Human rights monitoring: MINURSO should be no exception, says Polisario

New York, 11 July 2020 (SPS)  - The Polisario Front on Tuesday called in New York to extend the MINURSO mandate to the Human Rights Monitoring, adding that the UN mission should be no exception in this regard.

"Although the Security Council has included a human rights component in UN peace missions mandates since 1991, the United Nations Mission for the referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) remains an exception in this regard," regretted the Polisario in a press release issued in New York during a Security Council debate on peace operations and human rights.

The Polisario Front stressed that after 29 years of deployment, the mission created in 1991 to ensure the organization of a referendum in Western Sahara, failed not only its initial mandate but also the protection of the human rights of the Sahrawi civilians in the occupied territories.

Moreover, Morocco continues to commit massive violations against the Sahrawis. This repression has been documented by NGOs such as the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

All the occupied territories are under siege and subject to media blackout. Western Sahara remains so far a prohibited “exclusion zone” to international media and human rights monitors," he said.

The Polisario noted that it had repeatedly asked the Security Council to extend the mandate of MINURSO to human rights monitoring in accordance with the fundamental principles of United Nations peacekeeping operations.

This demand was also raised to the UN Security Council by numerous African and international organizations for human rights defense that have urged the United Nations main body to act in this regard.

Without naming it, the Polisario Front accused France of having prevented the Security Council from making recommendations on human rights monitoring in Western Sahara, mainly to ensure that Morocco's appalling human rights record is not examined.

He recalled that the UN chief had repeatedly insisted on "impartial, comprehensive and sustained" monitoring of the human rights situation, necessary for the protection of the Sahrawi people.

"It is unacceptable that MINURSO remains an exception at a time when the promotion and protection of human rights becomes a priority in all United Nations peace operations," reiterated the Polisario in the same press release. (SPS)