A statement of the CODESA on the occasion of the International Day Against Torture

The 26th of June, 2020. Western Sahara A Statement by The Congregation of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA) On the occasion of the International Day Against Torture In the wake of its 52/194 decision, issued on the 12th of December 1997, the UN General Assembly declared the 26th of June as an International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, so as to to completely eliminate it and prevent it in all countries of the world, in accordance with the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, which has been implemented since the 26th of June 1987.



Since the Moroccan Miltary Force coercively annexed it on the 1st of October 1975, Western Sahara, as many other countries, has witnessed gross human rights violations, such as :

  • Napalm and White Phosphorous bombing that are both internationally banned.
  • Death flights, live burials and extrajudicial killings of civilians.
  • Kidnappings of many Sahrawi civilians of all ages.
  • Torture of all kinds; be it physical or mental in military and civil centres and in secret hideouts.

Despite the condemnation of the grave human rights violations by many Human Rights Organisations which held the Moroccan state responsible for what had occured in Western Sahara (an issue that is classified in the UN Boards, since the sixties of the 20th century, as a territory whose people are still waiting for their right to self-determination), Morocco unhesitantly and purposely continues on inflicting torture and many other inhuman and degrading ill-treatment as well as cruel punishment against Sahrawi civilians who demand nothing but their right to self-determination. Physical and Psychological torture is being inflicted in Western Sahara in strategic ways which are aimed mainly at civilians, human rights defenders, bloggers, journalists, students and unemployed people only because of their position on the issue of Western Sahara; because of their participation in peaceful demonstrations in demand for their right to self-determination and benefitting from their own natural resources as well as in demand for a set of other fundemental rights which are guaranteed by international conventions and covenants.

During the year of 2019, the Congregation of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders recorded in its annual report that Ali Salem Boujamâa Essaâdouni had been subjected to physical and mental torture in a dark room by the hands of Moroccan police officers in one of the police stations in Laayoune’s Wilaya immediately after he had been politically arrested on the 11th of April 2019 for raising a bunch of Sahrawi national flags in a public square. The Congregation of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders has also recorded that the political detainee Ali Salem Boujmâa endured the same kind of torture and ill treatment while he was being forcibley transfered from Laayoune local prison, in Western Sahara, to Bouzakarn local prison, in Morocco. Furthermore, a set of testimonies confirms that many Sahrawi political prisoners have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment in different Moroccan prisons as it was recorded this year that Moroccan prison administrations resorted to punishing Sahrawi political prisoners in isolatory cells which is a cruel act that exacerbates their suffering and denies them their right to communicate with the outside world, as in the cases of (Mohamed Tahlil Mouhammad Al Bashir Boutangiza, Abd Al Mawla Al Hafidi Mohammad Dadda). On the basis of the aforementioned data, And as the political and military conflict between the Popular front for the Liberation of Sakia El Hamra and the Valley of Gold (Polisario) on one hand and the Moroccan state on the other is still ongoing, resulting in creating a general objective context for all the crimes against hanity and for all the despicable human rights violations in Western Sahara, And as the laws and the rules which should apply to the territory of Western Sahara are International humanitarian laws (The Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War) and the international law of han rights, And as the Moroccan state is involved in the act of torture against Sahrawi civilians because of their position on Western Sahara issue since the 31st of October 1975, which has been confirmed by testimonies of victims who survived forcible disappearance and political arrrest and which have also been mentioned in various reports by different international human rights organisations, And as all types of Moroccan military and civil apparatuses bear the complete responsibility for committing crimes against humanity which touched upon Sahrawis’ right to life and endangered their personal safety, We, The Congregation of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA), declare that we:

  1. Stand in absolete solidarity with victims of torture worldwide and with Sahrawi victims who are being subjected to physical and psychological torture, along with miscellaneous forms of opression which reveal abhorring racism against Sahrawi people, their identity and theirhistory.
  2. Denounce the continuous practices of all kinds of torture and the oppression of civilians denying them their right to peaceful demonstrations as well as denying them their civil, political, economical, social and cultural rights as agreed upon in international laws and the decisions of International Security Council in regard to the issue of WesternSahara.
  3. Adhere to our call for an international investigation on all the gross human rights violations committed by the Moroccan state and itsapparatuses.
  4. Call for the Red Cross and different Bodies of The UN ,which are concerned with the protection and monitoring human rights, to provide protection for Sahrawi civilians and to provide support to all human right defenders; as we also demand their immediaterelease.
  5. Appeal to the international community and to all human rights organisations to help bring the Moroccan state to trial and question it about not implementing and not committing to «the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment» and the Optional Protocol attached to the latter and also for not living up to its international obligations particularly those related to human rights in Western Sahara.We also call for an instantaneous implementation of the right to self-determination» to the people of Westen Sahara as legitimately stated in International conventions and covenants which are related to the International Law of HumanRights.

The Congregation of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA) The 26th of June 2020, in Western Sahara.


A statement of the CODESA on the occasion of the International Day Against Torture