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Aminatou Haidar: “United Nations must take up its responsibilities” in decolonization of Western Sahara

President of the Saharawi body against Moroccan Occupation, Aminatou Haidar, called on the United Nations to take up its responsibilities in decolonizing Western Sahara and urged Morocco to put an end to the systematic violations of human rights, and to ensure that the Sahrawi people enjoy their inalienable right to self-determination.

Aminatou Haidar said in a video intervention before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, that Western Sahara “has been at the mercy of a brutal occupation since 1975”.

It is time for the United Nations to assume its responsibility in the decolonization process, she went on to say, calling on the Council to urge Morocco to “put an end to the systematic violations of human rights, and to ensure that the Sahrawi people enjoy their inalienable right to self-determination.”

Mrs. Haidar praised the position of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Marie Lawlor, who called, yesterday, Thursday, on Morocco to stop “targeting Sahrawi human rights defenders, respect human rights in Western Sahara, and allow defenders to operate without harassment or retaliation.”

She mentioned, in this context, the harassment and abuses that the members of her body (ISACOM) have been subjected to during several months of the siege inside their homes, stressing in particular the condition Sultana Khaya, who has been besieged with her family for seven months, and Mina Aba Ali, who is also subjected to the siege and abuse of her family.

The Sahrawi official stressed that the perpetrators of these violations are Moroccan officials, “who should be held accountable, and that the United Nations and the relevant bodies should protect Sahrawi citizens and human rights defenders to enable them to carry out their activities without any obstacles.

The Special Rapporteur indicated that she had received information that human rights defenders in Western Sahara were subjected to “acts of intimidation, harassment, death threats, criminalization, prison sentences, physical and sexual assaults, threats of rape and surveillance.”

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