lundi 17 mai 2021 23:10:24

Self-determination in Western Sahara: "The UN must implement the resolution

The Geneva Support Group for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Western Sahara has called for hastening the appointment of a new personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General in the occupied territories, deploring the lack of neutrality of the UN in the implementation of the resolution to allow the self-determination of the Sahrawi people.

PUBLISHED : 18-04-2021 | 0:00
D.R

The Geneva Support Group for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Western Sahara has called for hastening the appointment of a new personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General in the occupied territories, deploring the lack of neutrality of the UN in the implementation of the resolution to allow the self-determination of the Sahrawi people.

In an open letter addressed to the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on the occasion of the next meeting of the Security Council on Western Sahara, on April 21, the 276 organizations that make up the Geneva group said that "the persistent silence observed by the UN Secretariat (...) clearly shows that it is not neutral in the issue of non-implementation of Resolution 1514 in Western Sahara. In particular, it deplores the fact that this silence "favors the continuation of the illegal occupation of the Territory by the Kingdom of Morocco.

The Support Group asserts that "two years after the resignation of former President Horst Kohler from his position as personal envoy, it is now clear to everyone that it will be impossible to find an experienced diplomat acceptable to both parties to the conflict who could take this position", making known that "prolonging indefinitely the search for such a person is tantamount to supporting the illegal occupation by the Kingdom of Morocco. In this context, it calls on the UN SG "to resume the process immediately by inviting the two parties to the conflict (Morocco and the Polisario Front) and their neighbors (Algeria and Mauritania), as observers, to his offices in New York and report to the Council. The 276 member organizations of the Geneva Support Group also ask him to recommend to the members of the Security Council the inclusion of a "human rights" component and a "rule of law" component in the mandate of Minurso and "to engage his personal responsibility in the conduct of negotiations for the organization of a free referendum of self-determination for the Sahrawi people. They recall that "the indigenous population of the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara has been waiting for 55 years for the referendum to be held under the auspices of the UN.

Furthermore, the Geneva support group affirms that "the Saharawi people consider that the UN is partly responsible for the recent resumption of the armed conflict in Western Sahara".

It denounces the position of two major powers (the United States and France) which is, according to him, "detrimental to the free exercise of the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara", blaming the two governments that "are objectively complicit in the systematic and serious violations of human rights and breaches of the norms of International Humanitarian Law in Western Sahara. Nevertheless, it assures that this should not prevent the UN from "speaking out and calling for action on human rights in Western Sahara, including the right to self-determination and independence in accordance with General Assembly resolution 1514.

The support group also recalls that "in recent years, several special procedures of the Human Rights Council and treaty bodies have expressed their concerns about human rights violations (including the right to self-determination) committed by the occupying power in Western Sahara," noting that "the Kingdom of Morocco systematically rejects all allegations, decisions and opinions adopted by the UN human rights mechanisms.

"There are no independent investigations into acts of torture in the Kingdom of Morocco or Western Sahara, while the practice is systematic against Sahrawi human rights defenders and journalists," he lamented, citing the cases of political prisoner Mohamed Lamine Haddi and the activist Sultana Khaya.

It also recalls that "the Kingdom of Morocco is the only African country that has not joined the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. Deploring the latest report of the UN SG on Western Sahara, the Geneva group said that "the Sahrawi people would greatly appreciate it if the UN SG would express his concern about the systematic and serious violations of the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the refugees as a result of the long-standing illegal military occupation of their land by the Kingdom of Morocco. It cites in particular "the persistent illegal plundering of their natural resources by international and Moroccan companies, some of which are owned by King Mohamed VI, whose personal fortune has grown from US$1 billion to US$5 billion since his accession to the throne according to Forbes magazine.

 

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