martes, 23 de marzo de 2010
Protest for Release of the Sahrawi Six - Moroccan Embassy, Washington DC
Please join us at 12:00 noon on Thursday, March 25, 2010, at the Moroccan Embassy in Washington, D.C., to call for the release of the six Sahrawi human rights defenders who are facing a military court because they visited their family members in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria. The penalty for their "crime" could be death. Those interested in fighting against this injustice and standing up for the Sahrawi Six, please meet us at noon on Thursday at the Gandhi statue (small park area at 21st and Q Streets and Massachusetts Avenue across the street from the Indian and Moroccan Embassies and just a two blocks from Dupont Circle) http://www.indianembassy.org/gandhi/site_memorial.htm
US Western Sahara Foundation
Protest for Release of the Sahrawi Six
12:00 noon, Thursday, March 25, 2010
Moroccan Embassy, 1601 21st Street, N.W., Washington DC 20009
Human Rights Groups Call for Release of "Sahrawi Six"
(Washington, D.C.) The U.S. Western Sahara Foundation, the Human Rights Action Center, and the Institute for Policy Studies are staging a protest at 12:00 noon on Thursday, March 25 at the Moroccan Embassy to call for the King of Morocco to release the Sahrawi Six, a group of human rights defenders currently facing a Moroccan military court because they visited their family members in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria. Because the six Sahrawis currently reside in Moroccan-Occupied Western Sahara, they could receive the death penalty for visiting their loved ones, even though the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has worked to facilitate just these kinds of visits.
The peaceful demonstration will be held to call for the release of the six as well as the thousands of other Sahrawis imprisoned and who have disappeared in Morocco, all because they supported the right to vote on their self-determination.
"Knowing of the torture and abuse by the Moroccan authorities in these prisons, we cannot imagine what these six have had to endure since they were arrested over six months ago," said Suzanne Scholte, Chairman of the US Western Sahara Foundation. "We are taking this action because appeals to the Moroccan authorities for the release of the Sahrawi 6 have been in vain, so we hope this event will raise awareness and lead to their release."
Jack Healey, former Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, and founder of the Human Rights Action Center stated: "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees everyone the right to travel. Morocco needs to re-assess its policy and release the six Sahrawi human rights defenders. A restitution package for personal harm inflicted upon them by this mistaken policy is essential to healing wounds and showing remorse."
The six Sahrawi human rights defenders have been held in a Moroccan prison since they were arrested in Casablanca on October 8, 2009. Ironically, they were returning from the Sahrawi refugee camps, an area Morocco falsely claims is inaccessible to visitors, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has worked for decades to facilitate these kinds of visits between family members living in occupied Western Sahara and those living in the refugee camps in Algeria, who have been separated since Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975. Furthermore, a recent group of Sahrawis living in occupied Western Sahara just returned from a visit to the camps. It is believed that these 6 are being detained and threatened because they are known for their peaceful efforts to raise the unlawful and inhumane treatment of Sahrawi citizens in occupied Western Sahara to advocate for their right to vote. Those arrested include:
1) Brahim Dahane, President of the Saharawi Association of Victims of Serious Violations Committed by Morocco (ASVDH);
2) Ali Salem Tamek , First Vice President of the Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA) and member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH);
3) Ahmad Anasiri: General Secretary of the Saharawi Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Smara and President of AMDH Smara Chapter;
4) Yahdih Ettarrouzi, Member of AMDH Laayounne Chapter;
5) Saleh Lebayhi: President of the Forum for Protection of Sahrawi Children and member of the Laayoune Chapter of CODESA and AMDH; and
6) Rachid Sghayar, Member of Committee Action against Torture
Most have previously been imprisoned by Morocco including Brahim Dahane, who was among the “disappeared” from the 1980s, a period when hundreds of Sahrawis disappeared into Moroccan prisons and were tortured and held for many years without any acknowledgment by Moroccan authorities of their existence. Additionally, Ali Salem Tamek was one of Amnesty International’s Prisoners of Conscience for being held in prison in Morocco for his support of human rights and self-determination.
The violence against the Sahrawis in occupied Western Sahara has been documented and reported by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, the World Organization Against Torture, Reporters without Borders, and the U.S. State Department. In fact, Morocco’s brutal occupation of Western Sahara has repeatedly led Freedom House to list Moroccan Occupied Western Sahara as one of the world’s worst regimes. Even the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has acknowledged Morocco’s human rights violations against the Sahrawi people, concluding that it is a direct result of Morocco's denial of the basic right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination.
The State Department's most recent report can be found at: http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136076.htm
The groups involved with the demonstration are also urging the United Nations to add human rights monitoring to the MINURSO mandate, MINURSO is the only peacekeeping mission without a human rights mandate.