The abominable discrimination of Antonio Guterres in Western Sahara

by Haddamin Moulud Said

When in 1991, the Frente POLISARIO and the Kingdom of Morocco signed the ceasefire agreement under UN auspices, an impermeable military wall crossed Western Sahara territory from the northeastern tip to the Atlantic, at the southwestern tip.

At the time, in the extreme south-west of the territory, Morocco had a check point located more than 15 kilometers north of its position nowadays.

With the approval of MINURSO and in an clear violation of the Ceasefire, Morocco went gradually stealing more land to locate the aforementioned checkpoint in its current position, that is to say, less than five kilometers from the Mauritanian border.

Already in 2001, once Morocco began opening the illegal breach in the Wall, building a road that would end in Mauritanian border, the UN and some Member States objected. In the fifth paragraph of his report of 04/24/2001 (S / 2001/398), UN Secretary General states that “his Special Representative, William Eagleton, and the Force Commander, General Claude Buze, warned their Moroccan civilian and military contacts that the planned construction of the road raised difficult issues and involved activities that could constitute violations of the ceasefire agreement ”. This way, they made Morocco refrain from building the intended road.

Later, in its report of 06/20/2001 (S / 2001/613), paragraph eight, the Secretary General, affirms that “in mid-May, when it was revealed that construction works had resumed, MINURSO and several Member States contacted the Moroccan authorities and requested them to re-suspend the construction of the road ”.

But suddenly, MINURSO allowed Morocco to build the road, in that southwestern tip and allowed transit from the occupied territory to Mauritania, while no other passage was allowed for the transit of Saharawis themselves from one side of their own territory to the other, perpetuating the division of a territory for more than 45 years. 

 In other words, MINURSO has allowed Morocco to open an illegal breach in the Wall. And since then, MINURSO has assumed the role of a guardian of the looting of the Territory´s natural resources through that illegal breach. Inexplicably, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, in an unconceivable violation of the territory´s legal status, calls it “ordinary goods freights”, as reflected in the Epigraph of his Observations and Recommendations, paragraph 83 of his report of 10/10/2019 (S / 2019/787).

If, as A. Guterres affirms, we are dealing with “ordinary goods freight”, then why the former Special Representative, William Eagleton, and the Commander of the Force, General Claude Buze, interceded with Morocco in order to desist from building that highway? Why some Security Council Permanent Member States managed to dissuade Morocco from building that road in 2001?

What has happened so what previously was a "violation of the Ceasefire" has become, now,”ordinary goods freight"? The only thing that happened is that Mr. Antonio Gueterres has become the new Secretary General of the UN.

Antonio Guterres became President of the Government of Portugal in 1995 and promoted the reform of the Portuguese constitution which was adopted during his presidency of the government in 1997, including the following article:

Article 293. 

(Self-determination and independence of East Timor)Portugal remains bound by its responsibilities, in accordance with the international law, to promote and guarantee East Timor's right to self-determination and independence.
2. It is the responsibility of the President of the Republic and the Government to carry out all acts necessary to achieve the objectives expressed in the previous paragraph.

What is the reason behind Antonio Guterres being so determined against Indonesia and Australia in defense of Timor Leste and, contrary to that, in the case of the Western Sahara, positioning himself so blatantly in favor of Morocco? The only reason to explain such attitude is that the Timorese, like Guterres, are Christians and the Sahrawis are Muslims instead. It has never been seen before that a UN Secretary General had displayed similar levels of discrimination based on the religion of the victims.

But the UN must acknowledge that neither the POLISARIO nor anyone else can continue boosting the confidence of Saharawi public opinion in an organization which has proved to be unable to organize a referendum for less than half a million people, and, in addition, covers the back of the occupying power, allowing it to continue violating the Ceasefire and to gain more ground to keep plundering the natural resources of the said people.

For the Saharawi public opinion, the closing of the illegal breach of El Guerguerat has become a sine qua non condition to continue placing trust in the peace process auspiced by UN.

And taking into account that the Sahrawi people are fully legitimated to take up arms against foreign occupation, it should also be clear that they are undoubtedly entitled to demonstrate for the closing of Elgargarat illegal breach.

If Morocco managed to make MINURSO become the guardian of its occupation of Western Sahara and be the cover of an illegal breach, the fact that Sahrawis demonstrate demanding the closure of such illegal gap should not pose too much questions to understand its meaning.

After all, the only thing the Sahrawis are demanding is to reverse the role of MINURSO so that, instead of covering Morocco's back, protecting an illegal breach, proceeds to its closure.

The surfeit of Saharawi public opinion regarding the collusion of MINURSO with the illegal breach of El Guerguerat is fully motivated due to, in order to dilute the crisis in 2017, the Polisario withdrew its militarily presence from the area, carrying under the arms the UN's promise of sending a Mission of Experts to study and resolve the issue of the illegal breach of El Guerguerat. However, three years later, there are no signs of existence of such Commission and it has not showed up on the ground.

The UN and its Secretary General are fully responsible of what could derive from the frustration and anger of a people, rightfully, tired of waiting.

Haddamin Moulud Said 
27 de septiembre de 2020. 

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