AFAPREDESA nace como respuesta civil a la lamentable situación de los derechos humanos, la incapacidad de defensa de los desaparecidos y torturados y de nuestra angustia como padres, hijos, esposas o hermanos ante la consecuencia de la invasión cívico-militar del Sáhara Occidental por Marruecos.
AFAPREDESA se constituyó el 20 de Agosto de 1989 en los Campamentos de refugiados de Tinduf. Es una Organización No Gubernamental saharaui de defensa de los Derechos Humanos, así reconocida por las leyes saharauis.
Es miembro observador de la Comisión Africana de Derechos Humanos y miembro de la Coalizacion Internacional para la protección de todas las personas contra las desapareciones forzadas.
Participa en el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU en Ginebra. También actúa ante el Parlamento Europeo.
AFAPREDESA ha sido proscrita por el gobierno marroquí, pero aún así continúa ejerciendo su actividad dentro del territorio ocupado.

viernes, 6 de septiembre de 2019

On 28th Anniversary of MINURSO, CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA call UNSC, AU, EU, Spain, Morocco and SADR to Comply with their International Obligations with the People of Western Sahara.

On 28th Anniversary of MINURSO, CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA call UNSC, AU, EU, Spain, Morocco and SADR to Comply with their International Obligations with the People of Western Sahara.

In memory of Johannes Manz, special representative of the UN Secretary General in Western Sahara in 1991, who had the courage to denounce, in his letter of resignation addressed to Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the transfer of unidentified people in the territory, such as a violation in the strict sensu of the Settlement Plan. Jonhannes Manz also declared that he never would be "the Viceroy of Sahara."

In Memory of Frank Ruddy, Former Deputy Chairman U.N. Peacekeeping Mission (MINURSO) who was denounced the Moroccan manipulations and the complicity of some some officials of the United Nations itself.

In Memory of James Baker, Personnel Envoy Of UN Secretary General, who proposed “the Peace plan for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara”, considered as optimal solution by the UNSC in its resolution 1495 (2003). James Baker was also able to act and obtain, in 1999, the first official response of the Kingdom of Morocco on the cases of enforced disappearances in Western Sahara.

In memory of Francisco Bastagli, special representative of the UN Secretary General in Western Sahara in 1991, without their Without his efforts, the first visit of the High Commissioner for Human Rights probably never took place.

In Memory of Christoph Ross and Host Kohler, the two last Personnel Envoys Of UN Secretary General, who struggled for 10 years tried to fulfil the "impossible mission" as they described, themselves, the task that had been entrusted to them.

To all anonymous members of MINURSO who help selflessly victims of human rights violations and families of prisoners and enforced disappeared Saharawi’s.

In memory of Sidi Mohamed Sid Brahim Basiri and all victims of genocide and serious violations perpetrated by Spain and Morocco against Saharawi People.  

On 28th Anniversary of MINURSO, the Saharawi National Commission on Human Rights (CONASADH), Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights Committed by the Moroccan State (ASVDH) and Association of Families of Sahrawi Prisoners and Disappeared (AFAPREDESA) remember that MINURSO don’t organize yet the REFERENDUM, haven’t a mandate on human rights and its “unsettled mandate” is constantly extended without any major progress, despite having spent more than 1.5 billion dollars.  CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA remember also that more than 400 Saharawi victims of enforced disappearances who are unaccounted and whose fate remains are unknowing still now and dozens of Saharawi political prisoners are currently behind bars for having defended the sacred right to freedom and self-determination.

In this occasion, CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA hope that this year be to last year of MINURSO and call the Security Council of the United Nations (UNSC), European Union, African Union (AU), Spain, Morocco and SADR to take all necessary measures - in accordance with their international obligations to implement all relevant UA/UN resolutions on Western Sahara question.  All states and internationals bodies have also the obligations - to prevent, investigate, and penalize the practice of enforced disappearances and others serious human rights violation and to implement adequate individuals and collectives reparations to victims in Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa.

