WSHRW Request to the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly

Dec 13th, 2015 | By | Category: News

Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee)

New York, October, 2015

Western Sahara is the touchstone for the credibility of the United Nations.


1. Western Sahara is a colonial country, the administering Power of which is Spain.

The United Nations called upon the administering Power, Spain, to decolonize the territory.

Spain did not comply with its obligation and now most of the Territory is occupied by Morocco.

The question of Western Sahara is a decolonization conflict and it is a responsibility of the United Nations.

The solution to this conflict is the self-determination of the Territory either through the granting of independence or through the holding of a referendum on self-determination. This has been confirmed by the International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion on Western Sahara.


2. In the Report of the Mission to Western Sahara drawn up in 2006, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights clearly stated that:

“The right to self-determination for the people of Western Sahara must be ensured and implemented without any further delay (…). Almost all human rights violations and concerns with regard to the people of Western Sahara (…) stem from the non-implementation of this fundamental human right”.


3. The facts confirm, year after year, that the statements in this Report are true:

3.A. Civil and political rights are being systematically violated.

The number of Saharawi political prisoners who die in Moroccan prisons is increasing alarmingly. This year four more prisoners have been added to this black list: Abdul Baqi Alien Antahah, Abdel Hai Chebh, Mohamed el Burhimi and Bubakar Argun.

The civilian political prisoners of the “Akdeim Izik” group (some of them sentenced to life imprisonment) remain in prison although their convictions were handed down by a military court in a trial where all basic human rights were violated. The Kingdom of Morocco must release or conduct a new trial with full fair trial guarantees of the “Akdeim Izik” civilian prisoners, who were convicted by a military court following an unfair trial.

Even more serious: currently, October 2015, Morocco continues without investigating and convicting the perpetrators of the killing of the Saharawi victims of Moroccan violence truly existing in those tragic events in November 2010: the child Nayam El-Garhi and the adults Jadiyetu Ebhaia and Baby Hamday.

3.B. Economic rights continue to be systematically violated.
In the part of Western Sahara it occupies, Morocco continues to extract phosphates from the rich mine of Bu Craa in Western Sahara. Morocco, on its own or with the complicity of the European Union and of European private business people, plunders the fishery in the Saharawi waters under its control.

The phosphate exploitation and the fishery are carried out without taking into account the interests or the wishes of the local population.

3.C. The social and cultural rights continue to be systematically violated. In the part of Western Sahara it occupies:

Morocco continues to prohibit the use of “jaimas” (tents), a symbol of the Saharawi indigenous culture.

Morocco continues to prohibit the “Msalas” (open-air traditional oratories), thus violating article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in order to subject the Saharawi population to the authority of Morocco’s official religious leaders in Moroccan official centres.

Morocco buries victims of violence, as Mohamed Lamin Haidala, without the consent of the family.


4. The conflict of Western Sahara has lasted far too long, but this cannot become an excuse for the United Nations to evade its responsibility laid down in Article 73 of the Chart and in its own resolutions.

5. Therefore,

we request that the General Assembly resolution requires that the Secretary-General and the Security Council develop a road map with a view to ending colonization, to respecting the right to self-determination and other human rights.

This road map should include at the very minimum and with the utmost possible urgency following issues:

-The destruction of the wall (berm) which separates the Territory and of the million anti-personnel land mines that surround it.

-The establishment of a United Nations permanent mechanism on the ground for monitoring and ensuring respect for human rights in the Territory.

-The requirement regarding the immediate holding of the referendum on self-determination by setting a date for it.

– The provision that in case of refusal of the Kingdom of Morocco to comply with its international obligations allowing the referendum on self determination, the General Assembly will examine the admission of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic as an observer State, following the precedent of Palestine.

Every day that goes by without holding the self-determination referendum is a day when the United Nations loses credibility.

Thank you very much.

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