Aminatu Haidar calls on UN to protect human rights defenders in Western Sahara

Geneva, 30 November 2019 (SPS) - Sahrawi human rights activist Aminatu Haidar called on the office of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders to take into consideration the seriousness of the situation in the occupied areas of Western Sahara and to take measures to prevent Morocco from repressing and imprisoning peaceful activists.

In a meeting, held at “Wilson Palace” in Geneva, Haidar said that Morocco acts with impunity to silence the Sahrawi people who dare defend publicly the respect of the international legality in occupied Western Sahara.

“Morocco has always exerted pressure on the Sahrawi people. Dismissing the Sahrawis from their jobs, pronouncing unfair sentences, transferring Sahrawis illegally to the Moroccan territory or using defamation against recognized activities, are methods which have become normal practices of the Moroccan regime,” denounced Haidar, adding that “Morocco’s objective is to resort to fear to break up and eliminate the organizations working peacefully in the occupied areas of Western Sahara.”

She also denounced the serious situation faced by the Sahrawi political prisoners, notably Gdeim Izik group, and called to intervene for their immediate release, affirming that “life sentences were pronounced, issued from Rabat and based on false evidence.”

She called on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders to support the recommendation of former United Nations’ envoy for Western Sahara Horst Kohler, aimed at strengthening confidence and dispatch a commission to the occupied regions to prepare real reports on the situation.

“It is worrying that the United Nations must ask the occupying power the authorization to visit a decolonizing territory,” pointed out Haidar. (SPS)