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Violation of International Law in Western Sahara: Sahrawis in France call for protection of civilians

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Violation of International Law in Western Sahara: Sahrawis in France call for protection of civilians

Paris, April 23, 2024 (SPS) - The Sahrawi community in France denounced on Tuesday "the assassinations, premeditated killings, and all violations of international law" by the Moroccan occupier. They called on the United Nations Security Council, the African Union, and the International Committee of the Red Cross to "protect Sahrawi civilians" and "demand the release of Sahrawi political prisoners from Moroccan prisons."

In a statement released on the eighth anniversary of the assassination of the young Sahrawi trade unionist and activist, Brahim Saika, Sahrawis in France emphasized that the situation of the Sahrawi population has rapidly deteriorated since the violation of the ceasefire by Morocco and the resumption of war in November 2020. The statement noted that the occupied territories of Western Sahara have been systematically closed off to the press and international observers.

"The widespread repression carried out by various Moroccan occupying forces on the ground, particularly against human rights defenders and journalists, reflects that this civilian population is now held hostage and besieged," affirmed the Sahrawi community in France. They also stated that "there is no freedom of movement, speech, or association."

"The situation of all Sahrawi political prisoners in Moroccan prisons is critical, especially those from the Gdeim Izik group and the so-called 'Comrades of the Martyr Elouali' group," the statement added.

According to the Sahrawi community, the assassination of trade unionist Brahim Seika, a member of the Sahrawi unemployed coordination, "is just one example of this brutal repression, carried out with impunity against the Sahrawi people in the occupied territories." Brahim Seika was arrested on April 1, 2016, by the Moroccan police in Guelmin after participating in a peaceful gathering with his colleagues. The young Sahrawi died in Agadir (Morocco) on April 15, 2016, as a result of the torture inflicted upon him after his arrest.

"To the east of the military separation wall, Sahrawi civilians are threatened by drone attacks," revealed the statement, highlighting that "in the occupied western part, they are forcibly impoverished through marginalization, the seizure of their land, the destruction of their homes and properties. The wealth of their country is plundered by the occupier and its allies."

In this context, the Sahrawis in France deplored the failure of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to organize the referendum, stating that this mission "has not been able to protect defenseless Sahrawi civilians or denounce human rights violations because its mandate has never integrated this aspect, as provided in other armed conflicts where the UN intervenes."