"For the past decade, the UN Security Council has been ignoring calls by Amnesty International and others to add a human rights component to MINURSO, which would allow for monitoring and reporting on human rights abuses, as is done by the vast majority of comparable UN missions around the world," said the NGO, in an article published on its site on Monday.
"This has to change, especially ahead of what seems to be a new phase of conflict in the long-term dispute over the territory, with the possibility of renewed fighting endangering civilians and intensified repression,” said the NGO
"Now, more than ever, impartial and independent UN human rights monitoring and reporting in Western Sahara is desperately needed," insisted the organization.
The urgent need to set up such a mechanism is explained, according to Amnesty International, by the fact that “in recent years, access to the region has grown increasingly difficult for external monitors as the human rights situation has continued to deteriorate."
"In 2020, Moroccan authorities prevented at least nine lawyers, activists and politicians from access to Western Sahara. Journalists have also been denied access,” said the NGO
Referring to the Moroccan assault on November 13th against the Sahrawi civilians in the buffer zone of El-Guerguerat, west-south of Western Sahara, the human rights defence NGO said that “as confrontations between Morocco and the Polisario escalate, both local human rights activists and supporters of Sahrawi self-determination are coming under increased pressure.”