United States Congress (Washington, DC)

29 October 2010

Western Sahara: Donald Payne Expresses Concern over Killing of 14 -year-old Boy in Western Sahara by Moroccan Soldiers

Calls on MINURSO to Monitor Situation at Protest Camp

This week the United States Embassy in Rabat confirmed Associated Press reports that a 14 year-old Sahrawi boy was killed by Moroccan security forces on Sunday. The forces reportedly fired at a vehicle occupied by the
young man and several others as it entered a protest camp outside the city of Laayoune in the occupied territory of Western Sahara – the last remaining colony in Africa. Thousands of people are protesting at the camp site to demand better housing,
jobs and other improvements for Western Sahara, which Morocco illegally annexed after Spain withdrew in 1975. Morocco is reportedly preventing international humanitarian organizations and journalists from entering the protest camp to report
on the situation and assess the needs of the protesters.
Congressman Donald M. Payne, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, released the following statement:

“I am deeply saddened by the death of Al-Nagem Al-Qarhi, a young Sahrawi teenager who sought nothing but to join other Sahrawis in a peaceful demonstration calling for better living conditions for himself and the people of Western Sahara. My condolences go out to his family and the other passengers of the vehicle who were also shot at and beaten by Moroccan forces in the attack, and to the many Sahrawi protesters. Their voices will not be silenced by the threat of violence nor will the injustices perpetrated against their people by the Moroccan authorities forever go unpunished.

“I urge a full investigation of Al-Nagem’s murder. I also urge the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to monitor the human rights situation in Western Sahara and report these incidents to the United Nations Security Council. Morocco must know that the international community will not
accept the killing and repression of peaceful demonstrators. The people of Western Sahara deserve freedom, peace, and self-determination.”

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