International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances: CEAS-Sahara urges MINURSO to ensure access to places where there are reports of mass graves

Madrid, August 30, 2018 (SPS) - The State Coordinating Committee of Associations in Solidarity with the Sahrawi people (CEAS-Sahara) has demanded in a statement on the occasion of  the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances that MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) ensure access to places where there are reports of mass graves or burials of dead or disappeared persons and that independent teams can carry out this identification and return to their families.

CEAS-Sahara has stated in its statement that Enforced disappearance is still a reality in Western Sahara and "is one of the most atrocious behaviors carried out for decades against the Saharawi people that still hopes to make effective their rights to justice, truth and reparation. . "

CEAS-Sahara said that the Sahrawi disappeared persons in the graves where exhumations have been carried out, and in other cases still pending clarification, were Spanish citizens.

On December 21, 2010, the General Assembly of the United Nations expressed its concern over the increase in forced disappearances in various regions of the world and decided to declare August 30, International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

AFAPREDESA, the Association of Relatives of Prisoners and Sahrawis Disappeared continues working on the search of more than 400 documented cases of victims of enforced disappearances in Western Sahara. The majority of these disappearances occurred during the first years of the military occupation of the territory (between 1975 and 1976).

CEAS-Sahara said that there is ample evidence of the existence of mass graves in Western Sahara. The places of burial of the Sahrawi people who died in the clandestine detention centers have not been revealed, nor have their remains been rescued and identified, nor returned to their families for their burial and mourning.

At the invitation AFAPREDESA, a forensic investigation team of HEGOA, Institute of the University of the Basque Country, under the direction of Professor Francisco Etxeberria Gabilondo, has proceeded to the exhumation of different common graves .

In this context, in light of the results of the investigations carried out to date from CEAS-Sahara, it warned of the risk that the sites are of common graves being destroyed by the Moroccan occupying administration given that some of those places are in zones under military or police control.

CEAS-Sahara demanded that the Spanish State assume its responsibility. The disappeared Sahrawi people in the graves where exhumations have been carried out, in other cases still pending clarification, were Spanish citizens at the time of the events.

The Spanish State maintains its responsibility to investigate and support the recognition of the victims of enforced disappearance of the Saharawi people, and this has been recognized in the investigation of the case of genocide that continues in the National Court. SPS

 

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