vrijdag 24 juli 2009

Obama urged to Protect Sahrawis, Uphold Self-Determination

Een groep verontruste Amerikanen heeft een brief geschreven aan President Barack Obama met het dringende verzoek het al veel te lang slepende conflict rond de Westelijke Sahara tot een einde te brengen. Zij vragen hem steun te geven aan het voorstel een volksraadpleging te houden, en om bescherming te bieden aan het Saharaanse volk tegen het Marokkaanse geweld. Tot de ondertekenaars behoren uiteenlopende groepen en personen, waaronder voormalig ambassadeur Frank Ruddy, zangeres Cynthia Basinet, de winnares van de Seoul Peace Prize Suzanne Scholte, de directeur van het Robert F. Kennedy Center Monika Kalra en anderen.
Hieronder de tekst van de brief:

July 24, 2009

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing as a diverse group of concerned citizens—Democrats, Republicans and Independents, and representatives of non-governmental organizations—to pledge our strong support for the human rights of the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara. As Africa’s only remaining colony, the fate of Western Sahara has been uncertain since Morocco began its occupation over 30 years ago. In light of the historic friendship between the governments of the United States and the Kingdom of Morocco, as President of the United States, you have the ability to help resolve this long-standing conflict and ensure that the Sahrawi people’s human rights, including the inalienable right to self-determination, are protected.

The Sahrawi people welcome your outreach to the Muslim world and consider it an important opportunity for dialogue. The Sahrawi are a people who have demonstrated a commitment to the rule of law, democracy, human rights, equal rights for women, and religious tolerance. In exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and expression, the Sahrawi people in Western Sahara have been subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention, forced disappearances, abuse, torture and sexual assault. The violence against the Sahrawis by agents of the government of Morocco has been well-documented in reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, the World Organization Against Torture, Reporters without Borders and the United States Department of State.

Western Sahara represents a clear case of a peoples’ unfulfilled right to self-determination, a right not only embedded in the United Nations Charter, but the very principle on which our own nation was founded. The Moroccan government, rather than facilitating the realization of the long-promised United Nation-backed referendum on self-determination, has worked aggressively to thwart the efforts of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to implement its mandate.

Therefore, in support of the human rights of the Sahrawi people, we respectfully request that your administration:

1. Calls upon Morocco to end the ongoing repression and human rights abuses against the Sahrawi population in the territory of Western Sahara;

2. Supports a resolution of the conflict over Western Sahara through the long-promised free, fair and transparent referendum administered by MINURSO; and,

3. Organize a meeting with representatives of the undersigned to discuss this issue further.

The conflict in Western Sahara is often forgotten, along with the plight of the Sahrawi people. However, we must not allow the misinformation perpetuated by political interests to seal an uncertain fate for an entire people and obstruct the realization of their fundamental human rights. As a group of concerned citizens and NGOs, we seek to shed light on and present a balanced analysis of the conflict.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of our requests. We appreciate the opportunity for continued dialogue on this important human rights concern. Please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned individuals or representatives of the NGOs, at 703-534-4313 with any questions, concerns or further inquiries.


Letter was signed by 41 USA NGO representatives and American citizens.

Zie ook : Is Obama Snubbing the King of Morocco?
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