Western Sahara Autonomy Discussed, Violence Condemned

Photo Credit: Michele Benericetti

King Mohammed VI of Morocco announced his country’s commitment to talks on Western Sahara, offering to grant an autonomous status within its sovereignty. However, the Polisario Front, which is fighting for independence and supported by Algeria, rejected the proposal. King Mohammed said a solution must “guarantee the Kingdom’s national unity and territorial integrity, allow for reunification to take place and respect the characteristics of the region’s population.” The announcement came as the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information condemned “acts of repression experienced by the Moroccan regime against the peaceful demonstration calling for self-determination of the Saharawi people.”

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon summarized a report on Western Sahara at the 67th session of the U.N. General Assembly, which noted “on the core issues of the future status of Western Sahara and the means by which the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara was to occur, no progress was registered.”  In a presentation to members of Congress, the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights called on the U.S. government to “support the inclusion of a permanent human rights monitoring and reporting mandate to the U.N. Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara.” The Saharawis inhabit the westernmost part of the Sahara desert in present-day Mauritania, Morocco, Western Sahara and Algeria.