An appeal to the UN Human Rights Council was launched, at a meeting in Geneva organized by the “Geneva Group in Support of Western Sahara” (GGSSO), to send commissions of inquiry into the occupied territories of Western Sahara and to act upon the serious violations committed by the Moroccan occupation regime against the Sahrawi people.
As part of its activities in support of the Sahrawi cause, the GGSSO organized at the Palais des Nations in Geneva last Wednesday on the sidelines of the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council (OHCHR), a side event in the form of a panel discussion themed: “Strengthening cooperation between the human rights mechanisms of the African Union and those of the UN.”
This side-event, which aims to emphasize the strengthening of OHCHR technical cooperation with the legitimate representatives of the Saharawi people, was marked by a strong presence of representatives of the permanent missions, the Polisario Front, the American Association of Jurists, NGOs and the media.
In their statements, the participants reiterated their support for the Saharawi people in exercising their right to self-determination and denounced the many and recurrent manoeuvres aimed at excluding the African Union (AU) from discussions on the question of Western Sahara despite Morocco’s membership.
The meeting was addressed by the Chargé d’affaires of Timor-Leste, Francesco Dionitio Fernandez, who chairs the Group, the Saharawi Minister of Europe, Oubi Bouchraya, and the Deputy Minister of Justice of Namibia, Lidwina Shapwa, the illustrious Sahrawi activist Aminatou Haidar, who is the President of the Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders, the Representative of the Sahrawi National Commission for Human Rights (CONASADH) Hassan Boutzegart and the pan-African managing director of lawyers, Donald Deya.
The “Geneva Support Group for Western Sahara” (GGSSO) is a transregional group composed of 13 countries (Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Cuba, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, South Africa, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Uganda, Venezuela and Zimbabwe) as well as the American Association of Jurists and the Polisario Front representation in Geneva.
This group’s work focuses on human rights and humanitarian issues in Western Sahara.
On this occasion, the GGSSO additionally renewed its appeal to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to work and strengthen cooperation with the Polisario Front and implement a specific programme as stipulated in the UN General Assembly resolution “n 74/95” and the commitments made by the Office during the first World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul in 2016.