WSRW requests UN to halt plundering and monitor human rights abuses
In its letters to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and all members of the Security Council, Western Sahara Resource Watch called for a human rights monitoring capacity to be included in the MINURSO mandate, as well as the establishment of a mechanism to place the proceeds from the exploitation of Western Sahara's natural resources under international administration until the status of the territory has been resolved. Read the letter here.
The Honourable Ban Ki-moon United Nations Secretary-General 760 United Nations Plaza United Nations New York, NY 10017
March 29, 2010
The UN Security Council will discuss the renewal of the MINURSO mandate during the month of April. Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW), an international NGO - with member organisations in over 35 countries - with the aim of ensuring respect for international law in the resolution of the dispute over Western Sahara, wishes to make a two-fold call.
First, we urge that you make express in your soon-to-be-released report on the situation in Western Sahara the need for the MINURSO mandate to be adapted to include a human rights monitoring capacity, with a direct reporting line to the UN Security Council. It has been widely documented that the civilian population of the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara is subject to various human rights abuses, such as arbitrary detention, beatings and torture. The UN has an obligation, accepted as a sacred trust, to protect the population from such abuses while they wait for the organisation of a just and equitable self-determination referendum, in conformity with the resolutions of the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council and of the African Union. MINURSO is the only UN mission established since 1978 without a mandate to monitor human rights. There is no reason it should remain the exception to the rule.
Second, we urge your report address Morocco’s continuing and illegal exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara, a theft which continues to undermine confidence between the parties and as such is a key obstacle to the resolution of this long-standing dispute. Further detailed information is available on WSRW’s website at www.wsrw.org. Morocco’s activities are carried out in contravention of a raft of UN General Assembly resolutions including resolutions 62/113, 62/120, 63/102, 63/111, 64/98 and 64/99, amongst others, as well as its international obligations pursuant to Article 1 of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. As established with great clarity by the UN Legal Counsel in 2002:
‘…if further exploration and exploitation activities were to proceed in disregard of the wishes and interests of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the principles of international law applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories.’
All evidence shows that the Sahrawi people and their representatives have not been consulted in relation to the exploitation of Western Sahara’s resources by Moroccan authorities and complicit foreign interests. On behalf of the Saharawi people, the Frente POLISARIO has protested these illegal activities in numerous letters to both the Security Council and to your Excellency. Western Sahara Resource Watch urges you to propose to UN Member States the establishment of a mechanism to place the proceeds from the exploitation of the territory’s natural resources under international administration until the status of the territory has been resolved.
Sara Eyckmans International Coordinator Western Sahara Resource Watch
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