'Polisario' violates international law by keeping 408 Moroccans captive, ambassador
Morocco-Algeria, Politics, 5/24/2005
In keeping on detaining 408 Moroccans in the South-West Algerian Tindouf region, the "Polisario" is violating international law and human rights, said Moroccan ambassador to the UNO, Mohamed Bennouna.
At a press conference in UNO Headquarters, held on the occasion of a visit to New York of six Moroccan former detainees in "Polisario" Tindouf camps, Bennouna said the illegality of the detention was highlighted many times by UNSG, Kofi Annan and the UN Security Council.
Bennouna also underscored the Moroccans still kept captive by the Algeria-backed "Polisario" are the oldest detainees in the world, adding that last month the UNSG and a Security Council resolution called once again on the "Polisario" to immediately release the Moroccan detainees.
The Moroccan diplomat said besides the detention, the Moroccans are being tortured, calling the International Community to shoulder responsibility regarding the humanitarian aspect of the Moroccan Sahara issue, adding the political and humanitarian aspects of the issue ought to be separated, for the humanitarian aspect must not be used for political interests. The UN Security Council, said the ambassador, reaffirmed last month its resolve "to help the parties reach a political, fair, lasting and mutually acceptable solution" to the Sahara issue,(a conflict opposing Morocco and "Polisario" for close to three decades and arising from the claim of Polisario to separate the Moroccan Southern provinces from the Motherland after they were retrieved in 1975 from Spanish rule under the Madrid accords.) Taking the floor at the press conference, the six detainees told of the hardships and the inhumane conditions their companions, still held in the Tindouf camps, live day in day out for more than 20 years. The six former detainees said that as long as their 408 companions are still held captive "we wont feel free," for "we have a duty toward them" and called on the International Community to help put and end to the sufferings of the Moroccan detainees.
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