Category Archives: Human Rights

Physical assault and sexual harassment of woman human rights defender Sultana Khaya and her family

Front Line Defenders, 25 August 2021

Sultana Khaya

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.

Full report

Open Letter to UN Security Council and to the UN Secretary-General New York

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.

Letter from New York Support Group to UN

President of CODESA and his 2 colleagues kidnapped from Khaya family’s house

10 May 2021

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.

Sultana Khaya – YouTube video

UN human rights expert decries “clampdown” on human rights defenders

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.)

OHCHR report of Moroccan human rights abuses

Intergroup for Western Sahara in EU send urgent letter for protection of Saharawi poulation in the occupied territories

porunsaharalibre 26 February, 2021

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.

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Front Line Defenders Statement condemns increasing harassment by Moroccan authorities

Front Line Defenders, 17 February 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.)

Frontline Defenders Statement

Western Sahara Independence Activist Sultana Khaya Assaulted by Moroccan Police

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…)

DemocracyNow report

ACTU joins call for a referendum on the self-determination for Western Sahara

5 February 2021

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has reaffirmed its solidarity with the people of Western Sahara and joined unions around the world in calling for the:

  • immediate release of all Saharawi political prisoners in Moroccan jails and the end the repression of Saharawi population in the occupied areas;
  • the withdrawal of the Moroccan occupying troops and the dismantling of the military berm (wall) erected by Morocco;
  • end of the illegal plunder of the Saharawi natural resources.

Supporting documents

UN Experts Urge Morocco to Release Imprisoned Sahrawi Journalist

7 February 2021
Citing Torture and Lack of Judicial Independence, UN Experts Urge Morocco to Release Imprisoned Sahrawi Journalist

Screenshot of a video showing policemen severely beating two activists in Smara, Western Sahara, on June 7, 2019

On 7 June 2019, videos began to circulate showing Moroccan police brutally beating up a Saharawi journalist in occupied Western Sahara. Today, an UN opinion calling for his release from prison was made public.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for the immediate release of the young Saharawi journalist Walid Salek El Batal in a decision made public today. The opinion was issued during the 89th session of the Working Group and can be found here.

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