Friday, September 29, 2006

Respect and dignity

I frequently receive Polisario complaints about human rights abuse by Moroccan authorities in the Sahara. Some pictures that I received show injured people and a recent report by Freedom House highlights human rights violations by the Moroccan authorities.
I also read and hear a lot about Morocco positive achievements in terms of human rights. The country seems to be praised at high levels by the US government as well as by many reporters. I wonder how the two images fit together. Does Morocco apply human rights only in certain regions of its territory ? Some reports of abuse are not convincing, but others are very disturbing. Respect and dignity should not be negotiable.

Where does the Sahara stop ?

As I mentioned in another blog , I had the opportunity to attend a roundtable about the Sahara at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. A delegation of Sahrawis presented to a small audience the idea of an autonomy project for the Sahara region. The proposal is destined to the King of Morocco. The delegation leader, named Khalihenna, gave an interesting insight about the Western Sahara issue.
He explained how Sahrawi tribes have lived and still live in Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Morocco. I don't remember if he mentionned Chad also.
It's an interesting data to consider when studying the subject : does the revendication for an independent country in the Sahara include all the Sahara region (from the Atlantic to Chad) ? Until now, I know only of revendications regarding the Moroccan territory.
I know some Sahrawis who have mauritanian citizenship and have family members deeply integrated both in Morocco and in Mauritania. I wonder how do they look at the Sahara issue.