By Amit Dadon, Janna Ramadan Lawfareblog.com, September 21, 2021
U.N. Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) conduct a ceasefire monitoring patrol near Oum Dreyga.
Photo credit: UN Photo/Martine Perret via Flickr; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
In December 2020, then-President Trump drastically broke from established U.S. policy, international consensus, and U.N. resolutions to formally recognize Morocco’s control of Western Sahara in a quid pro quo for Morocco to normalize relations with Israel.
So far President Biden has done nothing to reverse this policy……Implicitly allowing and abetting continued violations of Sahrawi rights and international law diminishes the Biden administration’s credibility when it criticizes abuses committed by other countries. (cont.)
On 22 August 2021, Moroccan security agents raided the house of woman human rights defender Sultana Khaya and physically assaulted her, her sister Laura Khaya and other members of her family. The security agents destroyed the furniture in Sultana Khaya’s house, causing damage to parts of the house and seizing the family’s belongings. Sultana Khaya and her sister were also subjected to sexual harassment by male security agents during the raid.
New York Support Group for the Independence of Western Sahara
New York, 1 September 2021
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the deployment of the first MINURSO contingent in Western Sahara, the New York Support Group for the Independence of Western Sahara with its 298 member-organisations, including Australia Western Sahara Association, recalls the terms of the Settlement Plan submitted jointly by the UN Secretary-General and the Chairman of the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, and approved by the Security Council. The plan provided that “the people of Western Sahara will choose, freely and democratically, between independence and integration with Morocco” and that “The referendum should be held 24 weeks after the cease-fire comes into effect”.
Rather than 24 weeks, It is now 30 years since that cease-fire Settlement Plan was approved and still there is no resolution of the conflict. This excellent letter identifies the reasons MINURSO and the UN are failing in their mission.
On the morning of 10 May 2021 Moroccan occupying forces broke into the house of Khaya family in Boujdour/occupied Western Sahara.
They captured the President of the Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders in Western Sahara – CODESA, Babouzaid Mohamed Saeed (34 years) and his two colleagues (Khalid Boufraywa and Salec babir).
The whole family was living under house arrest and constant terror for more than 5 months.
The aftermath of this harrowing and brutal incident was captured in this short video made by the HR activist Sultana Khaya.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
GENEVA (1 July 2021)
Morocco must stop targeting human rights defenders and journalists standing up for human rights issues related to Western Sahara, and allow them to work without reprisals, Mary Lawlor, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, said today.
“I urge the Government of Morocco to cease targeting human rights defenders and journalists for their work, and to create an environment in which they can carry out such work without fear of retaliation,” she said. (cont.)
New York Bar Association online event, 15 April, 2021
Panelists included : Ambassador John Bolton, Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations and Ambassador Christopher Ross, former Personal Envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General for Western Sahara (2009 to 2017).
PUSL.-On 26th of February the Intergroup for Western Sahara in the European Parliament sent an urgent letter voicing their concern regarding the increasing repression in the occupied territory of Western Sahara, the Intergroup for Western Sahara at the European Parliament expresses its solidarity with the Saharawi human rights defenders and political activists under attack and calls for an urgent and robust response from the EU and the Member States.
In the letter the Intergroup higlights the cases of Sultana Khaya and her family, Ghali Bouhalla and Nafaa Botasofra in arbitrary detention, and Mohamed Lamin Haddi political prisoner of the Gdeim Izik Group in hunger strike since 13th January 2021.
Statement – Western Sahara: Ongoing harassment and intimidation against Sahrawi human rights defenders
“Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the increasing harassment by the Moroccan authorities against Sahrawi human rights defenders living in Western Sahara over the last few months which include physical surveillance on prominent human rights defenders, the use excessive force to disperse peaceful protests, the mistreatment of imprisoned human rights defenders and the imposition of arbitrary disciplinary measures against human rights defenders in their employment. (cont.)
DemocracyNow!, Feb 16, 2021
In the Morocco-occupied Western Sahara, renowned Sahrawi activist Sultana Khaya was brutally assaulted last weekend by Moroccan agents in her home in the city of Boujdour, where she and her entire family have been held under house arrest since last November 19, days after the renewal of armed conflict in the territory.
On February 13, Sultana was waving a large flag from her rooftop (cont…)