WESTERN SAHARA: President of Republic Describes As 'Shameful Act' Recent Aggression on Saharawi Women in Occupied El Aaiun

Saturday, March 30, 2013
Northern Africa
Western Sahara
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Peace Processes
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

The President of the Republic and Secretary General of the Frente POLISARIO Mr. Mohamed Abdelaziz described the recent aggression against a group of Saharawi women, who were peacefully demonstrating at occupied El Aaiun's streets, as the "shameful act" which does not honour Morocco nor its authentic people, in an open letter sent Saturday to the Moroccan King.

"This is a shameful act which does not honour Morocco nor its authentic people. As we are in the 2nd decade of the 21st century, I cannot imagine that you would be honoured, as a king of Morocco, to the fact that your forces act on your own behalf, just as did armies of the titans in the dark ages," wrote the President Mohamed Abdelaziz.

"What happened on Saturday, March 23rd, in the streets of the occupied city of El Aaiun on the sidelines of the visit of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Christopher Ross, to Western Sahara, and before that in the occupied city of Boujdour, on 18 February 2013, when Moroccan security authorities, based on official orders and in the presence of senior security officials, committed the sin of maltreatment on Saharawi women, who were peacefully protesting, disrobing them on public streets, as well as harassing and threatening them to rape in public. A thing constitutes a serious case of recklessness, irritability and the decomposition of minimal human ethics and tolerance of Islam," wrote the President of the Republic.

He went on saying that there are several reports and testimonies of victims, which were documented by several international rights organizations and media, including some Moroccan media, described the scandal of Moroccan state on March 23rd, 2013 as an evil that is greater than be tolerated, under any pretext whatsoever, adding that it will, without a doubt, constitute another stain on the forehead of Moroccan state, which has consistently committed heinous crimes against Saharawi civilians over the years of conflict.

The letter pointed out that these crimes began by throwing civilians from airplanes, burying or burning collectively people and flinging them in mass graves, or shelling them with the napalm and phosphorus ,which are internationally banned, not to mention kidnapping and forcibly hiding them for decades, raping them, women and men, in the prison cells and interrogation rooms.

"You may, Your Majesty, not aware or have not noticed that verbal abuse on women in the Saharawi culture is a major sin and reason enough to bring down the recipe manhood, in its real dimension as a group of value, for men, let alone physically assaulting her to the extent of erosion as well as sexual assault and harassment in public, as did your representatives in Western Sahara," stated the letter.

"Throughout the ages, the Saharawis have inherited a deep-rooted national culture which gave women her complete freedom and the position she deserves as a pivotal element in the life of the family and community, reinforced absolutely against all forms of verbal and physical violence by upholding the values of chivalry, deep-rooted courage and teachings of the Islamic religion, which are supposed that we all share," it added.

"Those who target Saharawi women, given the sacredness of their honuor and dignity for Saharawi man, only deepen the gap of spacing and estrangement and implant the reasons for disharmony and stick in with the knives of hatred in the body of peaceful coexistence between peoples," said Mr. Mohamed Abdelaziz.

"But on the other hand, he makes gross mistake when he thinks that targeting the Saharawis, by continuing to torture them, a useful approach to twist their arms and affect their willingness to sacrifice for their legitimate national rights to freedom and independence," he pointed out.

"The Saharawis, in particular women, are aware that the invaders since the era of ignorance, through the wars of empires and modern colonial experiences, have resorted to the use of captivity, rape and sexual harassment as a key weapon to control the oppressed peoples, before they acknowledged, in the end, that the flood of freedom in the depths of struggled peoples is stronger and more lasting than the algae of injustice and exploitation no matter how harsh it is," he underlined.

"If you just contemplate in the testimony of that Saharawi woman, as she pulls herself together under the feet of one of your men in the city of El Aaiun, to scream in his face: "as for me I want my land". This scream, in itself, carry an eloquent pleading that summarizes the scene of the ongoing conflict and reality of the explosive human rights crisis in the occupied territories of Western Sahara," he noted.

"The activist Mrs. Sharifa, which is full of patriotism and willing to sacrifice every precious thing for the sublimity of her people, has an even stronger, noble and more lasting reason to continue the struggle, namely the land, whereas Moroccan security man has no goal except practicing the repression, with extremely villainous and dirty methods. I think this does not honour you as a king of Morocco, and does not honour the brotherly Moroccan people which are known for his nobility, courage and good morals," asserted the Secretary General of the POLISARIO Front.

"Thus, you should assume responsibility to carry the officers and soldiers of your army, police and security apparatus, whom you send to the occupied Western Sahara, to stop committing such shameful and scandalous behavior against the defenseless Saharawi women, children and elderly on your own behalf," he concluded.