The 24 activists of Gdeim Izik were given harsh sentences from twenty years to life imprisonment; 17 university students were sentenced; 25 international observers, including journalists, were expelled; demonstrations of solidarity with political prisoners, unemployed people discriminated against because they were Saharawis and protested against the plundering of their natural resources were suppressed; arrests, tortures and ill-treatments, aggressions by Moroccan settlers…
This is how life passed during 2017-2018 in Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco since the end of 1975 when it was handed over by Spain, which did not fulfil its obligation to decolonise a territory that was just another province and whose inhabitants had Spanish ID cards.
And 2017 passed, one more year, without the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) having among its tasks the monitoring of human rights, as do the other fifteen UN peacekeeping missions deployed in four continents.
Denouncing violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The need to denounce these violations, both politically and judicially, and to demand the respect of the Geneva Conventions by the Kingdom of Morocco. Hundreds of cases of enforced disappearances are still unresolved; need to activate appropriate international mechanisms to resolve these cases.
Recurrent violations of the freedom to demonstrate peacefully, of freedom of association and of freedom of opinion and expression, as well as violations of the cultural, economic and social rights of the Saharawi people in occupied Sahara. Arbitrary detentions followed by acts of torture and/or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments.
Capacity building and progressive professionalisation of Saharawi human rights organisations and the Saharawi National Commission for Human Rights (CONASADH).
The strengthening and structuring of the flow of information on violations of human rights and IHL. The strengthening of the presence of representatives of Saharawi human rights organisations in international bodies (UN – EU – Council of Europe). The establishment of consortia with Saharawi human rights organisations when requesting funds from donors. Create a platform to gather information on human rights violations in the occupied territory of Western Sahara.
Create new fronts of denunciation in international institutions:
– such as the Geneva Support Group for Western Sahara (composed of 14 states ), it is strongly recommended to establish similar groups in Brussels, Paris, Strasbourg and New York;
– all organisations participating in EUCOCO are invited to join the NGO group called ‘Geneva Support Group for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Western Sahara’.
Creation of an International Platform for the release of political prisoners. Strengthen the protection of human rights defenders (presence in international institutions, media, conferences, national and international human rights awards, etc.).
Guarantee the presence of international observers during judicial proceedings involving Saharawi human rights defenders. Encourage political and legal initiatives to denounce violations of international humanitarian law.
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