Credible reports indicated that security forces engaged in torture, beatings, and other mistreatment of detainees in both political cases and ordinary criminal cases. The August 4 report of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention noted the working group received numerous complaints that authorities in Laayoune used torture and mistreatment to extract confessions (see also sections 1.d., 1.e., and 2.b.). In his February 2013 report on a 2012 visit to the territory, Juan Mendez, UN special rapporteur on torture, stated that authorities used torture and mistreatment to extract confessions, including at the time of arrest, in police stations, and at the Laayoune Prison. The report noted credible testimonies relating to rape, severe beating, and isolation for weeks, particularly of inmates accused of participating in proindependence activities. Both international and local NGOs continued to report abuses, especially of Sahrawi independence advocates. Activists who were detained and subsequently released, as well as family members of many of those still in custody, made similar accusations. – See more at: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2014&dlid=236628#wrapper
Decolonization Committee Approves Five Texts while Deciding to Dismantle ‘Omnibus’ Draft to Draw Targeted Attention to Individual Non-Self-Governing Territories (un.org)
Swift action must be taken to end the “dangerous status quo” in Western Sahara and to finally grant independence to the “last African colony”, the Special Committee of 24 heard today, as it approved five draft resolutions on a range of items on its agenda.
“This is the last African colony to be decolonized,” Ahmed Boukhari, a representative of the Frente Polisario, told the Special Committee — known formally as the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. He implored the Committee to “awaken from its long sleep”.
In the face of the people’s decades-long wait for the right to self-determination, the United Nations annual renewal of Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was “financing the extension of a stalemate”, he said, urging action to conduct the plebiscite, which had been on hold since 1992.
Delegates shared their views and concerns, with speakers calling on Morocco to extend all efforts to move the process forward. Colonialism was illegal, some pointed out, insisting that the question of Western Sahara must be resolved as quickly as possible in order to uphold the people’s right to self-determination. Algeria’s representative emphasized that “it is high time to give peace a chance”.
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Leaked cables: Morocco lobbied UN to turn blind eye to Western Sahara in ‘House of Cards’ operation (The Guardian)
The Moroccan government intercepted United Nations communications and used “unethical tactics” in a “House of Cards”-style operation designed to get the organisation to turn a blind eye to the humanitarian situation in Western Sahara, according to a leaked UN report.
The leaked report is a UN analysis of correspondence between the Moroccan government and the country’s permanent ambassador to the UN in Geneva and later New York, Omar Hilale, in the period from January 2012 to September 2014. The Moroccan correspondence was made public last year by an anonymous source using the @chris_coleman24 Twitter handle.
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Caroline welcomes Ambassador Mohamed Yeslem Beisat from the Mission of Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa, the land of the Saharawis, with whom we join in their dedication for autonomy and freedom. “Western Sahara is situated on the Atlantic coast of North Africa. Bordering Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania.” And unfortunately oil has been found there.
African people who have no rights are beaten, kicked and killed; men, women and children. They are citizens who can, and are deported. Their natural resources are exploited without their consent, and from these, they derive no benefits. Their human rights are violated right under the noses of United Nations troops without the latter lifting a finger. As a people, they are forced to live in two countries under three different arrangements. The bulk live in occupied territories, some in a self rule zone and the rest have been living in Algerian refugee camps for 40 years now.
There are three infamous walls in contemporary human history: the Berlin Wall in Germany which has been pulled down, the Israeli Wall on Palestinian territory, and this one in Africa which is mined. Like a god that demands human sacrifice, this wall takes lives and claims limbs. Welcome to Western Sahara!
Western Sahara – Nothing but silence surrounds the “Berm” – a sand wall surrounded by millions of land mines. It has isolated the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara for decades and it is barely heard of.
Youth representative Habiboulah Lamin, who like tens of thousands of other Sahrawis was born and raised in nearby refugee camps in southern Algeria, said looking at it makes him feel like “the saddest person in the world”.
“To see this wall in the 21st century and overlooked by the international community, rarely reported about, frustrates me to the bottom of my heart,” said Lamin, his voice breaking.
Squinting his eyes, he looked at the wall 100m away, manned by Moroccan soldiers who were filming the rare journalists filming them.
“My dream is that day when I can cross this wall, like what happened in Germany with the Berlin Wall, and I can meet my relatives who are behind this wall whom I haven’t seen my entire life,” Lamin said.
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“The re-establishment of this Western Sahara Caucus will be important to encouraging the Obama Administration to use its leverage in the United Nations to resolve the last colonial issue on its agenda for the African continent,” said Rep. Conyers. “While the State Department played an important role in renewing the U.N. peacekeeping mission for Western Sahara, I hope that Congress can push for a greater emphasis on human rights monitoring and scheduling the referendum necessary to resolve the long running controversy. Though progress has recently stalled, I am optimistic that U.S. advocacy for self-determination for the peoples of Western Sahara can lead to a durable peace in the region.”
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