sexta-feira, 24 de outubro de 2008

Statement on Western Sahara to the Special Political and Decolonization Committee

Miss Cynthia Basinet
Nobel nominated Singer and actress

7th, October 2008

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen

I want to take you somewhere. Somewhere for as far as the eye can see, the eyes see sand; if the eyes could open to see. For the wind so grave, the sand’s silica cuts carcinogenic slivers through even the slimmest of squints.

The heat so blistering that nothing can shield you from the ever increasing temperatures due to global warming; now reaching beyond 125 degrees.

This somewhere that despite having a nomadic soul, you are confined and can travel no more.

The Sahrawian people have a sacramental right reinforced by the 1991 UN Peace accord to be a part of this unity.

We have a moral responsibility to honor this code. We have a moral responsibility as stewards of the Sahrawian People.

There must be a shift in heart not just policy.

We, as petitioners stand here today and have made this pilgrimage, as we have in the past and as have others before us on behalf the Sahrawian people to continue to present their plight.

I am deeply concerned as should we all, on the effects of dependency on international aid minus commerce for the Sahrawians.

I am deeply concerned that issues of fatigue, frustration, nutritional deficiencies, lack of proper drinking water and the discrediting of viable traditional health system.

With malnutrition it seems that the minimum energy requirements were met but that very low amounts of riboflavin, vitamin C, calcium, iron and vitamin A were available.

In 2004. Bleeding gums, a sign of scurvy was present in 27.4% of the 15-49 year old non-pregnant women examined; night blindness, a sign of vitamin A deficiency, was reported by 20.6% of the women and goiters were detected in 6.4% of them. Goiters were more likely to be due to an excess of iodine than to iodine deficiency. The survey conducted in 2002, reported extremely high urinary iodine excretion in adolescents. Iodine content of water was analyzed during the present survey and was found to be high to extremely high, depending on the source of water. The highest concentration of iodine can even cause toxicity problems.*

Anemia, diabetes, tuberculosis, stunting, acute malnutrition and the list goes on.

The most common illnesses are diarrhea in the summer and respiratory infections in the winter. In addition to all this, a large number of the children are deaf or hard of hearing due to winds, sand and untreated diseases like meningitis.

They need the training of specialist teachers and systematic checks on children’s hearing.

And yet, with all they have not, a study in 1998 found that 90% of the population have attended school and are literate. What other society can claim this same feat?

I am deeply concerned over landmine explosions. Just this past year claimed the lives of 8 year old Fatima Bent Ibrahim. Hours earlier Mohamed Jourmani, a mayor died in a similar blast.

My friend, whose name I cannot mention for his protection, bears a story shared with so many of his countrymen. He, a Sahrawian living abroad in Warsaw did nothing to be driven from his homeland at age 8. Arriving after months of sufferance to the camps at Tindourf. His sister was only 2 when their father died. Their mother still alive in the camps lives with his two sisters and brother. His oldest sister has a very serious disease that is untreatable in the camps.

He tells me of how the cost of food items can rival that of Europe. That camel meat costs about 4 euro ($7), a Kilo of potatoes and Milk equally prohibitively expensive.

But my heart is most touched by his kindness and goodness.

That of his wanting for so long to take a wife and have a family.

Many nights in Warsaw filled with despair upon returning home from a day’s work, alone.

A feeling shared by many… only he did finally marry and now has a beautiful and spirited 3 year old daughter but he is unable to bring them to join him in Warsaw.

He is unable because the Western Sahara is not recognized by the UN nor are documents and passports.

They say when one prospers, another falls. Why?

We must realize it takes all facets to make the world, a diamond.

The Sahrawian peoples’ strength of living in self-determination is not only an example for but to all.

We have brokered peace in the region due to the Sahrawians. This must be encouraged, not the reverse.

We must look beyond traditional methods of aid. We must look to the private sector to partner with this aid with commerce.

The governing body of the United Nations cannot continue to standby and watch an entire society be slowly delineated from the human map of the world.

You, who are the chosen few – the ambassadors that unite nations must stand up and be accountable.

We must see that micro-economics be encouraged within the camps. We must see that the water is drinkable. We must see to this as the Sahrawians are a needed and viable part of our world.

Thank you for your time.

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