SA blasts UN over Western Sahara rights

2012-04-25 09:13
New York - South Africa on Tuesday accused UN Security Council powers of "conveniently" ignoring human rights abuses in the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

The council again rejected growing demands for the UN peacekeeping force in the Moroccan-controlled territory to have a permanent rights investigation duty.

But the annual resolution renewing the mandate of the UN force did stress the need for Morocco to improve rights in Western Sahara, which it annexed in 1975 following a Spanish withdrawal.

South Africa's UN ambassador Baso Sangqu said the 15-nation council was guilty of "double standards" by taking "bold steps" over the Arab Spring countries but refusing a permanent rights monitoring system for Western Sahara.

The rights of the people of Western Sahara must be "equally defended with the same zeal and commitment", he told the council.

Without naming countries, he said "the selective approach to human rights by this council calls into question the motivation of those who have conveniently looked the other way while human rights abuses are committed in Western Sahara".

France, a permanent member of the council, is a strong backer of Morocco but has strongly denied trying to influence the Western Sahara talks. South Africa and Morocco are current temporary members of the council.

This year's talks on the UN mission were held amid growing UN complaints that its mission in the sparsely populated phosphate-rich territory is being "undermined" by Moroccan tactics.

The Security Council resolution, which renewed the peacekeeping mandate mandate until April 2013, stressed "the importance of improving the human rights situation in Western Sahara and the Tindouf camps".

Disharmony and tension

Morocco controls the bulk of the territory. The Polisario Front, which fought a guerrilla war against the Moroccans until a UN-brokered ceasefire in 1991, governs the Tindouf camps in Algeria which were set up for Sahrawis who fled the conflict.

The resolution called on the two sides "to work with the international community to develop and implement independent and credible measures to ensure full respect for human rights".

The peacekeepers are officially known as the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). Efforts to organise a vote for the Sahrawi people have been deadlocked for years however.

The UN-brokered talks have failed to make progress on a political solution between the Polisario Front and Morocco.

Morocco's UN ambassador Mohammed Loulichki said the council had been "quite correct" to again reject "broadening the mandate to bring in questions which have nothing to do with the function" of the UN mission.

"Morocco makes a commitment to the [UN-brokered] negotiations" on the territory, said Loulichki. But he reaffirmed Morocco's claim to sovereignty over Western Sahara and said a referendum could lead to "disharmony and tension".

The Polisario Front's UN envoy, Ahmed Boukhari, also condemned what he called the "intrigues and subterfuges" of council members, including France, and said it had not been strong enough on human rights.

"It does not respond to the demands of international human rights organizations nor to the gravity of the situation on the ground, which reveals that there are dozens of Sahrawi political prisoners, hundreds of disappeared in addition to those who have died in detention in Moroccan secret prisons," he said in a statement.

Read more on:    un  |  sa  |  western sahara
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.