Western Sahara self-determination process draws little international attention

Paris, Jan 20, 2018 (SPS) - The political process for self-determination of Western Sahara has remained at a standstill with little international attention, noted Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its new report in Paris on Thursday.

"The political process for self-determination of Western Sahara, a territory under Moroccan control, remained stalled with little international mediation or attention," said the HRW in its World Report 2018 on human rights.

Morocco, the occupying power, "rejects a referendum on independence" of Western Sahara, considered by the United Nations a non-self-governing territory.

As regards the 24 Sahrawi Gdeim Izik's political prisoners, the HRW said in its report that the new trial "was tainted by apparent due process violations such as the reliance on testimony allegedly obtained under coercion without properly examining allegations of torture."

"The court ordered medical examinations, which concluded that torture could neither be proven nor disproven, an unsurprising conclusion given that these examinations, the first of a forensic nature of these defendants, were taken place seven years after the alleged torture took place," said the report.

The HRW also underlined that "the (Moroccan) government has continued to impose a de facto ban on research missions by Amnesty international and Human rights Watch since 2015." (SPS)