Letters were sent by the Australian Council of Trade Unions to the Australian Foreign Minister, The Moroccan Ambassador and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Text of letters…..(cont.)
The Hon Kevin Rudd, MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6022 House of Representatives Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600
Via e-mail: [email protected]
Re: Western Sahara
The ACTU is gravely very concerned about the continuing serious human rights abuses in the occupied Western Sahara.
On 8 November 2010 the Moroccan army and security forces attacked an estimated 20,000 Saharawi civilian protesters from the makeshift protest camp known as Gdeim Izik where they had been living for a month. The army moved in using live bullets, helicopters, tear gas, and high pressure hoses to clear the protesters. Between 30 to 60 people are reported dead.
Journalists and independent observers were banned from entering the camp. Spanish, French and European MPs attempting to visit the camp have been refused entry to the country and some of them deported from the airport.
The UN Security Council met in an emergency meeting on Tuesday 16 November to discuss the situation in Western Sahara following the attack on the camp.
The Council members “deplored the violence in El Aaiun and Gdaim Izyk camp, and expressed their condolences over the deaths and injuries that resulted.”
We believe that Australian should raise its voice loud and clear against the massacre and oppression of the people of Western Sahara, and call on the UN to send a fact-finding mission to the region as soon as possible. Australia should also request the UN to include human rights monitoring in the mandate of its mission in the Territory (MINURSO).
We respectfully urge you to bring this urgent issue to the attention of the Moroccan authorities as well as to the attention of the UN Secretary General.
The ACTU believes the Sahawari people must be allowed to participate in an act of self-determination under the auspices of the United Nations.
We strongly urge you to make Western Sahara part of your agenda for Australia’s renewed international engagement.
We also urge you to ensure that Australia deals with the issue of Western Sahara in a positive manner particularly during the regular yearly debate at the UN General Assembly. We look forward to hearing from you on these important issues.
2 December 2010
His Excellency Mr Mohamed MAEL-AININ
Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco
17 Terrigal Crescent O’Malley ACT 2606
Fax : (02) 6290 0744
Email : [email protected]
Re: Statement of solidarity with the Saharawi people following recent attack on civilians
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), being a long-standing supporter of the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination and justice, was alarmed to learn of the recent attack on Saharawi civilians.
The ACTU has been informed that in the early hours of Monday 8th November the Moroccan army and security forces attacked an estimated 20,000 Saharawi civilian protesters in the makeshift protest camp where they had been living for a month. Western Sahara is now under siege and a state of emergency is declared.
The Sahrawi citizens set up a tent camp outside the capital of Western Sahara, El Aauin to protest peacefully their treatment and demand the respect of their basic rights. The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on 16 November 2010 and “deplored the violence in El Aaiun and Gdaim Izyk camp, and expressed their condolences over the deaths and injuries that resulted.” The United Nations has repeatedly promised the Saharawi the right to self-determination, but Morocco has blocked efforts to hold a referendum that includes the option of independence.
The ACTU, which represents two million workers and strongly supports of democratic rights, abhors this aggression against Saharawi civilians and calls on the Kingdom of Morocco to fully respect the basic human rights of the Sahawari people and allow them to exercise their rights to self-determination.
The ACTU also calls on Morocco to immediately release all the Saharawi detainees and to allow the media, NGOs and international observers full access to the camp.
I hope that you will pay prompt attention to this very serious matter and look forward to your reply.
Cc: The Hon Kevin Rudd, Foreign Affairs Minister
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights