The UN Security Council on Monday evening adopted as an official document a letter from the President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Brahim Ghali, on the catastrophic human rights situation in occupied Western Sahara, especially since the breakdown of the ceasefire by Morocco.
“In our most recent letters to you dated 19 February 2021 and 17 May 2021, respectively, which were issued as documents of the Security Council, we drew your attention and that of the members of the Council to the catastrophic situation in the occupied territories, particularly since the act of aggression perpetrated on 13 November 2020 by Morocco” in El-Guerguerat, wrote Mr. Ghali in his letter addressed on 2 August by the permanent representative of South Africa to the UN to the president of the Security Council for circulation as a document of the Council.
“It is therefore with great urgency that I address this letter to you, to draw your attention and that of the members of the Security Council to the increasingly alarming situation in the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara due to the war of terror and reprisals that Morocco, the occupying state, is waging against Sahrawi civilians, human rights activists, journalists and bloggers, who are subjected on a daily basis to unspeakable cruelty and barbaric and inhumane practices,” the SADR president stressed.
Mr. Ghali, also secretary general of the Polisario Front, cited the case of human rights activist Sultana Khaya and her family, whose home has remained under siege since 19 November 2020 and who continue to suffer “physical aggression, sexual harassment and other barbaric and degrading treatment at the hands of Moroccan security agents and state-sponsored thugs.
The Sahrawi president also stressed in his letter that “many Sahrawi activists and human rights defenders have joined the ‘my flag on my house’ campaign, raising the flag of the Sahrawi Republic over their homes as a symbol of non-violent protest against the illegal Moroccan occupation of parts of their country.
“Many of them have suffered reprisals at the hands of the occupying authorities because they defend human rights and campaign non-violently for the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and independence,” he denounced.
In addition, Brahim Ghali expressed his concern about the situation of Sahrawi political prisoners, including the Gdeim Izik group, which “continues to be alarming because of the deplorable conditions in which they are held in Moroccan prisons and the degrading practices and reprisals to which they are subjected by the Moroccan prison administration.
“To protest against their continued illegal detention and degrading treatment, detainees of the Gdeim Izik group held in Moroccan prisons have begun successive hunger strikes while the Moroccan occupation authorities continue to turn a deaf ear to their legitimate demands,” he lamented.
In this context, President Ghali again called on the President of the UN Security Council to “act urgently to put an end to the suffering of all Sahrawi political prisoners and their families and ensure their immediate and unconditional release so that they can return to their homeland and be reunited with their loved ones.
“As we have made clear in previous communications, it is the passivity of the UN Secretariat and the Security Council and their deafening silence in the face of Morocco’s criminal conduct that encourages the occupying state to persist in its terrorist and barbaric practices in the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara,” he lamented further.
Mr. Ghali also called on the Council President to “fulfil his responsibilities and provide protection to Sahrawi civilians in the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara, who are under strict military siege and media blackout”, and reiterated that “no peace process will ever be possible as long as Morocco persists in waging, with impunity, a war of terror and reprisals against Sahrawi civilians and human rights activists.
“We reserve the legitimate right to respond firmly and decisively to any action that undermines the security and safety of any Sahrawi citizen, wherever he or she may be. Morocco alone bears full responsibility for the consequences of its criminal acts and terror in the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara,” the Sahrawi president concluded.