The Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA) organised on Friday 13 April 2012 in front of the French Consulate in Melbourne a protest under the slogan: human rights for Western Sahara – the time is now!
Some of the protesters were dressed as the three monkeys which embody the proverbial principle to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. They represent the way in which the United Nations has turned a blind eye to human rights abuses in occupied Western Sahara, most notably, France
The famous comedian and political activist Mark Thomas attended the protest and spoke to the gathering. He also along with Ron Guy, member of AWSA presented a letter to the French Consul addressed to the French Government (see text attached).
In his speech to the gathering Mr. Thomas said that France has an opportunity to do the right thing and show that it is truly a country that respects human rights by allowing the UN to include human rights monitoring in the mandate of its mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
In the letter presented to the French Consulate, AWSA stated that “as part of an international action calling the United Nations to monitor human rights abuses in Western Sahara, we urge France to vote in favour of adding this responsibility to the mandate of MINURSO, the UN mission for a referendum in Western Sahara.”
It is worth recalling that Ms. Lyn Allison, AWSA’s president, had sent a letter on 26 March 2012 to the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, with copies to the 15 Security Council members. A copy of her letter can be seen on http://awsa.org.au/?p=833.
In her letter to Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Ms Allison stated “You will be aware that MINURSO – the UN mission in Western Sahara – is the only UN peacekeeping mission established since 1978 without a mandate to monitor human rights. This means that Morocco has been able, with impunity, to occupy Western Sahara and subject the Saharawis to arbitrary arrest, disappearances, false imprisonment, unfair trials, torture and the death penalty.” And added “ I write to urge you…to press for human rights monitoring to be included to protect the civilian population there. The measures adopted last year have proved completely inadequate and ineffective.
AWSA’s Press release: