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In April, the annual negotiations on Western Sahara will take place in the UN Security Council. Western Sahara has become one of the most contentious issues at the UN – let’s keep it that way!

“human rights monitoring by MINURSO should include monitoring of the Saharawi right to access their natural resources”

6 February 2018: Two international companies, Kosmos and Cairn, have pulled out of Western Sahara. The two companies have hitherto claimed that oil exploration in Western Sahara is legal as it is to the “benefit of the population” of Western Sahara. Kosmos even constructed an entire website ( to argue that point. The propaganda site, however, misreads the conclusion of the UN Legal Opinion from 2002, which had stated that the legality of such operations are to be in accordane with the “wishes and interests of the people of the territory”. In other words, Kosmos has failed to take into account the wishes of the Saharawis, and instead replaced the ‘people of the territory’ with the ‘population’. On 21 December 2016, the Court of Justice of the EU argued (paragraph 106) that the argumentation of benefits of this kind is irrelevant. This means human rights monitoring by MINURSO should include monitoring of the Saharawi right to access their natural resources.

Please help us ensure that the whole UN Security Council get this message! April is the crucial month for negotiations so we must make our voices heard before that.

Please write to the Perú government, which holds the Presidency of the Security Council, asking that your letter is circulated to all members. A hard copy letter is best, but if you do not have time please send an email to all members of the Security Council.


Dear Ambassador

MINURSO must monitor human rights

There are well documented violations of human rights including torture, false imprisonment and sexual violence perpetrated against Saharawi citizens in Moroccan occupied Western Sahara.

Despite this the UN Security Council has so far failed in its duty – Under Article 73 of the Charter of the United Nations – to protect the citizens of this non self-governing territory.

MINURSO remains one of only a handful of peacekeeping missions without a human rights mandate.

The people of Western Sahara need independent, impartial, comprehensive and sustained monitoring of human rights in Western Sahara, as recommended by the UN Secretary General.

The current measures to assess human rights are ineffective. MINURSO must be empowered to monitor human rights in Moroccan occupied Western Sahara and the refugee camps in Tindouf.

The right of the Saharawi people to their natural resources is also being exploited by Morocco. MINURSO must also, therefore, be given the power to report on the rights of the Saharawi to access their natural resources.

I ask you to fulfil your duty to the people of Western Sahara and give MINURSO the power to monitor human rights.

Yours sincerely

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