segunda-feira, 22 de dezembro de 2008

Morocco "violates” the rights to freedom of expression in Western Sahara (HRW)

Morocco "violates the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly in Western Sahara, said the new report of Human Rights Watch (HRW), sent to the UN Security Council and made public Saturday on its website.

In this report of 216 pages, the director of the division of the Middle East and North Africa at HRW, Sarah Leah Whitson, said that "Morocco uses a combination of repressive laws, police violence and unfair trials to suppress Sahrawis who struggle peacefully for independence or full self-determination for Western Sahara ", indicating it is " An international issue that has been holding for decades."

"In Western Sahara, the Moroccan authorities consider any opposition to their administration of the territory (Western Sahara) as illegal attack on territorial integrity of Morocco" adding that they (the Moroccan authorities) use this position to ban or disperse peaceful demonstrations and to deny legal recognition to organizations defending human rights ".

According to HRW "the problem goes beyond the repressive laws" because as it is explained in the document, "the police beats demonstrators that call peacefully for independence and sometimes torture detainees."

Citizens file formal complaints about police abuse that the justice system routinely dismisses without conducting serious investigations, reinforcing a climate of impunity for the police," says the HRW document.

HRW confirms that Moroccan courts have charged Saharawi human rights “activists” for "inciting or participating in acts of violence based on dubious evidence at completely unfair trials".

HRW estimates that the Security Council of the United Nations should provide "guarantees" so that his presence (the UN) in the region could involve a Regular "mechanism" for monitoring of human rights, stressing that France and the United States, as permanent members of the Security Council and have the "strongest interest in this region," must play a "crucial" role.

The organization considers all UN peacekeeping missions around the world include a human rights component and, with MINURSO forces operating in a peacekeeper capacity in Western Sahara, this region should be no exception.

While recalling that HRW takes no position on the issue of independence of Western Sahara, the director of the division of the Middle East and North Africa of this international NGO has made a series of recommendations to end the violation of human rights in the region.

The Organization recommends to "revise or abolish" laws that make "illegal" the political expression and activities of organizations deemed to undermine the "territorial integrity" of Morocco and are also used to "suppress" the non-violent actions for defending the Saharawi rights.

It also recommends putting an end to the "impunity" for "abuse" committed by the police (Moroccan) ensuring "serious" investigations to the complaints of civilians and that disciplinary measures are applied against the officials.

Finally, HRW urged judges and prosecutors to respect the rights of suspects under Moroccan law to be examined by a doctor and dismiss evidence based on statements which are proven to have been obtained under torture.

The Saharawi Minister of Justice Mr. Hamada Selma Daf said Friday that the government of the SADR and the Polisario Front "supports the call for HRW to the Security Council for the establishment, within the MINURSO, a mechanism for observation and regular supervision of the situation of human rights in occupied Western Sahara and the Saharawi refugee camps."

MINURSO "can not continue to be the exception to the rule of all peace missions of United Nations in the world" said Minister of Justice.

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