Lesotho condemns Moroccan attacks against Saharawi civilians and calls on UN decolonization Committee to visit Western Sahara

New York (United Nations) 16 June 2021 (SPS)- The Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Lesotho to the UN, Nkopane Monyane, condemned the Moroccan attack against Sharawi civilians last November 13, 2020, calling on the UN General Assembly’s Committee on Decolonisation to list the Western Sahara in order to get firsthand information on the latest development.

“While it is the obligation of all Member States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all peoples, it is disturbing that the Sahrawi people still endure the inhumane treatment meted by the armed Moroccan forces. We condemn all forms of attacks to the civilian population,” Lesotho Permanent Representative stressed.

He further urged “the Committee to ensure its presence on the ground, as this will be vital to finding first-hand information regarding the circumstances on the ground. Further, we urge the Special Committee to show commitment through intense outcome based intense support to efforts of the UN Secretary-General in  the relaunch of the peace process negotiations between the Frente POLISARIO and Morocco.”

Following is the full text of the statement, delivered by Lesotho Ambassador before the UN General Assembly's Committee on Decoloniation last Monday:

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Statement of H. E.  Nkopane Monyane, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Lesotho to the United Nations during the C-24 Substantive Session - 14 June 2021 on the Questions of Western Sahara. 

 

Madam Chair   

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates, 

The question of Western Sahara has been on the Agenda of the UN for decades. Despite the UN General Assembly resolutions that have, over the called for the decolonization of Western Sahara and enabling its people to exercise their inalienable right to self- determination, the situation regrettably remains unresolved. 

Madam Chair   

Lesotho is deeply concerned about the contravention of the commitments under the OAU Settlement Plan that both parties welcomed three decades ago. This situation sadly undermines the integrity of our valued organization. We deeply condemn the November 2020 attacks into the Buffer Strip in Guerguerat that subjected civilian protesters to injury, groundless arrests, torture, and death.

While it is the obligation of all Member States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all peoples, it is disturbing that the Sahrawi people still endure the inhumane treatment meted by the armed Moroccan forces. We condemn all forms of attacks to the civilian population and urge both parties to cease hostilities and engage in talks genuinely aimed at achieving a long- lasting solution and promoting human rights of the Sahrawi people. 

Madam Chair   

It is now three decades since the Security Council approved the Settlement Plan and subsequently established the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). It is however, deplorable that the self-determination referendum has not been held. In furtherance of this impasse the appointment of a  Special Representative has been, for all too obvious reasons been blocked while the community of nations watches. We therefore reiterate our call to the Security Council to urgently facilitate a free and fair referendum on self-determination of the Sahrawi people in line with the General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 1960 comprehending the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to colonial countries and Peoples. 

Madam Chair   

While the current situation in Western Sahara is dire, it is appalling that the last visiting mission of the Special Committee on Decolonization was in 1975 - thirty one years ago. We therefore urge the Committee to ensure its presence on the ground, as this will be vital to finding first-hand information regarding the circumstances on the ground. Further, we urge the Special Committee to show commitment through intense outcome based intense support to efforts of the UN Secretary-General in  the relaunch of the peace process negotiations between the Frente POLISARIO and Morocco. 

In conclusion Mr. President, Lesotho wishes to reiterate its call upon parties involved in the conflict on Western Sahara, to refrain from all destructive attempts intended to divert even the little progress that has been achieved thus far. 

Mr President

It is regrettable that Western Sahara remains the only colony on the Continent of Africa in deliberate contravention of the principles of the United Nations Charter and the relevant United Nations resolutions. It is even more regrettable that the deplorable treatment is meted out to the People of Western Sahaby an African neighbor. I Thank you." (SPS)

 

090/500/60 (SPS)