Category Archives: Human Rights

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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Important resolution adopted by EU Greens during the 32nd European Green Party Council

At the EU Green Party conference held 2-6 December 2020 the following resolution was adopted in response to the recent military action by Morocco and the end of the ceasefire:

View EU Greens Resolution

Adopted Resolution, Subject to proofreading
“For an EU that acts in support of peace and the right to self-determination in Western Sahara

The military operation by Morocco on the 13th Nov in the village of Al Guerguerat in Western
Sahara, and the subsequent end to the ceasefire that had been in force since 1991 by Frente
Polisario has brought the military mobilisation of hundreds of men from the Sahrawi refugee
camps located in Algeria.
The confrontations between Morocco and Polisario have also escalated; there have been
several clashes, though no civilian casualties have been reported. The pressure on local
human rights activists and supporters of Sahrawi self-determination has increased, Amnesty
International reported. Continue reading

Greens condemn violence in Western Sahara

“The Australian Greens condemn the violence and breakdown in the UN-backed ceasefire in Western Sahara. Any acts of aggression by the Moroccan government are unacceptable, and the Australian Greens are profoundly concerned at reports that the Moroccan government has launched a military operation in a United Nations-patrolled buffer strip in Western Sahara.  The Australian Greens urge the UN to broker a renewed cease-fire as soon as possible.
Continue reading

NGOs Geneva Support Group press release following resumption of the conflict

NGOs Geneva Support Group for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Western Sahara (GSGPPHRWS)
Press Release, Bir Lehlu / Geneva,  19th November 2020

“The international community must ensure the exercise of the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination.
The Geneva Support Group for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Western
Sahara (253 member organisations) condemns the breakdown of the ceasefire in force since
1991 in the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara on the part of the Kingdom of
Morocco, which did not hesitate to deploy its troops and weapons in front of a group of
unarmed civilians who were peacefully demonstrating in the demilitarised zone of Guerguerat
in the south-east of the Territory. (…cont.)”

Press release, 19 Nov 2020

The Continued Irresolution of the Conflict of Western Sahara

The Continued Irresolution of the Conflict of Western Sahara: The Right to Self-determination vs. Realpolitik

Dr Sidi M. Omadetermination vs. Realpolitik

Dr Sidi M. Omar, Frente POLISARIO Representative at the United Nations
Sahara Press Service, 27 June 2020

“Today peoples of many erstwhile colonies enjoy their freedom and independence, yet unfortunately colonialism is far from over. At present, there are 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories whose peoples have not yet exercised their right to self-determination and independence including Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa, on the UN list of Non-SelfGoverning Territories since 1963. …. (cont.)

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Open letter to UN from Geneva Group of NGOs supporting Saharawi human rights

Saharawis were alarmed to discover that the Moroccan ambassador to the UN, Omar Hilale, had been appointed by the UN to oversee human rights treaties. He will work jointly with the Swiss ambassador, Valentin Zellweger, on how to strengthen human rights treaty bodies of the United Nations.

The open letter from the NGOs Support Group for Human Rights in Geneva was made public on Friday 17 April protesting Hilale’s appointment.
It details why Omar Hilale is certainly not the right man for this job. Firstly a country which is occupying another country in violation of international law should not be entrusted with such work. Secondly, Morocco was found by a UN rapporteur to have imposed lengthy prison sentences on Saharawis based on “ “confessions” extracted under torture and has not investigated the claims as required to do.

16 April 2020 Open Letter to UNGA President

The Geneva support group for Saharawis’ human rights also issued a press release to mark International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. It includes the full list of AWSA co-signatories from 210 organisations belonging to the Geneva group.
Press release: 200324 PR Intl. Day Truth-Victims