The Freedomsun Defenders Organization for the Protection of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders is closely monitoring the alarming attacks perpetrated by the Moroccan occupation forces in the occupied cities of Western Sahara. Of utmost concern are the systematic assaults carried out by Moroccan settlers against Sahrawis, amounting to attempted premeditated murder. The latest incident involved a heinous attack on human rights activist and former prisoner of conscience, Rashid Al Sghair, on July 17, 2023, at 2:30 am in the city of Dakhla.
During the attack, three Moroccan settlers, armed with white weapons and swords, targeted Rashid Al Sghair in front of his family’s house. The brutal assault left him with severe injuries to his face and hand, necessitating his immediate transfer to a hospital in the occupied city of El Ayoun, which is approximately 600 km away from Dakhla. A medical certificate was issued, indicating a 120-day period of disability due to the extent of the injuries sustained.
As per his statement, this attack aligns with a pattern of repeated attempts to suppress his human rights and media initiatives and to subject him to intimidation by high-ranking Moroccan officials, particularly the so-called governor of the occupied Dakhla province. This is especially noteworthy since human rights activist Rachid Al Sghair has been actively involved in investigating the mysterious case of Habib Agrishi, who was abducted by unidentified individuals on February 07, 2022. Until now, the circumstances of the abduction and Agrishi’s fate remain undisclosed. In addition, Al Sghair‘s media endeavors include covering the protests in the Bir Gandouz region and daring to publish candid blogs about human rights violations in the area.
Freedomsun Defenders is deeply troubled by the international community’s apparent inertia in condemning these atrocious crimes committed by Moroccan settlers in broad daylight. Moreover, the community’s disregard for the Moroccan occupation’s targeting of Sahrawi human rights activists is a matter of grave concern.
The organization firmly believes that this series of crimes cannot be seen in isolation from the systematic policy of the Moroccan occupation. This policy includes attempts to undermine the legal impact of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report from 2006,which remains suppressed due to the influence of certain powerful international actors who shield the Moroccan occupation forces from accountability.
Additionally, these crimes are not detached from the repressive tactics employed by the Moroccan occupation authorities over the years. These tactics include sealing off the cities of Western Sahara, preventing human rights bodies, organizations, and international observers from accessing them, and capitalizing on the international focus on developments in Ukraine.
The organization of Freedomsun Defenders is urgently calls on the international community to fulfill its responsibilities by activating the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and ensuring the essential protection of civilians living under occupation.
Executive Office of the Sun of Freedom Organization, 22 July 2023.