PN Member Charles Tannock Stresses Need to Settle Conflict of Western Sahara

“The right to self-determination is fundamental human rights, as provided for in the Article I of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” said the Special Rapporteur of the European Parliament for Human Rights in Sahel Region and Western Sahara Dr. Charles Tannock.

In a draft report, a copy of it reached SPS [Sahara Press Service], expected to be discussed at European Parliament soon, Dr. Tannock stressed the urgent need to settle the conflict of Western Sahara, adding that the issue of human rights remains vital for any settlement to the conflict, expressing his fear for the possible consequences of continuing to delay the organization of a referendum of self-determination throughout the past twenty-five years.

The report reviewed testimonies and previous reports, such as the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, who found evidences proving that Moroccan officials “were arresting people for political reasons, they were exposing political prisoners to torture and rape, and that they were kidnapping protesters and throwing them in the desert.”

The report specifically drew attention to the dismantling of Gdeim Izik protest camp on November 2010, referring to the military trial against 25 Saharawis, many of whom are well-known human rights activists.

EU Parliament Rapporteur recalled to the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of 2006 which pointed out to the “restrictions on the freedom of expression, assembly and association in Western Sahara,” as well as the report of the UN Special Independent Expert in the field of Cultural Rights which emphasized the suppression suffered by some aspects of Saharawi culture.

Regarding the issue of natural resources, Mr. Tannock recalled to the legal opinion submitted by the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Mr. Hans Corell to the Security Council in 2002 on the illegality of the exploitation of Western Sahara wealth by the Kingdom of Morocco.

“Products and the wealth of Western Sahara should be excluded from any agreement between Morocco and the European Union, unless the approval and benefit of Saharawis are shown clearly,” added. Dr. Tannock.

Charles Tannock, British MEP, was appointed as a Special Rapporteur of the European Parliament for Human Rights in Sahel Region and Western Sahara last December.


Originally published by Saharay Press Service.

Photo by United Nations Photo.

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