Calls for the UN to put an end to repeated violations of international humanitarian law in occupied Western Sahara

Geneva (Switzerland), September 13, 2023 (SPS) - the Geneva Support Group for Western Sahara has suspended the presidency of the United Nations Human Rights Council regarding the continued violation of international humanitarian law and human rights by the occupying power in Western Sahara, the Kingdom of Morocco, in a systematic and widespread manner.

The Geneva Support Group for Western Sahara reminded the HRC in a statement made by the Permanent Representative of Zimbabwe to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Stuart Harold Comberbach, at the opening of its 54th session, of the siege imposed on the occupied Western Sahara by the occupying force, according to what was stated in the statement of the Secretary-General of the United Nations regarding the inability of the Office of the High Commissioner to carry out any action visits to Western Sahara for the eighth year in a row, in light of the increasing cases of preventing international human rights defenders and journalists from entering the occupied territory.

Ambassador Stuart Comberbach alerted the HRC to the lack of access to Sahrawi political prisoners, including to their legal representatives, expressing the group's concern about the health conditions of these detainees, in particular the Gdeim Izik group, who were victims of inhuman and degrading treatment.

He also drew the attention of the HRC to the deaths and injuries resulting from the illegal use of armed drones east of the Wall of Shame by Morocco and the increasing influx of Sahrawi citizens into refugee camps, which is exacerbating the critical humanitarian situation in these camps.

In the face of this abnormal and disturbing situation in Western Sahara, the Geneva Support Group called on all countries to respect the territory’s internationally recognized status and the inalienable right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and independence, including their permanent and exclusive sovereignty over their natural resources. It also called on members of the European Union to exercise restraint while awaiting the ruling of the European Court of Justice regarding the current agreements related to trade and fisheries that violate the legal status of the territory.

The statement concluded by renewing the call of the group for the implementation of the technical assistance program of the Polisario Front, the representative of the Sahrawi people recognized by the United Nations General Assembly, and to shed more light on the systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in the occupied territory of Western Sahara.

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