Police violence, false imprisonment, unfair trials, sexual violence, and torture are systematically perpetrated against the people of Western Sahara by the Moroccan state.
A 2015 report from Amnesty International lists beatings, stress positions such as the “roast chicken,” asphyxiation, simulated drowning, psychological and sexual violence ‘among an array of torture techniques used by Moroccan security forces to extract “confessions” to crimes or silence activists and crush dissent”.
These violations are enabled and emboldened by the failure of the members of the UN Security Council - including the UK - to uphold their obligation to provide a referendum on self-determination.
• The UN mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO) is one of only six peace keeping missions in the world without a human rights mandate and is the only contemporary mission (established since 1978) without one. • The Special Rapporteur on Torture on his visit to Morocco and Western Sahara found “Torture and ill-treatment were used to extract confessions and that protestors were subjected to excessive use of force by Moroccan law-enforcement officials.“
• MINURSO is run at an annual cost of £36 million yet has failed to organise the referendum or monitor human rights abuses.
• Leaked cables in 2015 show that Morocco intercepted UN communications, lobbied and made large donations to the UN with the expressed intention of influencing it to overlook its human rights abuses.
• It is well reported that France, Morocco’s key ally on the Security Council has used the threat of veto to block the establishment of human rights monitoring in Western Sahara. The French Ambassador has denied this.
Not only has the UN failed in this obligation but it has repeatedly refused to mandate the UN Peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to monitor human rights. This is despite repeated calls to do so from Saharawi, international human rights organisations and UN human rights experts. As a result, MINURSO is one of only a handful of missions without such a mandate, allowing violations to be enacted with impunity.
The Western Sahara Campaign is one of the founding members of the global network for human rights in Western Sahara, the Western Sahara Action Forum. Read more about human rights and the campaign for UN human rights monitoring here.
WESTERN SAHARA CAMPAIGN UK
The Western Sahara Campaign works in solidarity with the Saharawi people to generate political support in order to advance their right to self-determination and to promote their human rights.
Our role is to lobby the UK Government and the EU. You can help us to ensure the UK does not ignore the voice of the Saharawi people.
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