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Western Sahara: MEPs for a UN independent investigation

Plenary Session Press release - Human rights25-11-2010 - 12:47

In a resolution on the Western Sahara, MEPs "strongly condemn" the violent incidents which occurred during the dismantling of the Gdaim Izik protest camp and say that the UN is the most appropriate institution to conduct "an international independent investigation" of the events.

The resolution was adopted on Thursday and is the fruit of a carefully crafted consensus between six EP political groups: EPP, S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA, GUE/NGL and ECR.

In the text Parliament expresses its "greatest concern about the significant deterioration of the situation in Western Sahara" and "strongly condemns" the violent events of 8 November, when a still unknown number of people were killed during a raid by Moroccan security forces aimed at dismantling the protest camp of Gdaim Izik, in the outskirts of Laâyoune.

While noting that the Moroccan parliament has set up a committee of enquiry, MEPs believe that the United Nations is the most appropriate body to launch an international and independent investigation on the events, deaths and disappearances.

They also call on all parties to remain calm and refrain from any further violence.

Lastly, Parliament deplores the attacks on press freedom, which have affected many European journalists, and calls on Morocco to allow free access and free movement in the Western Sahara for the press, independent observers and humanitarian organisations.

What next?

In parallel to the establishment of a UN independent enquiry, MEPs suggest that UN bodies should set up a human rights monitoring mechanism in Western Sahara. The European Commission should allocate increased funding in humanitarian aid for Sahrawi refugees to help cover basic needs for food, water, housing and medical care. Around 90,000 and 165,000 refugees are thought to live in the Tindouf region.

Most importantly, the EU fully supports the efforts of the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General "to find a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution which will allow the self-determination of the people of the Western Sahara".

A follow-up debate with representatives of all parties involved in the conflict is set to take place on 1 December in the Foreign Affairs Committee.

REF. : 20101125IPR00558
Updated: ( 25-11-2010 - 12:52)