The MINURSO and its mandate:

Since 1988, the question of Western Sahara is in the Agenda of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after “the agreement in principle given by the Kingdom of Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Rio de Oro on 30 August 1988 to the joint proposals of the Secretary-General and the current Chairman of the Organization of African Unity” (UNSC resolution S/621/1988). In 1991 UNSC “decides to establish, under its authority, a United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) in accordance with the report of 19 April 1991 (The report of General Secretary of UN)” (Resolution S/690/1991) with a very clear objective, both in purpose and in time. It was to organize and supervise, by the United Nations in cooperation with the Organization of African Unity, a Referendum for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara (Resolution S/690/1991). The first time fixed to Referendum was February 1992, postponed sine die until now.    

As we can see in its site web (

MINURSO was originally mandated in accordance with the OUA and UN Settlement Plan to:

·         monitor the ceasefire;

·         verify the reduction of Moroccan troops in the Territory;

·         monitor the confinement of Moroccan and Frente POLISARIO troops to designated locations;

·         take steps with the parties to ensure the release of all Western Saharan political prisoners or detainees;

·         oversee the exchange of prisoners of war, to be implemented by International Committee of the Red Cross, (ICRC);

·         repatriate the refugees of Western Sahara, a task to be carried out by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR);

·         identify and register qualified voters;

·         organise and ensure a free and fair referendum and proclaim the results;

·         reduce the threat of unexploded ordnances and mines.

In the same site web we can read that : “While the organisation of the referendum has not been possible to date, other requirements of the mandate have been pursued successfully. MINURSO continues to perform the following tasks:

·         Monitor the ceasefire;

·         Reduce the threat of mines and UXOs;

·         MINURSO provided logistic support to the UNHCR-led CBM (Confidence Building Measures) with personnel and air and ground assets and remain ready to continue supporting the UNHCR programme pending agreement of the two parties on a resumption of the activities, suspended in June 2014.”

Other requirements of the mandate have been pursued successfully!!! First “Monitor the ceasefire” is not another requirement; it is part of African Union and UN Settlement Plan.  Secondly, the CBM is suspended since June 2014 as MINURSO recognised but there no mention why this program was suspended thus depriving the thousands of Sahrawi families who are still separated by the longest militarized and mined wall in the world (2720 km, 120000 soldiers and 7 million antipersonnel mines). Can we speak really of “success” if the CBM program is program is paralyzed since June 2014? Many women and men have learned of  the death of a mother, father, daughter, son, sister or brother without ever being able to hug them, a last time. This paradoxical situation does not exist anywhere in the world. Thirdly, the “Reduce the threat of mines and UXOs” is the result of the Polisario Front effort which, with the support of the specialized organizations, is planning the demining of the liberated territories of SADR and which has completely destroyed the stockpile of antipersonnel mines. Destruction welcomed by the Secretary General in his report to UNSC in April 2019 (S/2019/282). Can we speak really of “success” if most of the territory, especially the area along the wall of shame under the exclusive responsibility of MINURSO, still undermined and continues to cause many casualties among civilians and much damage to the fauna and flora of Western Sahara?  

How did we get here? Who bears the responsibility? How can justify so much expense for such a meagre result? How to explain that UNSC was failed to implement its numerous resolutions to put end at the last situation of the anachronism of colonialism in Africa? How to get out of the perpetual impasse so that the Saharawi people can live with dignity in the land of these ancestors and that the Maghreb region finds peace and finally be committed to the long-awaited prosperity?

CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA consider that is time to all actors involved in the Western Sahara question to fully play its role derived from its obligations under international law. In particular the implement independent and credible measures to ensure full respect for human rights pending the coveted referendum or a political solution which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations. Given that human rights are universal, interrelated, interdependent and indivisible and that the right to self-determination is also a human right, CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA and the organizations that subscribe to this joint declaration will also contribute their opinion in this regard. Should we remind the first article of “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” (Adopted by General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960)?  This article which provides that “The subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and co-operation.”

UNSC responsibilities

On UNSC website, we can read ( :   

“The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 Members, and each Member has one vote. Under the Charter of the United Nations, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.” That may be true for most UN member states but some states are not subject to this rule, violating international law, human rights and international humanitarian law with impunity. Obviously it is the case of the Moroccan State and its occupying forces in Western Sahara. The UNSC website adds: “The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.” So, how to explain that the aggression, genocide against Saharawi People and the multiple obstacles of Morocco to the Settlement Plan have never been sanctioned by the UNSC? In the past, Morocco perpetrated Genocide against Saharawi People, maybe UNSC is waiting another similar massacre to act?  

