22 February 2013

Ghana Forum for Western Sahara Condemns Heavy Sentences Against Gdeim Izik Group

Accra — The Ghana Forum on Western Sahara has condemned the heavy sentences against the Saharawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik, calling their "immediate and unconditional" release, in a press statement issued Friday a copy of it reached SPS.

"The Ghana Forum on Western Sahara adds its voice to the widespread condemnation of last Saturday's heavy jail sentence arbitrarily imposed on 24 Saharawi activists by a military court in Morocco," reads the statement.

The forum also expressed support to the call for the immediate and unconditional release of the group.

The Forum endorsed the POLISARIO Front's stance that the victims had "unfair trial."

It therefore indicated that Morocco is able to perpetrate these atrocities because the MINURSO is the only UN Peacekeeping Mission in the world without an integrated human rights monitoring and reporting capacity.

"This new demonstration of Morocco's policy of systematic repression against the Saharawi population highlights the urgent need for the UN to move immediately to institute a human rights monitoring mandate within MINURSO. This is the only way to safeguard the rights of the Saharawi population, to ensure quick responses to emerging situations on the ground, and to facilitate direct and accurate reporting to the UN membership consistent with the UN's obligation under the UN Charter and successive Security Council resolutions to establish the conditions for a referendum of the people of Western Sahara.

The statement stated that the freedom of speech, political association and assembly, all of which were violated at Gdeim Izik, lie at the heart of any process of self-determination that constitutes the free and genuine expression of the people's political will, and must therefore be respected and protected in Western Sahara.

The forum demanded that the UN extends the mandate of MINURSO to include monitoring and reporting of human rights in Western Sahara.

It, moreover, urged all freedom lovers worldwide, particularly so the Government of Ghana and Ghanaians of all political persuasion, as a matter of urgency, to pressurize the Moroccan authorities to respect the international legality and ensure that MINURSO organize the referendum of self-determination in Western Sahara as soon as possible.

Ghana Forum for Western Sahara was formed in Accra in 2010. It has a Steering Committee from a number of organization including Ghana Bar Association, Trade Union Congress, National Union of Ghana Students, Ghana Journalists Association, Media Foundation for West Africa, Forum for African Affairs, amongst many others.

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