The UN General Assembly 4th Committee adopted, on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014, in New York, without vote, a draft resolution on the Moroccan Sahara issue, presented by its Chairman, Ambassador of Nepal to the United Nations Mr. Durga Prasad Bhattarai.
The General Assembly "supports the process of negotiations, initiated by resolution 1754 (2007), with a view of achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution" and commends the efforts made in this regard, underlines the resolution, similar to that of last year.
The resolution calls notably the States of the region to cooperate fully with the efforts undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations, and with each other, in the search for a mutually acceptable political solution to the regional dispute over the Sahara.
The resolution also calls upon the parties to continue to show political will and to work in an atmosphere that is suitable for dialogue in order to get involved, in good faith and without preconditions, in a more intensive phase of negotiations, taking note of the efforts and developments achieved since 2006, thus, ensuring the implementation of the abovementioned Security Council resolutions.
The UN General Assembly, thus, supports the Security Council’s approach, since the adoption of the resolution 1754 (2007), with reference to the presentation by Morocco of its autonomy initiative for the Sahara region, which was welcomed by the Executive Body and the entire international community, as a serious and credible initiative for the final settlement of the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.
Several observers will notice, first, "the substantial support by several countries, particularly in Africa," to the autonomy initiative presented by Morocco, in April 2007, perceived as the "unique viable framework for the final settlement".
Speaking before the members of the United Nations, who met under the 4th Committee, the Kingdom’s Ambassador Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr. Omar Hilale stated, on Tuesday at UN headquarters, in New York, that Morocco "sees no alternative to the negotiation of the Autonomy Initiative "in the Sahara.
“It is not a take it or leave it initiative. It is negotiable, amendable and could be improved. However, it cannot be ruled out, or put aside or substituted by any other proposal," insisted the ambassador before the UN members, who met under the 4th Commission.
This Initiative, specified Mr. Hilale, is the result of a national process of inclusive and participative consultations, involving all political, economic, social and academic stakeholders as well as the genuine representatives of the population, living in the southern provinces, in their tribal, generational and gender components; which gives it an "unquestionable and unwavering national legitimacy", he stressed.
It has also been subject of intense and deep discussions with Morocco’s regional and international partners. In fact, he noted, the Security Council described the initiative as "serious" and "credible" in its successive resolutions since 2007, thus, confirming “its pre-eminence as an appropriate solution" to this regional dispute. For Mr. Hilale, the UN Security Council's support to this Initiative "is neither accidental nor coincidental."
It expresses, in fact, the "conviction of UN Security Council that the autonomy proposal meets fully the fundamental parameters, which it has established for the final settlement of the dispute. These parameters confirm that the solution can be but political, negotiated and based on realism and the spirit of compromise. "
He also explained that the initiative Autonomy is "political", because it will be ultimately a question of “a political agreement between all stakeholders, the content and scope of which transcend any narrow interpretation of self-determination". It is "negotiable because the final result will be the outcome of a negotiation process, the mutually acceptable result of which will be binding for all parties." It is "realistic, because it stems from the win-win pragmatic approach” and “compromise”, in the sense that it "disposes of the initial maximalist positions of the parties."
"This Audacious initiative gives the local population much larger prerogatives than in several autonomy systems currently implemented in Europe, Asia and the Americas, for its executive, legislative and judicial bodies. In addition to its irreversible aspect, rooted in the Constitution and confirmed by a national referendum, "said the ambassador.
"With all due respect to misinformation followers, this Initiative will satisfy the principle of self-determination, through the presentation of the agreement negotiated and accepted by all parties, for a referendum by the Sahara population, in accordance with its Article 27, " said Mr. Hilale, inviting " those who still have doubts about Morocco’s good faith to read it carefully, instead of sticking to their prejudgements regarding my country. »
"It is thanks to the presentation by Morocco of the Autonomy Initiative that the ongoing political negotiations process was re-launched, after four years of stalemate," noted Mr. Hilale, deploring that "unfortunately, instead of seizing this real opportunity, getting seriously involved in substantive discussions on the Moroccan proposal, and showing realism and a spirit of compromise, as requested by the Security Council, the other parties have stuck to their outdated positions, trying to resurrect, through so-called proposals, outdated plans whose inapplicability has been clearly stressed, both by UN Secretary General and the Security Council ".
He added that, the kingdom, for its part, "remains involved in the process to achieve a negotiated political solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, under the auspices of the Security Council, within the framework of its prerogatives under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, relating to the peaceful settlement of disputes”.
The parameters established by the Security Council in its successive resolutions since 2007, constitute the "base, the basis and the unique frame" governing the facilitation led "exclusively" by the United Nations. "Any deviation from these parameters will seriously be detrimental to the whole process," warned the ambassador, speaking before the representatives gathered under UN General Assembly 4th Committee.
He indicated, moreover, that this Commission is held, this year, within a regional and international context marked, in particular, by an "unprecedented rise" of terrorism and radicalism in North Africa, the Sahel and the Middle East.