One of the fundamental reasons is that UNSC itself is carrying out its actions in a loyal way, guided only by the common objectives and norms established by the organization it serves and by recognized legal principles, fulfilling its duty with all great and small nations. The passivity of the UNSC causes stupefaction and much frustration, over all those, like the Saharawi people, who believe in the principles of the United Nations. If UNSC itself don’t take seriously its decisions, to whom turn Peoples, such as the Sahrawi who has been waiting to fulfil the promises solemnly announced since 30 years by the UNSC?

The second one is some of friends of Western Sahara, like Spain and France, are so involved with Kingdom of Morocco in business and plunder of naturals resources of Western Sahara that they forget their international obligations to another people neighbouring Europe.

The lightness of the UNSC is obvious in relation to human rights.

The UNSC failed to implement of certain aspects of Settlement of Peace, such the release of Saharawi political prisoners or resolve the pending humanitarian issues, including cases of enforced disappearances despite having mentioned them in some of its resolutions:  

In 1996, after 5 years of creation of MINURSO, the UNSC mentioned for the first time the case of political prisoners who is part of Settlement Plan, “8. Also calls upon the parties, as a demonstration of good will, to cooperate with the United Nations in the implementation of certain aspects of the Settlement Plan, such as the release of Saharan political prisoners and the exchange of prisoners of war on humanitarian grounds, as soon as possible, to accelerate implementation of the Settlement Plan in its entirety;” Resolution S/RES/1056 (1996)

In the same year, UNSC mentioned humanitarian aspects “…requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council closely informed of all significant developments, including their humanitarian aspects…;” S/RES/1084 (1996)

From 2001 until 2005 UNCS was interested in the fate of people unaccounted calling the parties to cooperate with the ICRC and commending efforts to resolve humanitarian issues:

-          “5. Urges the parties to solve the problem of the fate of people unaccounted for, and calls on the parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law to release without further delay all those held since the start of the conflict;” Resolution S/RES/1359 (2001)

-          “ Commending the work of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Western Sahara, including his efforts to resolve the pending humanitarian issues related to the conflict and to implement UNHCR confidence-building measures,” Resolution S/RES/1485 (2003)

-           “4. …and its call upon Morocco and the Polisario Front to continue to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross to resolve the fate of persons who are unaccounted for since the beginning of the conflict;” Resolution S/RES/1495 (2003)

-           “… and calling upon Morocco and the POLISARIO Front to continue to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross to resolve the fate of persons who are unaccounted for since the beginning of the conflict,” Resolution S/RES/1598 (2005)

-           “…and calling upon the parties to continue to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross to resolve the fate of persons who are unaccounted for since the beginning of the conflict,”

In 2010, the word human (instead of humanitarian) is mentioned for the first time: “Stressing the importance of making progress on the human dimension of the conflict as a means to promote transparency and mutual confidence through constructive dialogue and humanitarian confidence-building measures, and noting the need for all parties to adhere to their obligations, taking into account the roles and responsibilities of the UN system and the relevant paragraphs of the UN Secretary-General’s report,” S/RES/1920 (2010)

After, 20 years of presence of MINURSO in Western Sahara, the UNSC mentioned first time Human rights in its Resolution 1979 (2011) “Stressing the importance of improving the human rights situation in Western Sahara and the Tindouf camps, and encouraging the parties to work with the international community to develop and implement independent and credible measures to ensure full respect for human rights, bearing in mind their relevant obligations under international law,”

The same paragraph is mentioned in all posterior resolutions 2044 (2012), 2099 (2013), 2152 (2014), 2218 (2015), 2285 (2016), 2351 (2017), 2414 (2018), 2440 (2018) and 2468 (2019). In all those resolutions the UNSC also “Strongly encouraging enhancing cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), including through facilitating visits to the region”.

