London, 24 October 2020 (SPS) – Amnesty International (AI) has stressed that effective human rights monitoring must be a central component of any future UN peacekeeping presence in Western Sahara.
In a statement issued Thursday, AI underlined that on 28 October, the UN Security Council is due to vote on the renewal of the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) which has thus far not included a human rights component, adding that a fully independent and impartial mechanism within the UN peacekeeping mission, with the mandate and resources to effectively monitor human rights abuses, would at least ensure that the mission does not continue to look the other way when it comes to ongoing human rights violations
AI confirmed that restrictions by the Moroccan authorities on access for independent human rights organizations and journalists remained in place in Western Sahara, curtailing monitoring of human rights abuses and entrenching impunity for the security forces.
In this regard, it stated that in February 2020, Moroccan authorities expelled at least nine people, including Spanish parliamentarians and a Spanish lawyer, who had planned to observe the trial of Sahrawi human rights activist Khatri Dada, upon their arrival at El Aaiun airport. (SPS)