A leaked version of the resolution drafted by the so-called ‘Group of Friends’ (France, Russia, Spain, the UK, and the US), but shared yesterday with the full Security Council, revealed that despite strong efforts from other members, France is again refusing to allow the UN to monitor and protect the long-suffering population in Western Sahara.
This is despite repeated calls and documented evidence of serious human rights abuses by Morocco against activists in Western Sahara.
As debate on the draft in the full Council continues today, other Security Council members are voicing strong opposition to the French stance. Western Sahara Resource Watch understands that Brazil, Mexico, the UK, Austria, Nigeria and Uganda would all welcome a UN role to protect human rights in Western Sahara.
· For further information please contact Western Sahara Resource Watch www.wsrw.org
* Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco since 1975. International law and all previous UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions recognise the right to self determination for the people of Western Sahara, but the UN has failed to fulfil its mandate to organize, supervise and proclaim the results of a referendum on independence for Western Sahara.
· MINURSO the UN mission in Western Sahara is the only contemporary peacekeeping mission without a mandate to monitor human rights.
· A statement last week by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon voiced concern over human rights in Western Sahara http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=34473&Cr=&Cr1=
Africa's last colony
Since 1975, three quarters of the Western Sahara territory has been illegally occupied by Morocco. The original population lives divided between those suffering human rights abuses under the Moroccan occupation and those living in exile in Algerian refugee camps. For more than 40 years, the Saharawi await the fulfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.