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 11 August 2021 Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma spoke on the Senate floor about the continuing plight of the people of Western Sahara.
He and others in the Senate have on a bi-partisan basis continued to stand up for the Saharawis and their right to determine their own future for years and continue to call on their country and the world to do the right thing.
Fredo Rockwell, YouTuber with a small but growing channel, has made a insightful and engaging video about the history, politics and human experience of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara.
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).
By Djaouida Siaci Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, March 29, 2021
The former Trump administration’s persistent pattern of violating international law has put the United States on the same level as the rogue nations that subvert international consensus and the rules-based international order.
This pattern is most profound in former President Trump’s last foreign policy act: a tweet in which he recognized Morocco’s claim of alleged sovereignty over occupied Western Sahara (cont.)