After 7 years of these new instances of the UNSC “Stressing the importance of improving the human rights situation in Western Sahara and the Tindouf camps...”, the human rights situation continues to worsen seriously through the repression of the pacific demonstrations, the practice of torture (condemnation by the UN committee against torture itself), the arbitrary detections also denounced by the UN Working Group on arbitrary detections, unfair trials, expulsions of international observers, including members of MINURSO ...

As regards the visits of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), only two visits have been made, the first in 2006 and the second in 2015. In 2016, UNSC “Commending the technical visit of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to Western Sahara in April 2015, and to the Tindouf refugee camps in July-August 2015, and strongly encouraging full continuing cooperation with OHCHR, including through facilitating further visits to the region”  Resolution 2285 (2016).”

The reports of those two missions of OHCHR were never officially published nor their recommendations implemented. Why this mutism worthy of the medieval sects? As for the aforementioned "Morocco’s interaction with Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council", contained in all recent UNSC resolutions, it is "wishful thinking" since curiously no UN rapporteur or working group has had access to the occupied territories for many years !!

The UNSC-led process in Western Sahara has become a true farce so it is urgent to remedy before it is too late, for the benefit of the Saharawi people, of all the peoples of the region and to regain the credibility of the United Nations institutions.

It cannot be understood how a peace process, initially planned for 16 weeks, has been extended for 28 years without any tangible result. CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA call UNSC to make this year the last anniversary of MINURSO. From here to September 6, 2019, there are more than 16 weeks more than enough to implement a political solution that provides for the right of self-determination of the Saharawi people. CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA propose that ideal solution who must benefice all parties is the respect of Union African Constitute Act, signed and ratified by both parties, the Kingdom of Morocco and SADR. The second option could be the application of the Initial Settlement Plan who which both parties have subscribed or the application of the James Baker Plan considered by the Security Council as the optimal solution. Both applications should be under chapter 7. 

Awaiting it, CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA request Security Council to take all necessary measures to open the territory to international observers and the United Nations agencies as called for by the resolution of the UN Economic and Social Council on "Support for Non-Self-Governing Territories by specialized agencies and international institutions related to the United Nations ".

CONSADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA also request that the mandate of MINURSO be extended to human rights or that an international and independent human rights monitoring mechanism be created. This could be the pertinent response to the recommendations of the Secretary General of the UN who considers that "It is necessary to maintain an independent, impartial, broad and sustained surveillance of the human rights situation in order to ensure the protection of all the inhabitants of Western Sahara." (Par. 78, S / 2019/282)

At a minimum, UNSC should demand the release of political prisoners as contemplated in the initial Peace Plan as well as mandate the ICRC to resolve the issue of more than 400 Saharawi disappeared without further delay. To this end, it is necessary to investigate the numerous mass graves by independent experts with the support of the ICRC and MINURSO.

EU Responsibilities

The European Union has recently approved Trade Agreements with Morocco that include the occupied territories of Western Sahara. These agreements do not have the consent of the Saharawi people or the Polisario Front, recognized by the UN as a legitimate representative of the Saharawi people. The Agreements also violate the judgments of the CJEU and the legal opinions of the UN and the AU on the natural resources of Western Sahara. More seriously, the EU allows itself to arbitrarily exclude the liberated territories of the Saharawi Republic and the inhabitants of the Sahrawi refugee camps (the refugees are equally concerned about the Saharawi Natural Resources as the Secretary-General himself recalls in his report S / 2018/277 par.72[1]), which consecrates the division of the territory imposed by the wall of shame. It is a serious attack on the integrity of Western Sahara as recognized internationally and violates the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU). It should be recalled that resolution 2232 (XXI) of December 20, 1966 and resolution 2357 (XXII) of December 19, 1967, of the United Nations reiterated that any destruction of the territorial integrity of colonial territories in the process of decolonization is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the Resolution 1514 (XV) of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 1960. This EU position demonstrates, where necessary, the primacy of economic and political interests over the promotion of democracy and human rights. The EU thus contributes to the financing of Moroccan settlements and encourages the occupation authorities to pursue with impunity the serious violations of human rights and the violation of International Law and International Humanitarian Law. This deprives the Saharawi people of covering their legitimate aspirations enshrined in the international legality in force, including their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.

