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Torture, murder, arbitrary arrests, and violence. During the last year, 256 reports of human rights violations have been reported in the occupied territory of Western Sahara.
Press release from SAIH, Monday April 13, 2015
A new report published by the Students' and Academics' International Assistance Fund (SAIH) gives evidence to this. 2015 marks the 40 th anniversary of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara and is also the focus of SAIH's political campaign, launched 13th of April.
In the report Acting with Impunity a total 256 human rights violations are documented to have been committed in Western Sahara between the 1st of April 2014 and the 1st of March 2015. This documentation is based on in depth empirical evidence. A total of 163 alleged incidents are emphasized in the report together with 283 named victims.
- These numbers are unacceptable. Even with UN's presence Morocco is enjoying complete impunity, allowing them to commit human rights violations and exploit the rich natural resources in Western Sahara, says Jørn Wichne Pedersen, President of SAIH.
SAIH demands that Norwegian authorities and the international community condemns Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara.
The report gives an aggregated view on the human rights violations committed in Western Sahara since April 2014, when UN's mandate in Western Sahara was last discussed in the UN Security Council.
The UN's peacekeeping mission MINURSO has been present in Western Sahara since the ceasefire in 1991. The mission is one of few lacking a mandate to report on human rights violations. End of April 2015 the contents of the missions mandate is, once again, up for discussion in the Security Council.
- The numbers documented through our report is based on testimonials from local and international organizations. It is however impossible to get a complete and neutral documentation of the human rights violations being committed in Western Sahara today. The UN would be able to play the role as a neutral and credible actor, says Jørn Wichne Pedersen leader of SAIH.
Initially, MINURSO's mandate was to carry out a referendum for the Saharawi people on the issue of autonomy, which has never been carried out. Instead, the Saharawis continue to be harassed, beaten, raped, tortured, kidnapped and murdered, as documented in the report.
The report concludes that the international community has been callous regarding Morocco's exploitation of Western Saharan natural resources and the brutal treatment of the Saharawi people. MINURSO's mandate must be revised and extended to include documentation of human rights violations.
- SAIH demands that Norwegian authorities and the international community condemns Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara. The right to autonomy must be acknowledged without delay, and the daily occurrences of human rights violations must cease, says Wichne
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