Letter dated 16 May 2021 from the Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council
I would like to transmit to you herewith a letter from the Ambassador and Representative of the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguía el-Hamra y de Río de Oro (Frente POLISARIO) to the United Nations, Sidi Omar, addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, concerning the deteriorating situation of human rights in the occupied territories of Western Sahara (see annex).
I should be grateful if you would have the present letter and its annex issued as a document of the Security Council.
(Signed) Mathu Joyini
Ambassador Permanent Representative
Annex to the letter dated 16 May 2021 from the Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council
Upon the instructions of my Authorities, I am writing to you with great urgency and concern to draw your attention and the attention of the members of the Security Council to the alarming deterioration of the situation of human rights in the territories of Western Sahara under Moroccan illegal occupation.
As we have alerted in previous communications, ever since it carried out new aggression against the Sahrawi Liberated Territory on 13 November 2020, the Moroccan occupying state has been waging another retaliatory war against Sahrawi civilians, who are continually subjected to unspeakable cruelty and inhuman and degrading practices.
We energetically condemn the new wave of brutal violence and terror carried out by the Moroccan occupying state against our people in the occupied Western Sahara, and we hold the United Nations fully responsible for their protection and safety. The United Nations cannot stand by and watch as the Moroccan occupying state intensifies its terrorizing and atrocious assaults on Sahrawi civilians and human rights activists in full view of the United Nations mission in the Territory.
In his letter of 16 February 2021 addressed to you and circulated as a document of the Security Council (S/2021/162), Brahim Ghali, President of the Sahrawi Republic and Secretary-General of the Frente POLISARIO, drew your attention to the catastrophic situation in the occupied Western Sahara. This situation has alarmingly deteriorated over the past few months.
In the occupied city of Bojador, agents of the Moroccan security services have repeatedly stormed the house of the family of Sid Brahim Jaya, which has been put under tight police siege since 19 November 2020. As documented by pictures and videos shared on a large scale, the Sahrawi human rights activist Sultana Sid Brahim Jaya and her family have been engaged in a series of non-violent actions to protest the Moroccan illegal occupation, including raising the national flag of the Sahrawi Republic over their house.
On 10 May, in a cowardly act of terror, dozens of masked Moroccan security agents and state-sponsored thugs violently broke into the house of the family of Sid Brahim Jaya and brutalized Sultana and her family. The agents ransacked the house and detained three human rights activists, who were taken to a remote location and tortured. They are Khaled Al-Hussein Lahcen Boufriwa, Salek Mohamed Salek Babir and Babuzid Mohamed Said.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Front Line Defenders, among others, have been sounding the alarm about the situation of Sultana Sid Brahim Jaya and her family as they continue to endure the most horrific forms of physical and psychological violence at the hands of Moroccan security agents. Early today, in a new episode of their continuing terror, Moroccan security agents stormed the family house and physically harassed Sultana and her sister, Al Waara Sid Brahim Jaya, and subjected them to disgraceful and degrading treatment.
Many Sahrawi human rights activists across the Sahrawi Occupied Territories are taking part in the campaign “my flag over my home”, in which they raise the flag of the Sahrawi Republic over their homes as a symbol of non-violent protest against the Moroccan illegal occupation of parts of Western Sahara. Because of their human rights advocacy and non-violent activism in support of the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and independence, many Sahrawis have suffered violent reprisals and have had their homes raided and vandalized by Moroccan security forces.
The situation of Sahrawi political detainees, including Gdeim Izik Group, continues to be alarming because of the deplorable conditions in which they are being held in the prisons of the Moroccan occupying state and the degrading and retaliatory practices to which they are subjected by the Moroccan penitentiary administration. We urge you once again to act urgently to end the suffering of all Sahrawi political prisoners and their families and to ensure their immediate and unconditional release so that they can rejoin their homeland and be reunited with their families.
At a time when you continue pursuing efforts to appoint a new Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, the Moroccan occupying state is intensifying its repression in the Sahrawi Occupied Territories and undermining any prospect of relaunching the peace process. In this regard, the Frente POLISARIO reaffirms that no peace process will be possible as long as the Moroccan occupying state persists, with full impunity, in its terrorizing and retaliatory war against Sahrawi civilians and human rights activists, in addition to its attempts to forcibly impose a fait accompli in the Territory.
The Frente POLISARIO reiterates its urgent call upon you and the Security Council to assume your responsibilities in protecting the Sahrawi civilians and ensuring their physical and moral safety as an essential component of the United Nations responsibility towards the Sahrawi people and towards the decolonization of the last colony in Africa.
I should be grateful if you would bring the present letter to the attention of the members of the Security Council.
(Signed) Sidi M. Omar
Ambassador Representative of the Frente POLISARIO at the United Nations