The EU is violating its own treaty which states, inter alia, that "Union action on the international stage must be guided by ... respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law"

The European Union has put a lot of enthusiasm, too much enthusiasm, to celebrate these illegal agreements that include the occupied territories. CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA implore UE to put a little bit of enthusiasm to help seriously to find a solution to the question of Western Sahara who still responsibility of Spain, a full member of UE. CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA call also UE to support the extension mandate to human rights.  

UA Responsibilities

The official policy of the OAU/UA regarding the question of Western Sahara was essentially guided by the principles and objectives of the OAU Charter and the UA Constitutive Act, in the total decolonisation of the African territories under foreign occupation. The African settlement efforts culminated in the adoption by the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, in June 1983, the resolution AHG/Res. 104 (XIX) requested the two parties Kingdom of Morocco and Polisario Front to start (a) direct negotiations to reach (b) a ceasefire, and (c) to agree on the modalities of a free and fair referendum on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara under OUA and UN supervision. The resolution AHG/Res. 104 (XIX) has been the instrument on which the UN has founded its peace process. In this context, the UN and OAU jointly elaborated a Settlement Plan that was agreed to by the two parties on 30 August 1988, and adopted by Security Council resolutions 658 (1990) and 690 (1991). Durant the period after the creation of MINURSO, the OUA and UA was supported the process led by the United Nations (UN) and expressed its concern about the non solution of the question Western Sahara.

Concerned about the human rights situation in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, the AU Executive Council, meeting in its Twentieth Ordinary Session, which was held in Addis Ababa, from 23 to 27 January 2012, adopted decision EX.CL/Dec.689(XX) on the Twenty Ninth, Thirtieth and Thirty First Activity Reports of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). Regarding the situation in Western Sahara, the Executive Council requested the ACHPR to carry out a mission to the occupied territory of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) with a view to investigating human rights violations and to report to the next Ordinary Session of the Executive Council in January 2013. The significance of this decision lies in that it highlights the increasing interest given by the AU to the issue of human rights in the occupied territories of the SADR as well as the AU’s stance with regards Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara. Annually, the UA took similar decisions without arriving, however, to carry out this mission until today due to the obstacles of the Kingdom of Morocco, despite having integrated the UA from 2017.

CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA consider that it is time to implement all relevant OUA/UA decisions on Question of Western Sahara and the full respect of the Constitutive Act of UA, which was adopted in Lomé, Togo, on 11 July 2000. The African leaders underlined that the AU shall function in accordance with a number of principles including, inter alia, sovereign equality and interdependence among Member States of the Union; respect of borders existing on achievement of independence; and prohibition of the use of force or threat to use force among Member States of the Union. It is wonder that Morocco remains the only African country that occupier by force parts of another member State of the AU, namely the Sahrawi Republic, in violation of the objectives and principles of the AU Constitutive Act. It is important to highlight, in this context, the plan of action (SP/ASSEMBLY/PS/PLAN(I)) adopted by the AU Heads of State and Government, meeting in Tripoli, Libya, on 31 August 2009, in the Special Session on the Consideration and Resolution of Conflicts in Africa, which included the measures that needed to be taken to accelerate the resolution of conflict and crisis situations and consolidate peace in Africa.

CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA call UA to take all measures to put end to last situation of colonisation in Africa, including political, diplomatic, financial, sanctions...

States Responsibilities  

The serious humans rights, including enforced disappearances affected thousands of Saharawi Peoples wish more than 351 are deaths, as Morocco recognize itself, constituted a extrajudicial killings for which the State of the Kingdom of Morocco is responsible with the co-responsibility of Kingdom of Spain who remains the administrative power de jure of the territory of Western Sahara. Their kidnappings also constitute a violation under international human rights law. From the perspective of international human rights law, State responsibility is not a question if, for example, the state recognizes the death during enforced disappearances or if which of the State officials ordered Saharawi’s execution or death; whether the officers acted on their own initiative or under orders of their superiors.

The enforced disappearances of thousands of Saharawi Peoples constituted also a violation of the Geneva Conventions. In killing hundreds of Saharawi during enforced disappearances, the State of Morocco also committed war crimes incompatible with Purposes of the United Nations, its Charter and numerous conventions and treaties of which the Kingdom of Morocco is one of the States parties.

