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240 NGOs call on the UNHRC to implement programmes of cooperation with Polisario Front

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Geneva (Human Rights Council) 16 September 2020 (SPS)- American Association of Jurists’ Representative in Geneva, Mr. Gianfranco Fattorini, called on the UN Human Rights Council, on behalf of a group of 240 organisation, “to implement a programme of technical cooperation and capacity building with the legal representative of the people of Western Sahara, the Polisario Front.”
In an Oral Statement he delivered before the Council last Monday, Mr. Fattorini, speaking on behalf of the NGOs Geneva Support Group for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Western Sahara (NGOs-GSGPPHRWS), expressed the group’s “deepest concern about the persistent silencing of the Office concerning the breaches to International Humanitarian Law and the serious systematic violations of Human Rights in the Occupied Territory of Western Sahara.”
He regretted that “while the Kingdom of Morocco is considered to be the third country in Africa for the number of Covid-19 victims, no reliable information is available about the situation in the Occupied Territory of Western Sahara.”
To remedy to this abnormal situation, the group of NGOs called on the Human Rigths High-Commissioner, Ms. Michelle Bachelt, “to resume, without delay, the technical missions to Western Sahara initiated in 2015 (at least eastern of the Berm) and the Sahrawi refugees’ camps.”
The group further called on her “to implement the commitments made by the Office at the World Humanitarian Summit, in particular by publicly condemning serious violations of International Humanitarian Law and serious and systematic human rights violations and by reporting on the impact of the frozen conflict on Sahrawi human rights defenders and journalists in view of ensuring the enjoyment of human rights.”
It should be recalled that the UN Human Rights Council only dispatched two technical visits to Western Sahara, the first in 2006 the second in 2015. Surprisingly enough, the reports of both missions were put under Embargo to this date. (SPS)
090/500/60 (SPS)