Statement of ASVDH on the occasion of International Day of Indigenous Peoples

Aug 11th, 2012 | By | Category: rights, cultural rights


On the occasion of this August 9, International Day of Indigenous Peoples, the ASVDH extends its best wishes to all indigenous peoples around the world and expresses its concern as regards the series of violations involving the rights of the Saharawi people in the occupied territories.

Created on May 7, 2005, and still waiting for registration by the Moroccan government, the ASVDH strictly and attentively follows the situation of human rights in Western Sahara.

THE ASVDH underlines the extent of the violations committed against the Saharawi civilians on their own land and draws attention to the violations not only of their civil and political rights, but also of their economic and socio-cultural rights.

Since May 21, 2005, in several cities of Western Sahara and Morocco, the Saharawi are going out regularly to the street for peaceful demonstrations claiming respect for the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people. The Moroccan police forces and auxiliary forces are responding through a savage and brutal repression against the demonstrators and committing serious violations of human rights.  Result: hundreds of wounded and tortured Saharawi, thrown into Moroccan prisons and 17 missing.

In violation of article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and of article 5 of the UNESCO Declaration on cultural diversity, the Saharawi at school have only access to the official history of Morocco, and nothing is taught to them neither about their own history nor about their culture.

In the desert, the anti-personnel landmines and other rests of war, as well as the Moroccan bans endanger the nomadic traditional life of the Saharawi. To live in the desert, to transmit the ancestral indigenous knowledge is not possible.

On the other hand, the Saharawi cannot register their children to the civil status under the first name they wish, in particular of composed forenames hassani.

The socio-economic rights of the Sahrawi are being violated on a daily basis in this territory which is so rich in natural resources. According to international law, the Saharawi people must be heard on the economic activities that are taking place in their country; they must agree with and benefit from them. However, Morocco has never consulted the Saharawi who cannot consent, and the profits arising from the exploitation of natural resources are going to the government, Morocco businesses and to countries that are accomplices.

The plundering of the natural resources of Western Sahara is in connection with the demographic change in the occupied part of the territory, due to the mass introduction of settlers from Morocco. The population of settlers is today more important than the indigenous Sahrawi population.

In this day dedicated to the indigenous peoples:

THE ASVDH reiterates its request to the United Nations to extend the mandate of MINURSO to the monitoring of human rights in Western Sahara, in order to actively protect the indigenous people.

Moreover, it demands the Moroccan government to respect the cultural rights of the people of Western Sahara, and denounces the coercive measures carried out against the promotion of the Saharawi culture, and the diversion of some of these aspects into a pale folklore at the service of the colonization.


(The Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations Committed by the Moroccan State)

Western Sahara, August 9, 2012 


    Comments are closed.