The circumstances of enforced disappearances of thousands of Saharawi Peoples constitute acts of torture under the terms of the Convention Against Torture, ratified by Morocco and Spain. Finally, all of these cases may also constitute until now enforced disappearances since the location, exhumation and identification of their remains has not been established.

Further, the enforced disappearances are also part of a plan to exterminate Saharawi people as recognized by the Spanish Court in the case of genocide against Saharawi people, ruling by Judge Pablo Ruz of April 9th, 2015, where 11 high-level Moroccan Officials are prosecuted because they are involved in the commission of the crime of Genocide and Torture against Saharawi People.

The four organizations welcome of the exemplary collaboration of the Government of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) that has authorized the exhumation and identification of mass graves located in the liberated territories by independent experts from the University of the Basque Country. It has allowed exhuming, since 2013, 15 bodies of which 10 are already identified. We encourage SADR to continue facilitation of search works for the disappeared as well as carrying out the pertinent investigations that can help the location of new mass graves.

Individual liability  

CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA have determined, throughout its investigation about enforced disappearances, that there is credible evidence, which requires further investigation of the individual responsibility of high-level Moroccan Officials and Spanish Officials. They warn against a disproportionate emphasis on publishing a report via the internet where crime is recognized without judging those responsible. The search for justice also requires identifying those who, in the context of the commission of such crimes, have abused or breached the responsibilities of their positions of authority.

Duty to investigate

Until now, Morocco and Spain failed to meet international standards regarding the investigation into unlawful deaths caused during enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions. Morocco for being the intellectual and material responsible for crimes related to enforced disappearances and the genocide committed against the Saharawi people. Spain, due to its responsibility as the power of administration de iure of the territory of Western Sahara and the fact that most of the disappeared and / or murdered persons had no other condition than the Spanish nationality at the time of the commission of the violations.

In 2004, Morocco creates the Instance of Equity and Reconciliation who failed to give all truth about enforced disappearances, including Saharawi cases. 

Spain who adopted the Universal Competence, reformed in 2009 and 2014, failed to implement the Spanish sentences persecuting High-Level Officials and don’t take any diplomatic measure to facilitate the extradition of Moroccan responsible or sending Spanish rogatory commissions to Morocco and Western Sahara.

CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA consider that under the International Legality (UN Charter who recognizes the responsibility of Spain as Administrator Power of Western Sahara), Morocco authorities were under legal obligation to grant access to the Spanish Judges and Investigators. Also, Morocco was under an international obligation to cooperate with the Spanish authorities in the investigation of the killing and enforced disappearances of Saharawi Peoples. Such cooperation necessarily demanded that they gave access to the Saharawi territories to the Spanish authorities in a prompt and effective fashion and in good faith. The occupation or control of part of Western Sahara was never intended to enable impunity. 

In addition, we are concerned that the places where the crimes were perpetrated, including the mass graves, are subject to destruction, alteration and / or cleaning. We fear that the crime scenes having been thoroughly cleaned. Until now Morocco and Spain was not conducted in good faith, and that they may amount to obstructing justice. 

The limitations and restrictions were also imposed by Moroccan authorities to independents experts as it was happened on 2017: See the extract of Report of WGEID A/HRC/WGEID/111/1:

Reply to a prompt intervention letter

91.       On 19 January 2017, the Government responded to the prompt intervention letter transmitted on 31 October 2016, and stated that the visit was part of activities susceptible to constitute a threat to the public order. The individuals concerned were therefore banned from the Moroccan territory in accordance with law n° 02-03 of 11 November 2003 on the entry and stay of foreigners in Morocco.


92.       The Working Group thanks the Government of Morocco for the information dated 19 January 2017 concerning the prompt intervention letter dated 31 October 2016, while being surprised by the content of the reply. The Working Group recalls that the right of relatives to know the truth of the fate and whereabouts of disappeared persons is an absolute right, not subject to any limitation or derogation. No legitimate aim, or exceptional circumstances, may be invoked by the State to restrict this right.

