World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Abuse, Torture, And Arbitrary Imprisonment In Western Sahara

The RFK Center Finds Evidence Of Escalating Abuse, Torture, And Arbitrary Imprisonment In Western Sahara

1/19/2011

Washington (January 18, 2011)

Torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, failure to follow criminal procedures, and repression of civilians by Moroccan government forces are all too common in Western Sahara, according to the findings of a recent visit to El Aaiun by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Western Sahara human rights leader Aminatou Haidar, recipient of the 2008 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, hosted the staff delegation from January 11 to 14 to examine human rights violations allegedly committed by Moroccan security forces against Sahrawis. The delegation included RFK Center Executive Director Lynn Delaney, Director of the Center for Human Rights Monika Kalra Varma, and Advocacy Officer Mary Beth Gallagher. Although the delegation's ability to work or move freely was not impeded, the staff was under constant surveillance by both uniformed and undercover police.

Indications of repression, limitations on freedom of expression, and economic and social marginalization of Sahrawis, as well as state-sponsored violence, are emblematic of the human rights situation there. This context, in concert with the violence that broke out on November 8, 2010, when Moroccan security forces dismantled a camp set up by residents of Western Sahara to protest social and economic discrimination, reinforces the need for impartial international human rights monitoring. The RFK Center strongly condemns the violence committed on both sides surrounding the dismantling of the protest camps in November.

The RFK Center mission met with more than two dozen victims of abuse, torture, and imprisonment and their families during the trip, in addition to Moroccan government officials and representatives of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). "Human rights abuses have been ongoing, and the spike in violence resulting from the dismantling of the Gdyam Izik camp is alarming," said Varma. "There are overwhelming indications of abuse, harassment, or torture both before and after the violence, and Aminatou Haidar and her fellow human rights defenders work at great personal risk in these conditions."

"The fact that there is no international human rights monitoring mechanism as the situation worsens in Western Sahara is unacceptable," stated Varma. The RFK Center has long called on the United Nations Security Council to add a human rights component to MINURSO to monitor the human rights situation in Western Sahara and the camps in Tindouf, Algeria.

"I hope that after the visit of the RFK Center to Western Sahara, the delegation will be able to shine a spotlight on the alarming human rights situation in the territory of Western Sahara, which is under Moroccan control," said Haidar. "Strong support from the United States and the international community is needed to end the suffering of the Sahrawi people."

Aminatou Haidar, 2008 RFK Human Rights Award Laureate

Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights engages in long-term partnerships with RFK Human Rights Award Laureates to support sustainable social justice movements. As one of Western Sahara's most prominent human rights defenders, and president of the Collectif des defenseurs saharaouis des droits de l'homme (CODESA), Aminatou Haidar promotes the civil, political, social, cultural, and economic rights of the people of Western Sahara, including the rights to freedom of speech and association and to self-determination. Ms. Haidar works through non-violent means to organize peaceful demonstrations to denounce the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Moroccan government. Despite years of illegal imprisonment, torture, and abuse under Moroccan authorities, Ms. Haidar continues to encourage Sahrawis to seek, through non-violent means, the realization of their fundamental human rights.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news