institutes or any other related except for primary and secondary education. Paradoxically, Morocco, that has been propagating the huge projects made in the occupied territory, has remained keen on backwarding the Saharawi people by stripping them from the right to a higher education and up to now there is no university cell in whatever speciality. Morocco has built some walls and streets but cunningly has done everything to keep the population uneducated. Thus, rendering the right to education a national threat to its security.
-Economy: The Moroccan state considers every Saharawi educated citizen or economically active as a source of security problem and a political threat, because the awareness and the activeness of any Saharawi citizen is a threatening factor within the general concept when it comes to the management of Western Sahara . Therefore, the Moroccan state continues reducing benefit of the population of Western Sahara from its calculations while it encourages the Moroccan settlers to work and invest and live in Western Sahara to change the demographic growth of the Western Sahara. Indeed, this strategy has succeeded to a certain extent, but the overall environement has been seriously damaged (e.i: water resources..)due to its strategy to maintain its occupation at all costs.
– The Civil Society: In addition to all this, the Moroccan state rejects the attempts to create a civil society mature and conscious by preventing the establishment of associations or organizations or any other type of human gathering regardless of the activity the Saharawi wish to do. The Moroccan government allows only associations that are affiliated with its security and intelligent services. Besides, Morocco encourages and sometimes inflames very old tribal conflicts by bringing them on the surface by through its pursued colonial administration politics. Morocco’s strategy in occupied Western Sahara is divide to rule
*Mohamed elbaikam : Civil society activist in Western Sahara, member of an
international collaboration in the Observatory for the Protection of wealth in
Western Sahara , Coordinator of the associations active in the fishing
industry and agriculture and the environment. Dakhla