93.       Furthermore, the Working Group recalls that article 13 (3) of the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance states that “steps shall be taken to ensure that all involved in the investigation [of enforced disappearance], including the complainant, counsel, witnesses and those conducting the investigation, are protected against ill-treatment, intimidation or reprisal.” Furthermore, in its resolution 7/12, the Human Rights Council urged Governments to take steps to provide adequate protection to witnesses of enforced or involuntary disappearances, human rights defenders acting against enforced disappearances and the lawyers and families of disappeared persons against any intimidation or ill-treatment to which they might be subjected.  

Duty to protect and to warn

On the basis of credible information at our disposal, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to prove that Spain knew, and ought to have known, of a real and imminent or foreseeable threat to thousands of Saharawi’s life. The extermination plan carried out by the Moroccan invading forces was initiated on October 31, 1975, when Spain continues with its presence in the territory. By way of examples, the bombardment with Napalm and White Phosphorus, so hundreds of cases of enforced disappearances were caught before February 26, 1976, when the last Spanish soldier abandoned Western Sahara. Even after that date, Spain is not exempt from legal responsibility. It is not enough to say "I have left the post!”

In addition, Spain has the obligation to protect Saharawi citizens by their double conditions as inhabitants of a non-autonomy territory protected by the UN Charter and as full-fledged Spanish citizens according to Spanish legislation itself, conditions reaffirmed repeatedly by the Spanish courts.

Duty to prosecute and reparations

The Kingdom of Morocco has taken timid steps towards addressing its State responsibilities in terms partial reparation of a small group of victim of enforced disappearances but never take any action or measures to prosecute the perpetrators of genocide, serious violations and crime against humanity in occupied territories of Western Sahara. The reparations stop short of what is required under international law. The accountability gap is all the more worrying given that all high-level officials involved in the genocide of Saharawi People still have post of responsibility in different institutions of State. This is the case of the 11 senior military and civil officials prosecuted by the Spanish courts following the sentence of Judge Pablo Ruz of 9th April 2015.

Neither the Moroccan government nor the Spanish government don’t took any initiative to determine who was the responsible for the planning and organizing of the enforced disappearances and the genocide against the Saharawi people. 

To date Morocco has failed to offer public recognition of its responsibility for enforced disappearances and Genocide against Saharawi People. Morocco has failed also to offer an apology to relatives of who deceased during sequestration and for the manner in which they was killed.

CONASADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA consider also that financial package offered to some families of victims of enforced disappearances it is questionable whether such package amounts to compensation under international human rights law. 

Instead, one would expect the Kingdom of Morocco to demonstrate non-repetition including by releasing all political Saharawi prisoners imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their opinion; investigating all allegations of torture and lethal use of force in formal and informal places of detention; investigating all allegations of enforced disappearances and making public the whereabouts of individuals disappeared; facilitating access to ICRC and others independents experts to masses graves places to allow the corresponding exhumations and identifications of bodies.  It should also undertake an in-depth assessment of the actors, institutions and circumstances that made it possible for the enforced disappearances of thousands to be carried forward and identify the reforms required to ensure non-repetition.                      

Universal jurisdiction

The enforced disappearances and genocide against Saharawi People constitute an international crime over which States should claim universal jurisdiction. They are war crimes in flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions and its additional protocols. The circumstances of the execution of 35, including 14 children and 22 women, as recognized by Morocco in 2010, may amount to an act of torture under the Convention Against Torture. They are continuing cases of enforced disappearance since theirs remains have not been located, exhumed and identified.


CONOSADH, ASVDH and AFAPREDESA are concerned that legal accountability for the enforced disappearances in Western Sahara.  Morocco has not initiated proceedings yet and hopes for credible accountability are weak in a country with such a track record ofhuman rights violations. The trial underway in Spain don't deliver until now credible accountability because the non collaboration of Morocco and the obstructions of Spanish government itself.

The search for accountability and justice should include other means, including political, diplomatic, financial, sanctions. Actions to honor victims of enforced disappearances and to remember their lives have an important role to play in ensuring public accountability for their killings during detention.


[1] The situation of the Sahrawi refugees raises multiple human rights concerns, many linked to the non-realization of the right to self-determination, such as the dire humanitarian situation they face, coupled with the lack of access to natural wealth and resources in Western Sahara west of the berm.”  Point 72 S/2018/277

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