The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara has for the last year been involved in a process with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention relating to the imprisonment of Saharawi Human Rights Defender Mbarek Daoudi. Mbarek Daoudi, a well-known Saharawi human rights defender, was arrested, tortured and imprisoned in September 2013.
During the Working Group's session in August 2018, the group rendered its rendered its Opinion concerning the detention of Mbarek Daoudi. The Opinion was distributed to the concerned parties in October, and published on the homepage of the Working Group in late November (in French).
The Working Group found that Mr. Daoudi had been arrested, tortured and imprisoned as a response to his publicly expressed political opinions, whereas the judicial system had been used in order to silence dissidents of the Moroccan regime. The Working Group concluded that the arrest and detention of Mr. Mbarek Daoudi was arbitrary, breaching Articles 9, 14, 19 and 26 of the ICCPR, and Articles 9,10 and 19 of the UDHR, falling under category I, II, III and V of the Methods of Work of the Working Group.
Together with the association Adala UK, the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara has prepared a mini report concerning this decision which comments on, and gives the context to, the recent decision.
The decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regarding the detention of Mr. Daoudi serves as yet another testament of the arbitrary detention of Saharawi human rights defenders and activists in response to their support of the right to self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.
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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