Sahara Press Service (El Aaiun)

25 February 2013

Western Sahara: Saharawi Civil Society Appeals to UNHCR to Protect Saharawis From Moroccan Oppression

Shahed Al Hafed — The Saharawi civil society has appealed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assume its full responsibilities in defending and protecting Saharawi civilians, by every possible means, from Moroccan oppression, in a peaceful vigil of solidarity with Gdeim Izik prisoners organized Monday outside UNHCR's office in the Saharawi refugee camps.

At the end of the vigil, participants delivered a statement to UNHCR's office recalling it that Western Sahara remains under direct responsibility of the UN pending the decolonization, in accordance with the requirements of international law and pertinent UN and Security Council resolutions.

They expressed criticized "inaction and silence" of the United Nations and Security Council regarding the gross violations to human rights and international law in Western Sahara, urging the UN to dispatch a fact-finding mission to investigate the flagrant human rights violations committed by Moroccan occupation forces against Saharawi civilians.

The statement stressed the need to set up a mechanism to protect and monitor human rights in Western Sahara within powers of the UN Mission for the Referendum, MINURSO.

Components of Saharawi civil society warned of the unknown consequences which might be resulted from the situation in occupied Western Sahara if human rights are not respected, including the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence.

They, therefore, held the UN the legal and ethical responsibility to live up to its obligations in implementing the UN-AU plan agreed by the two parties to the conflict Moroccan Kingdom and POLISARIO Front, and unanimously approved by Security Council under the resolution 690 of 1991.

On other hand, they denounced the plundering of Western Sahara wealth, urging the UN to intervene to cease the export of natural resources from occupied Western Sahara.

They also condemned the harsh Moroccan military sentences in the case of the Saharawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik, confirming determination to continue act for the release of all the Saharawi political detainees, led by Gdeim Izik group.

The participants sent statements and letters to the international community and POLISARIO leadership.

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