Question of Western Sahara

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/5


The Commission on Human Rights,

Having considered the question of Western Sahara,

Reaffirming the inalienable right of all peoples to self-determination and independence, in accordance with the principles set forth in the Charter of the United Nations and in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,

Recalling its earlier resolutions, the latest of which is resolution 1996/6 of 11 April 1996,

Recalling also the agreement in principle given on 30 August 1988 by the Kingdom of Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Río de Oro to the proposals of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the then Chairman of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity, in the framework of their joint mission of good offices,

Recalling further Security Council resolutions 658 (1990) of 27 June 1990 and 690 (1991) of 29 April 1991, by which the Council approved the settlement plan for Western Sahara,

Recalling all the Security Council resolutions relating to the question of Western Sahara, in particular resolutions 621 (1988) of 20 September 1988, 725 (1991) of 31 December 1991, 809 (1993) of 2 March 1993, 907 (1994) of 29 March 1994, 973 (1995) of 13 January 1995, 995 (1995) of 26 May 1995, 1002 (1995) of 30 June 1995, 1017 (1995) of 22 September 1995, 1033 (1995) of 19 December 1995 and 1042 (1996) of 31 January 1996, as well as all the General Assembly resolutions relating to the question of Western Sahara,

Recalling with satisfaction the entry into force of the ceasefire in Western Sahara on 6 September 1991, in accordance with the proposal of the Secretary-General, and stressing the importance it attaches to the maintenance of the ceasefire as an integral part of the settlement plan,

Reaffirming the responsibility of the United Nations towards the people of Western Sahara, as provided for in the settlement plan,

Taking note of Security Council resolution 1056 (1996) of 29 May 1996, by which the Council decided to suspend the work of the Identification Commission and supported the proposal of the Secretary-General to reduce the strength of the military component of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, owing to the absence of progress in the implementation of the settlement plan,

Seriously concerned about the risks that this impasse poses for the implementation process of the settlement plan for the holding of a free, fair and impartial referendum for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara and for the peace and stability of the region,

Stressing the importance and usefulness of direct talks between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Río de Oro in order to create the atmosphere of mutual confidence necessary for overcoming the obstacles to the implementation of the settlement plan,

Recalling that the General Assembly has examined the relevant chapter of the report of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (A/51/23 (Part V), chap. IX),

Having also examined the report of the Secretary-General (A/51/428),

1. Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General;

2. Reiterates its support for further efforts of the Secretary-General for the organization and supervision by the United Nations, in cooperation with the Organization of African Unity, of a referendum for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, in conformity with Security Council resolutions 658 (1990) and 690 (1991), by which the Council adopted the settlement plan for Western Sahara;

3. Reaffirms that the goal on which all were agreed consists of the holding of a free, fair and impartial referendum for the people of Western Sahara, organized and conducted by the United Nations, in cooperation with the Organization of African Unity and without any military or administrative constraints, in conformity with the settlement plan;

4. Expresses its serious concern about the persistent obstacles to the implementation of the settlement plan;

5. Notes that the General Assembly has taken note of Security Council resolution 1056 (1996), by which the Council decided to suspend the identification process and supported the proposal of the Secretary-General to reduce the strength of the military component of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, owing to the absence of progress in the implementation of the settlement plan;

6. Reaffirms the responsibility of the United Nations towards the people of Western Sahara, as provided for in the settlement plan, and in this regard fully subscribes to the commitment of the Security Council and the Secretary-General concerning the fulfilment of their respective mandates, consisting of the holding of a free, fair and impartial referendum for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara;

7. Declares its conviction of the importance and usefulness of direct contacts between the two parties, with a view to overcoming their differences and creating propitious conditions for the speedy and effective implementation of the settlement plan, and encourages in this regard the Kingdom of Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Río de Oro to start direct talks as soon as possible;

8. Notes that the General Assembly has requested the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples to continue to consider the situation in Western Sahara, bearing in mind the ongoing referendum process, and to report thereon to the Assembly at its fifty-second session;

9. Decides to follow the development of the situation in Western Sahara and to consider the question at its fifty-fourth session, as a matter of high priority, under the agenda item entitled "The right of peoples to self-determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation".

26th meeting
26 March 1997

[Adopted without a vote.  See chap. VII.]


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