The Right Livelihood Foundation calls on the UN Human rights Council to appoint a Special Rapporteur on Western Sahara

Geneva (Human Rights Council) 16 September 2020 (SPS)- The Right Livelihood Foundation called last Monday in an Oral Statement during the 45th Session of the Human Rights Council, for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Western Sahara for the UN to be able to monitor the human rights situation in this last colony in Africa.

The Swedish organisation expressed deep concern “about the situation in Western Sahara, where sustained and systematic violations and abuses of the rights of the Sahrawi people, including the right to self-determination, continue to take place in the context of the illegal occupation by the Kingdom of Morocco.”

It further indicated that “Sahrawi activists, journalists and human rights defenders are routinely subjected to torture, arbitrary detention, unfair trials, forced deportation, and other violations which are met with total impunity. We are also concerned that Moroccan occupation forces keep banning and expelling international observers from the territory.”

“Despite a number of calls from the international community for proper monitoring of its human rights situation,” the Foundation regretted, “Western Sahara seems to be off the radar of the UN system. MINURSO remains the only UN peacekeeping mission without a human rights monitoring and reporting mandate, and the premature resignation of the UNSG Personal Envoy is a concerning development that has put any hope of a successful negotiation process on hold for over a year.”

The organisation, which awarded Saharawi human rights defender, Ms. Aminatou Haidar, in 2019, recalled the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, that the Saharawi activists had “requested that prompt and concrete measures be taken by your Office to address the situation.”

In this regards, the statement emphasises “We welcome your commitment to organise a new technical mission to the territory but we reiterate our call for a cooperation and capacity building programme to be implemented, without delay, together with the legitimate representatives of the Sahrawi people. We also urge the Council to seriously consider the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Western Sahara.” (SPS)

090/500/60 (SPS)