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Date of posting : September 13, 2017

Morocco denounces in Geneva Maneuvers of Algeria on Moroccan Sahara

The Royal Advisory Council on Saharan Affairs (Corcas), represented in the Moroccan delegation by Moulay Ahmed Mghizlat and Hassan Sbai, has participated since Monday September 11 at the 36th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The second day of the general debate was marked by Morocco’s reaction, which denounced Algeria’s maneuvers on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara, Algeria, which also “lost all credibility at the Human Rights Council as well as in Africa “.

“The new Algerian strategy before the council is to hide behind countries like Namibia to attack the territorial integrity of the Kingdom,” said the Chargé d’affaires of Morocco in Geneva, Hassan Boukili, who reacted to a statement by the Algerian delegation on the situation in the Sahara.

The diplomat was speaking during the debate that followed the presentation of the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Council meeting at its 36th session.

“Morocco rejects the false pressures and harassment that Algeria is trying to exert on the Office of the High Commissioner,” he said, noting that the country should rather worry about its meager action in this field.

In this context, he indicated that the Kingdom fully subscribes to the High Commissioner’s assessment of the incoherence and hypocritical attitude of some States which criticize human rights in others and flout them at home. “This is exactly the case of Algeria as soon as it concerns the Moroccan Sahara,” Boukili said.

The Moroccan institutions, he continued, fully fulfilled their role of promoting and protecting human rights in the Sahara as in other regions. He said that the Security Council had even congratulated him, as he had welcomed the efforts made by the Kingdom since 2006 to settle the dispute on the basis of his proposal for autonomy.

Noting that if there is a human rights deficit, it is on the Algerian side that we must look, the diplomat reiterated Morocco’s appeal to the High Commissioner to call on Algeria about its real human rights issues.

In particular, he referred to the tens of thousands of enforced disappearances in Algeria, denial of the right to self-determination of the Kabyle and Mozabite populations, refusal to receive the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Working Group on Enforced Disappearances, arbitrary detention and international human rights NGOs.

Mr. Boukili also cited violations committed by polisario militias in the Tindouf camps, under the responsibility of Algeria. In this context, he urged the High Commissioner for Human Rights to regularly include these issues in his future reports to the HRC.

In another statement on behalf of Morocco’s Moroccan territorial Integrity Support Group, the Moroccan diplomat stressed that the Kingdom is engaged in constructive, voluntary and sustained interaction with the UN human rights system, Special Procedures, Universal Periodic Review, treaty bodies, as well as with the Office of the High Commissioner.

This interaction, he added, stems from firm commitment to the effective promotion and protection of human rights throughout the national territory, including in the Sahara region. In this context, eleven special procedures visited Morocco, including the cities of Dakhla and Laayoune where they had free access to all stakeholders, including representatives of local civil society.

He also said that the Security Council, in its last resolution, welcomed this interaction with the special procedures of the UNHRC, recent measures taken by Morocco, as well as the role played by the CNDH committees in Dakhla and at Laâyoune. The Security Council has not expressed any concern about the human rights situation in the Sahara, he said, noting that the UN executive body has reiterated its request for registration of the populations of the Tindouf camps.

Mr. Boukili further noted that Morocco continues to strengthen the economic and socio-cultural conditions conducive to the full enjoyment of human rights by the inhabitants of the Sahara where ambitious structuring projects have been launched with the aim of transforming the region into a strong economic pole open to its African neighbors.

The participation and involvement of the local population in these development projects, as well as their massive participation in all national elections, as seen last September prove real attachement of the local population to Morocco.