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Thursday, 26 September 2002
Page: 4954

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (9.39 a.m.)—At the request of Senator Allison, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) United Nations (UN) efforts to accomplish the decolonisation process in Western Sahara have not been successful yet,

(ii) more than 165 000 Saharawis have been living in refugee camps in the south-west of Algeria for the past 27 years in dire conditions, waiting to return to their homeland which is occupied by Morocco,

(iii) the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1429 on 30 July 2002 and asked the UN Secretary-General and his personal envoy to continue their efforts to provide a genuine opportunity for the Saharawi people to exercise their right to self-determination,

(iv) the mandate of the UN mission for the organisation of a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara expires on 31 January 2003,

(v) the only just, legal and lasting solution to the conflict in the Western Sahara is the organisation of a free and fair referendum to allow the Saharawi people to exercise their right to self-determination, in accordance with the UN/Organisation of African Union peace plan, and

(vi) a failure by the UN to implement the peace plan would compromise UN credibility and lead to further instability in north-west Africa;

(b) calls on both parties in the conflict, Morocco and the Frente Polisario, to cooperate fully with the UN in its efforts to organise a free and fair referendum in Western Sahara; and

(c) urges the Commonwealth Government to make representations to:

(i) the UN, urging it to proceed in organising the long overdue referendum of self-determination without further delays, and

(ii) the Moroccan Government, asking it to cooperate fully with the UN, to respect human rights in the occupied territories and allow independent observers to visit Western Sahara.

Question agreed to.