Nordic Youth Council asks for human rights in Western Sahara
The meeting of the Nordic Youth Council in Reykjavik 6 April 2014 demanded from the Nordic governments to take a joint initiative for Human Rights in the UN operation in Western Sahara. Particularly, they urge the Nordic governments to put pressure on Paris.
Resolution: Support Human Rights in occupied Western Sahara The UN operation in Western Sahara is silent witness to serious Human Rights violations. However, the mission does not have the mandate to report on such violations, as other UN missions do. This fundamental flaw in the mandate of the UN operation in Morocco-occupied Western Sahara must immediately be corrected. On 8 April 2013, the UN Secretary-General presented his annual report to the UN Security Council. He expressed concern over torture in Moroccan jails and life imprisonments against Saharawi activists, and urged for the surveillance of Human Rights in Western Sahara. “The need for independent, impartial, comprehensive and sustained monitoring of the human rights […] is ever more pressing” he stated. The US, which always writes the drafts for the Security Council resolutions on Western Sahara, followed up on the request from Ban Ki-Moon. Both the US and the UK worked for an inclusion of Human Rights in the mandate of MINURSO, the UN operation. Also the Saharawi liberation movement Frente Polisario wishes such a change to take place. Only Morocco, and its close ally, France, object to it. Morocco intends to keep silencing the Saharawi voices that demand their legitimate right to self-determination in Western Sahara. More than 100 UN resolutions call for this right to be respected. Following a question from Norway in the UN Human Rights Council last year, Morocco stated that it does not intend to follow international minimum standards for registering of civil society groups in Western Sahara. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, France is sitting on the key to the question of the UN involvement in Western Sahara. While France speaks loudly for Human Rights in other contexts, they chose to directly undermining Human Rights in occupied Western Sahara. Every year, France blocks the proposal of allowing the UN mission in Western Sahara to observe and report on the Human Rights violations in the territory. The Nordic governments have been positive to the inclusion of monitoring of Human Rights in Western Sahara, in the way that the UN Secretary-General, the US, the UK and Frente Polisario demand. End of April 2014, the MINURSO mandate is up for new debate. The Nordic Youth Council urges the Nordic governments to take a joint Nordic initiative expressing a clear expectation to the UN Security Council that a mechanism of permanent monitoring and reporting of Human Rights must be introduced in the MINURSO mandate. Special expectations over this should be placed on the government of France.
Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.
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