Western Sahara, known as "Africa's last colony," has been controlled by Morocco since 1975, when the government claimed sovereignty over the territory, despite a ruling by the International Court of Justice. The Moroccan government's actions ignited a decades-long conflict with the Polisario Front, a national movement committed to self-determination for the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara. Because of the conflict, the Sahrawi population was divided into those who stayed under Moroccan control and those who fled Western Sahara for safety and now live in refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria.
- President of the United States
Barack Hussein Obama
- Secretary-General of the United Nations
The United States must demonstrate leadership in addressing the human rights emergency in Western Sahara. Four decades after the cease-fire, the Sahrawi people suffer torture, arbitrary detention, forced disappearances, and other human rights violations at the hands of the Moroccan government. And more than 100,000 refugees are left living in temporary camps outside Tindouf, Algeria, separated from their families and afraid to return home.
As these abuses continue, the United Nations Peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, known as MINURSO, does not have a human rights mandate to investigate and report on these ongoing violations.
The United States must take action against the human rights violations facing the Sahrawi people living in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara and in refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria.
I urge you to call for a human rights mandate for MINURSO and take a stand for human rights.
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