Western Sahara: Saharawi presence at UN Human Rights Council

The President of Adala UK, Mr Sidi Ahmed Fadel, held a series of meetings in September 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland to coincide with the commencement of the 30th meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Mr Sidi Fadel presented detailed reports to the permanent UN missions and International NGOs concerning human rights violations against Saharawi political prisoners, drawing concerned members attention to the history of Western Saharan territories, the Moroccan occupation of 1975 and the systematic human rights violations committed by the Moroccan authorities against Saharawi civilians in the occupied territories.

The report provides substantive evidence that Moroccan prisons fail to provide the minimum standards for health including poor living conditions in narrow, overcrowded cells which severely affect the health of detainees and contribute to the spread of disease. The report highlights Saharan political prisoners languish in Moroccan prisons and are, in many cases, subjected to slow deaths due to medical negligence by prison administrations, and health violations including the repeated delay of treatments. The Adala UK report also stressed that many political prisoners suffer from chronic diseases, severe pain and serious complications often arising from injuries sustained during their arrests.

As a response to the growing number of Sahrawi detainees who have died due to medical neglect under appalling conditions of detention in the Moroccan prisons, Mr Sidi Fadel appealed to representatives of permanent missions to the UN Human Rights Council and the international community to urgently pressure Morocco, to fulfil the 1955 UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Protection of Prisoners (SMR) which states that full health care must be provided for detainees and every effort made to preserve their lives.

Mr Fadel also urged members to encourage further progress on the agreements made in 1991 which brought about the settlement of the Western Sahara conflict and assured a clear path of decolonisation for the Saharawi people. "It is imperative", stated Mr Fadel, "for the United Nations to guarantee the inalienable rights of the Saharan people to self-determination".

 Source: Adala UK 

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