ISACOM and Right Livelihood Condemn some States' Support to the Illegal Occupation and Human Rights Violations in Western Saharaa

Fri, 02/23/2024 - 18:45

Geneva (UN Human Rights Council) 23 February 2024 (SPS)- The Sahrawi Organ Against the Moroccan Occupation (ISACOM) and the Right Livelihood Foundation, which annually awards the "Alternative Nobel Prize" to individuals and organizations defending human rights, expressed their strong condemnation of attempts by some state representatives in Geneva to support the illegal Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara and consequently supporting the systematic human rights violations in this last colony on the United Nations list for decolonization in the African continent.

In a statement published yesterday on the Right Livelihood website, the two organizations called on the United Nations to "take all appropriate measures to resume the decolonisation process of Western Sahara, guaranteeing the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination and urgently call on Morocco to align with its international human rights obligations," in Western Sahara.

The organizations pointed out that the recent visit of a delegation of the so-called "Group of Support for the Territorial Integrity of Morocco" to the occupied cities of Dajla and El Aaiun in Western Sahara is a visit that supports the illegitimate Moroccan claims to annex the African country and contradicts the international obligations of the representatives’ countries participating in this illegal visit.

The two organizations considered that supporting the Moroccan claims in Western Sahara is clearly a complicity in the Moroccan occupation authorities' flagrant violations of human rights.

It is known that the delegation of the aforementioned group, composed of representatives of the Comoros, Bahrain, and Gambia to the United Nations in Geneva, had visited the occupied cities of Dajla and El Aaiun on February 2nd, and made a series of distorted statements to the Moroccan agencies of propaganda after talks they held with the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, where they openly supported the Moroccan colonial claims to annex the occupied territories of Western Sahara.

This position expressed by the representatives of these member states of the United Nations contradicts the obligations imposed on their countries by international law, since Dajla and El Aaiun are part of a territory recognized by the United Nations as a non-self-governing country awaiting decolonization since its illegal occupation by Morocco in 1975.

The two organisations recalled that the International Court of Justice had denied in a ruling in 1975 the existence of any territorial sovereignty between Western Sahara and Morocco.

In addition, the Court of Justice of the European Union, in its rulings of 2016, 2018, and 2021, based on the ICJ ruling and recognized the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination according to international law. It particularly emphasized the separate and independent status of the territory of Western Sahara from Morocco.

The European Court concluded in the aforementioned rulings that regardless of the alleged benefits that Morocco and its supporters claim the Sahrawi people have obtained from the Moroccan illegal exploitation of the Sahrawi resources, any country or investor must obtain the consent of the Sahrawi people to any economic activity carried out in Western Sahara, through consultation with its sole legitimate representative, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front.)

ISACOM and Right Livelihood, further stressed that “the Kingdom of Morocco does not only engage in breaches of the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people, it also represses any voice peacefully advocating for such right and engages in daily violations of the Sahrawi people’s fundamental rights. Western Sahara’s resources are illegally exploited while the Sahrawi live in extremely precarious economic situations.”

Meanwhile, the two organisations add, “peaceful demonstrations are systematically hindered and anyone expressing their position in favour of self-determination faces arbitrary arrest, torture, surveillance, and asset freezes. Any State supporting Morocco’s claims is therefore also blindly supporting such blatant human rights violations.”

ISACOM and Right Livelihood “condemn all the human rights violations committed by the Kingdom of Morocco in Western Sahara and are therefore gravely concerned by the intensification of Morocco’s efforts to obtain international support for its illegal position, of which this latest visit is proof,” the press release reads.

It concluded that “the position expressed by the “Group of Support for the Territorial Integrity of Morocco”  in numerous avenues, including at the Human Rights Council, is not only illegal, but seeks to shift the attention away from the unfinished question of decolonisation and human rights violations committed by Morocco.” (SPS)

090/500/60 (SPS)