"From Asia, to the Middle East, to Africa, these cross-border perils challenge us in this Commission, because they threaten our countries and even the fate and the existence of some States as nations. Some boundaries are being demarcated. Some terrorist entities are in the process of replacing some states. Some peoples are taken as hostages. "
To overcome these security challenges, he pursued, it has "become of utmost importance for the Maghreb and Sahel-Saharan regions to settle their regional disputes, solve their internal conflicts, preserve the national unity and the territorial integrity of states, and especially ban balkanization and prevent connections between terrorist networks and the desperate refugees of camps.” "More than ever, the imperatives of security and stability of our states are red lines, against any consideration or principle of any nature whatsoever," he said.
In this context of global turbulences and security uncertainties in Africa, he continued, Morocco, "the only haven of peace and stability in the region, remains, more than ever convinced of the need to achieve a negotiated political solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, so that our region protects itself against the exploitation, by terrorist and radical networks, of this regional conflict, which has lasted too long. »
He reminded that the Security Council emphasized, in several resolutions, namely 2152, adopted last April that "the political settlement of this longstanding dispute and the strengthening of cooperation between the members States of the Arab Maghreb Union would contribute to stability and security in the Sahel region. »
While reiterating "Morocco’s irreversible commitment to continue negotiations to reach a negotiated mutually acceptable political solution, to this regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara," he noted that the "re-launch of the construction of the Arab Maghreb, a dream of several generations, requires dialogue and cooperation among the five countries of the region, to promote the economic and social development of these countries and allow them to join forces against terrorists and obscurantists, who threaten our region ".
He concluded that these "crucial and fundamental objectives for all our peoples should prevail over any other consideration, for the future of our region and the neighbouring areas both in the North and South."
Furthermore, the Ambassador stressed that Morocco deplores the "silence" of the international community on the situation of "lawlessness" that prevails in Tindouf camps, and regrets that the host country "continues to oppose the census "he said, on Tuesday, at the UN headquarters in New York.
Morocco notes with regret that the "international community remains silent on the lawlessness that prevails" in Tindouf camps, where people are deprived of their basic rights, including those relating to freedom of movement, to association and to freedom of expression, and even to life, said the Ambassador.
These populations "are forced to live in militarized camps, under the control of a military movement, for which neither the law nor the international conventions recognize any attribute or authority," noted Mr. Hilale, adding that this situation "causes frustration and protests, regularly reported by the international media, and which the camp leaders try, unsuccessfully, to silence by repression and terror. "
Morocco also regrets, the diplomat pursued, that the host country "continues to oppose the camps population census, while it should allow it; which demands action from the international community.
"The Security Council called upon the UNHCR, in its successive resolutions, to undertake this statutory obligation. Populations in Tindouf camps are the only ones in the world who are neither counted nor registered. Nobody knows the number exact of this population, "reminded Mr. Hilale.
Since the "recovery of the southern provinces," the Moroccan government, for its part, "made a huge effort, taking full account of the specificities of the region and the claims of its people, to ensure to them comprehensive and integrated sustainable development, "he stressed.
Thanks to an "effort of national solidarity, real progress has been made in terms of human development, the establishment of basic economic and social infrastructures and those of fighting against inequalities in the Sahara region. This allowed the region to achieve the highest social indicators at the national level, with a regional gross domestic product higher than the national average, "he said.
In parallel, and as part of the advanced regionalization policy incorporated in the new constitution, Morocco has implemented a new model for the development of these provinces, upon the recommendation of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council. This new model aims, in particular, at promoting and strengthening human development, full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, protection of the environment, good governance, democracy and gender equality, in the Sahara.
Regarding the issue of Human Rights, Ambassador stressed that "in accordance with its irrefutable choice for the promotion and protection of human rights, throughout the territory of Morocco, from Tangiers to Lagouira" and in conformity with the calls of the Security Council resolutions, Morocco has continued to strengthen the actions and role of the National Council for Human Rights, particularly its Regional Commissions in Laayoune and Dakhla. «which has been commended by the Security Council in resolution 2152," noted Mr. Hilale.
Morocco continues irreversibly its openness on the mechanisms of human rights. Thus, it received and still receives, including in the Sahara, visits of a large number of special procedures of the Council of Human Rights. Similarly, hundreds of NGOs, parliamentary delegations, diplomats and journalists visit, each year, with no restrictions, the southern provinces of the Kingdom, he said.
The former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mrs Navanethem Pillay, herself, carried out in May, at the invitation of Morocco, a successful working visit to Morocco.
In fact, he concluded that Ms. Pillay said that in the last 13 years, since the last visit to this country by a United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Morocco has made a great obvious progress towards a better promotion and protection of human rights. "
The work of the fourth committee was marked by the intervention of petitioners from the five continents, on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara.
Many interventions have focused on the deplorable living conditions of the Sahrawi refugees in the Tindouf camps in Algeria. The petitioners drew, in particular, attention to the distress of the young people, in these camps, which makes it a fertile ground for recruitment by terrorist groups and a conducive ground for organized crime, which are both flourishing in the region. They also drew attention to the vulnerable situation of women and children.
Others have accused the "Polisario" of diverting the international humanitarian aid, namely through the overestimation of the number of refugees in the camps or the sale of these products, instead of their distribution for free.
Besides this, the Moroccan autonomy proposal was considered to be the best solution to the conflict over the Moroccan Sahara and the best way to ensure the well being of the population.