Security Council called upon to include human rights monitoring in MINURSO mandate

Geneva (Switzerland), 18 July 2020 (SPS) - The Geneva Support Group for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Western Sahara called Thursday on the United Nations Security Council to include a chapter on human rights monitoring in the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Noting that Western Sahara has been included in the list of non-self-governing territories since 1963, and that the Saharawi People have been under illegal military occupation since 1975, and that it has been waiting for the organization of the referendum on self-determination and independence since 1992, the 200-organization group, in an open letter to the chairman of the UN Security Council, Christoph Heusgen, called on "the members of the Security Council to include a chapter on human rights in the mandate of MINURSO and to implement all the necessary means provided for in the UN Charter so that it can fulfill, as soon as possible, the main mandate for which it was created."

The 214 organizations of the Geneva Support Group recalled, in the letter, "the UN's primary responsibility for the people of Western Sahara."

They asked the UN secretary-general to "appoint an independent figure as a personal envoy to continue the excellent work of former President Horst Köhler."

They also called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to resume the Technical Mission, initiated in 2015, and to establish a programme of technical assistance and capacity-building with Saharawi People's recognized representative, the Polisario Front." (SPS)