Menneskerettighetsaktivisten Sidi Mohammed Daddach er invitert til Norge for å fortelle om overgrepene i Vest-Sahara. Men marokkanske myndigheter har beslaglagt hans pass, og han er derfor ikke i stand til å forlate hjemlandet. Støttekomiteen for Vest-Sahara krever sammen med 30 andre norske organisasjoner at marokkanske myndigheter øyeblikkelig gir passet tilbake til Daddach og lar ham få fritt reise hvor han vil.
His Excellency, Minister of the Interior M. Chakib Benmoussa Rabat, Morocco Fax: +212 37 76 20 56
Bergen/Oslo, Norway, 2 November 2006
Open letter to the Moroccan government.
Appeal for the return of passport to Mr. Sidi Mohammed Daddach, Western Sahara.
Dear Minister, On Friday November 3 and Saturday November 4, the Norwegian Rafto Foundation celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Award for Human Rights, and all previous award winners are invited to take part. The events are to take place in Bergen, Norway. (See www.rafto.no) There is one important person, however, who may not be able to participate.
Sidi Mohammed Daddach won the Rafto award in 2002 for his struggle for human rights in Western Sahara, a country under Moroccan military occupation. Daddach is a leading advocate for human rights and a highly respected representative of the aspirations of the people of Western Sahara. When announcing the award to Daddach in 2002, the Rafto Foundation stated that “Daddach serves as a symbol for his people’s history of suffering and their fight for independence. Daddach is a moderate voice that can build bridges for the future. Despite having spent more than half his life as a prisoner of conscience, Daddach has never given up the fight for people’s basic rights and for human dignity.” He spent 24 years in Moroccan jails for his beliefs, of which 14 years on death row. He was not released from prison until 2001, after a global campaign for his release.
Daddach received his first passport in November 2002, just in time for the Rafto award ceremony in Bergen, but only after intense pressure from the Norwegian government and civil society. On 27 March 2003, however, Daddach and a dozen other Sahrawi Human Rights activists were detained by Moroccan border police on their way to speak before the United Nations Commission for Human Rights in Geneva and their passports were confiscated. Since then Daddach has demanded to have his passport returned, so far without success.
Dear Minister, we would also like to remind you of the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Mission to Western Sahara and the Refugee Camps in Tindouf, dated 08 September 2006 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sahara-Update/message/1783. Paragraph 36, headed “Freedom of movement” reads:
“Several activists informed the delegation that passports of some Sahrawis have been confiscated by Moroccan officials at international airports, preventing them from traveling abroad (6). The delegation raised this issue with Ministry of Interior officials, who indicated that all such cases, if any existed, would be solved immediately and that people concerned could recover their passports at any time. In Laayoune, the delegation presented a list of nine specific cases of confiscation of passports to the Wali, who indicated that he would inquire about the passports and hand them over to their owners within a few days. However, one month after the mission returned to Geneva, the passports were still withheld.”
We are also aware that the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has brought the issue of Daddach’s passport to your government’s attention on repeated occasions, but has to date not received a clear reply.
Therefore, the undersigned organizations wish to appeal to the government of Morocco to return Daddach’s passport to him and allow him to travel to Norway to participate in the Rafto anniversary celebrations. We sincerely believe that failing to do so would further damage Morocco’s reputation internationally and detract from the image of a country intent on ending entrenched practices of authoritarianism and oppression of voices of dissent.
Daddach’s voice is a moderate and responsible one, demanding respect for the basic rights of his people, but at the same time seeking to build bridges with Moroccan society. There is no legal reason that he should not be allowed to travel to Bergen this weekend, and we believe it is also in Morocco’s best interest to let him travel. You can make it happen by making sure that the passport is to be immediately returned to Daddach, and that no other formal or informal travel restrictions are to be imposed on him. We would also like to stress that it is our opinion that the passport never should have been confiscated in the first place.
Sir, please be assured of our highest consideration and sincere greetings.
The Rafto Foundation (Raftostiftelsen) Norwegian Refugee Council (Flyktninghjelpen, NRC) Norwegian People’s Aid (Norsk Folkehjelp, NPA) Norwegian Church Aid (Kirkens Nødhjelp, NCA) Amnesty International Norway (Amnesty International Norge) Norwegian Association of Students (Studentenes Landsforbund, StL) The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara (Støttekomiteen for Vest- Sahara) The Human Rights House Foundation The Norwegian Council for Africa (Fellesrådet for Afrika) Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH) Future in Our Hands (Fremtiden i våre hender, FIVH) The Norwegian Forum for Environment and Development (Forum for Utvikling og Miljø) The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Den norske Helsingforskomité) Union of Education Norway (Utdanningsforbundet) Norwegian Labour Youth (Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking, AUF) Norwegian Center Youth (Senterungdommen) Young Liberals of Norway (Unge Venstre) Progress Party Youth (Fremskrittspartiet Ungdom, FpU) Norwegian Young Conservatives (Unge Høyres Landsforbund) Socialist Youth Link Norway (Sosialistisk Ungdom, SU) Red Youth Norway (Rød Ungdom, RU) Tvibit Youth Centre Palestine Committee in Tromsø (Palestinakomiteen, Tromsø) Attac Norge (Attac Norway) The Norwegian Council for the Rights of the Kurdish People (Det norske råd for kurdernes rettigheter) Norwegian Tibet Committee (Den norske Tibet Komité) The Norwegian Peace Association (Norges Fredslag) War Resisters International –Norway (Folkereisning mot krig) Trade Union for Industry and Energy (Fagforbundet for industri og energi) The Norwegian Burma Committee (Den norske Burmakomité)
Copy sent to: The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Benaissa The Moroccan Minister of Justice, Mohamed Bouzoubaa Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco, Oslo
The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Rabat, Morocco The Norwegian Delegation to the United Nations, New York The Norwegian Delegation to the United Nations, Geneva
Moroccan and International press Human Rights organizations: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Størstedelen av landet Vest-Sahara har vært okkupert av Marokko siden 1975. Siden da har flertallet av befolkningen bodd i flyktningleirer i Algerie. De som ble igjen i hjemlandet utsettes for alvorlige overgrep fra marokkanske okkupasjonsmyndigheter. I over 40 år har de ventet på at deres rett til selvbestemmelse skal innfris.