Salah Labsir is from the city of Smara in the occupied territories of Western Sahara. His family still lives there. Between 2005 – 2013 he worked as a media correspondent. At the same time, he actively participated in peaceful demonstrations for the self-determination of Western Sahara. His political opinions are the reason why he started to be persecuted by the Moroccan regime, including forceful entry to his parents’ house on several occasions.
The first-ever side-event on Western Sahara was hosted by the Support Group on Western Sahara on Wednesday 1st March 2017 during the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. The meeting was moderated by Mr Gianfranco Fattorini of the American Association of Jurists (AAJ).
The Namibian Ambassador, Sabine Böhlke-Müller, opened the proceedings and welcomed the attendees. The ambassador noted that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had stated in his address to the Human Rights Council opening the 34th Session that prevention of human rights abuses should be a priority for the Council. Yet some 50 years after the General Assembly recognised the need for a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara, and some 25 years after the setting up of MINURSO, the people of Western Sahara have yet to make use of their right to self-determination. Continue reading
During his visit to Morocco and Western Sahara in September 2012, Juan Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, signalled that public prosecutors and judges rarely investigate complaints which allege the use of torture to obtain evidence or confessions during the early stages of interrogations. Continue reading
Throughout 2016, Adala UK recorded 85 cases of arbitrary expulsion of international observers (including human rights defenders and journalists) from Western Sahara by Morocco. They were accused of ‘disturbing public order’ for their attempts to observe the situation regarding human rights. Continue reading
The arrest and maltreatment of Saharawis by the Moroccan police goes against the commitment to respecting the rights of the child and related covenants. Anass Oamri, an eleven year old boy, was detained on 18 January, taken from his family in El Aaiún, the capital of Western Sahara and spent a night at the police station, and was going to be taken to Morocco to the orphanage in Salé over 1000km from his home.
The Moroccan authorities accused him of drawing and making Western Sahara flags. Anass Omari is a Moroccan orphan who was adopted by the Saharawi family with whom he lives in El Aaiún. Anass sent a text from the place where he was being detained to ask his friends, other Saharawi children, not to forget about him and to remember that he is Saharawi like them. Continue reading
Sahrawi prisoners in Moroccan prisons continue to face a daily struggle for survival, living in overcrowded cells without ventilation where temperatures can rise to 44 ºC during the summer months. Prisoners are regularly abused, both mentally and physically, by prison guards, in some cases leading to death. Such incidences are never investigated which creates a climate of complete impunity. Continue reading
On 20th November 2016, the Moroccan police arrested 3 minors in El Aiun, bringing the number of detained minors to 24 in the last 3 months of 2016.
The 3 youngsters Jamal Salami, Hajoub El Mojahid and El Bashir Babait were interrogated in police custody and subjected to maltreatment before being presented to the royal prosecutor who set them free until they had to present themselves at another tribunal on 20th December. During this the period was extended to 25 January.
On 28th November 2016, another minor – Ibrahim Mayara – was called to appear in front of a tribunal at the end of January 2017. Ibrahim had been arbitrarily detained on 26th November near his family home in El Aiun by a Moroccan police patrol. ‘The boy was violently attacked, immobilised and quickly taken away in a Moroccan police car’, an eye witness told Adala UK. Continue reading