Frente POLISARIO alerts UN Security Council to expulsion of Catalan delegation

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Representative of the Frente POLISARIO at the United Nations, Dr Sidi M. Omar, has drawn the attention of the UN Security Council to the expulsion on Friday of a Catalan delegation from Western Sahara by the Moroccan authorities of occupation, expressing a strong condemnation of this unlawful action, in a letter to H.E. Mr Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations, President of the Security Council.

Below is the full text of the letter:

“H.E. Mr Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve

Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations

President of the Security Council

New York, 29 February 2020

Your Excellency,

I am writing to report that, on Friday 28 February 2020, the Moroccan authorities of occupation in Western Sahara expelled a delegation from Catalunya, in Spain.

Ms Susana Segovia, Mr Ferrán Civit, Mr Vidal Aragonés, Ms Guadalupe Moreno, Mr Oriol Puig, Mr David Minoves, Ms Gemma Aristoy, and Mr Toni Royo were not allowed to disembark the plane upon their arrival at the airport of El Aaiún, the capital of the occupied Western Sahara, and were immediately expelled from the Territory. The group intended to see first-hand the situation of human rights in the Territory and to meet Sahrawi human rights and civil society activists. On 25 February 2020, the Moroccan occupying authorities also expelled Ms Ana Sebastián Gascón, a lawyer who went to the Territory to attend, as an observer of the Spanish Bar Association, the trial of a Sahrawi human rights activist.

I would like to bring to your attention and that of the Members of the Security Council our strong condemnation of this unlawful action, which is another episode of Morocco’s continued attempts to keep the occupied territories of Western Sahara off limits to international observers and foreign journalists. As we have alerted on previous occasions, Morocco’s repeated expulsions of international observers from the occupied Western Sahara share a common objective, which is none other than to hide the heinous crimes perpetrated by the Moroccan occupying forces against Sahrawi civilians.

What makes the situation even more alarming is that all the repressive and terrorising practices pursued systematically by the Moroccan occupying forces against Sahrawi civilians take place under complete media blackout imposed on the occupied Western Sahara. As the UN Secretary-General indicated in his report S/2019/787 of 2 October 2019 (para. 68), Sahrawi journalists, lawyers, bloggers and human rights defenders covering human rights violations in the Territory are harassed and arrested arbitrarily.

The UN Secretary-General has repeatedly insisted that impartial, comprehensive and sustained monitoring of the human rights situation is necessary to ensure the protection of all people in Western Sahara. It is therefore imperative that the Security Council exert the necessary pressure on Morocco to ensure that UN human rights monitors, and international observers gain full, unfettered and continuous access to the occupied Western Sahara.

I would be most grateful if you would bring the present letter to the attention of the members of the Security Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurance of my highest consideration.

Dr Sidi M. Omar

Representative of the Frente POLISARIO at the United Nations” (SPS)

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