Category Archives: Human Rights

US Senators letter to The Honorable Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State

The letter dated October 14, 2021 from a group of US Senators urges the State Department to prioritize engagement with the Moroccan government about human rights abuses, …

October 14, 2021
The letter concludes:
“The United States must be an advocate for human rights around the world. Yet, concerning abuses by Moroccan authorities, especially against Sahrawis, the administration has said little publicly. We urge you to reaffirm the right of the people of Western Sahara to self- determination, and to advocate for the release of political prisoners and protect freedom of expression for every Moroccan and Sahrawi.”

Online panel discussion: UN’s responsibility towards Western Sahara, Tuesday 12 October, 7pm (AEST)

Australia Western Sahara Association hosted this fantastic panel of Australian and international guests to discuss the United Nations role in the Western Sahara conflict

Panellists:

  • Jeremy Corbyn MP – Former Leader of the UK Labour Party
  • Francesco Bastagli – Former Head of the UN Mission in Western Sahara, MINURSO, and UN representative in Western Sahara
  • Senator Tim Ayres – Labor Senator for NSW
  • Golriz Ghahraman MP – Green Party of Aotearoa NZ
  • Kamal Fadel – Polisario Front Representative in Australia and New Zealand
  • Moderator Lyn Allison – Former VIC Australian Democrats Senator

When: Tuesday 12 October 2021
Time:  7pm  – Sydney (AEST)

The event was recorded for AWSA’s Facebook page

Frente POLISARIO press release: The appointment by the UN Secretary-General of Mr Staffan de Mistura as his new Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.

New Personal Envoy, Mr. Staffan de Mistura.

Bir Lehlou, Sahrawi Republic, 6 October 2021

The Press release stressed that “the only way forward to achieve a peaceful, just, and enduring solution to the decolonisation of Western Sahara is to enable the Sahrawi people to exercise freely and democratically their inalienable and non-negotiable right to self-determination and independence in accordance with the precepts of international legality and relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the African Union.”

Press Release, 6 October 2021

Western Sahara, the Biden Administration and Human Rights

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.)

Lawfareblog article

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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