President of Republic expresses concern over spread of Coronavirus pandemic in occupied territories

Bir Lahlou (Liberated Territories), 26 June 2020 (SPS) - President of the Republic, Secretary-General of the Polisario Front, Mr. Brahim Ghali, has expressed concern over the situation in the occupied territories of Western Sahara due to the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, holding the Moroccan state responsible for the lives of Sahrawi population, in a letter addressed on Friday to Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres.

The following is the full text of the letter:

“H.E. Mr António Guterres

Secretary-General of the United Nations

United Nations, New York

Bir Lehlou, 25 June 2020

Excellency,

It is with great concern that I am writing to you to inform that information received from the territories of Western Sahara under the illegal Moroccan occupation indicates that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has spread significantly over a short period of time in those territories that were free of the epidemic until recently. More than two hundred infections were reported in the occupied city of El Aaiún and its surroundings in the past few days, despite the secrecy of the Moroccan occupation authorities.

This highly disturbing humanitarian situation is a direct result of the Moroccan occupation authorities’ disregard for the lives of the Sahrawi civilians under siege by allowing many people, including persons infected with COVID-19,to enter the occupied Western Sahara without having to observe quarantine rules and other precautionary measures. Whilethe Moroccan authorities continue to use the restrictions related tothe global pandemicto tighten their blockade on the occupied territories of Western Sahara in order to persist unchecked in terrorising the Sahrawi civilians, they have also been bringing hundreds of Moroccan workers and settlers to the occupied Western Sahara to cause more infections and endanger the lives of our people.

Such a criminal act that targets the lives of our people in the occupied Western Saharaadds to the record of genocide and killings pursued by the Moroccan occupation authorities against defenceless Sahrawi civilians since the beginning of the Moroccan occupation of the Territory on 31October 1975. We hold the Moroccan occupation state fully responsible for the consequences of the possible spread of the pandemic among our innocent people. We also call upon the United Nations, through its mission in the Territory, to assume its responsibility for the protection of Sahrawi civilians and ensuring their physical and moral integrity.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the world, including the Kingdom of Morocco, the situation of the Sahrawi civilian prisoners in Moroccan prisons remains alarming as a result of the deplorable conditions inside the prisons of the Moroccan occupationstate. As we indicated to you in our letter dated 22 March 2020, the rapid spread of this deadly virus and the strict measures required to combat it particularly in terms of social distancing andavoiding large gatherings and overcrowding are in stark contrast to the situation in which these civilian prisoners are held in Moroccan prisons known for overcrowding.

We hold the Moroccan occupation state fully responsible for the life of Sahrawi civilian prisoners in its prisons, and we call on you once again to intervene urgently to end the suffering of Sahrawi civilian prisoners and their families and to ensure their immediate release so that they could return to their homeland and be reunited with their families.

I would be grateful if you would bring this letter to the attention of the Members of the Security Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Brahim Ghali

Secretary-General of the Frente POLISARIO

President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic” (SPS)

062/SPS