New York - The annual report of the United Nations Secretary General on the “Situation in the Western Sahara” has been released on Thursday.
New York – The annual report of the United Nations Secretary General on the “Situation in the Western Sahara” has been released on Thursday.
The report, which was circulated to the members of the Security Council, was submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2099 of 25 April 2013 by which the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 30 April 2014.
The report, which was obtained by MWN, covers the latest developments in the Sahara since the Secretary General’s report submitted to the council on April 8 2013, and describes the situation on the ground, the status and progress of the negotiations and the existing challenges to the Mission’s operations.
But unlike last year, this year’s report doesn’t include a clear recommendation from the UNSG to extend the mandate of the MINURSO to include a human rights monitoring system in the Sahara and the Tindouf camps.
However, while welcoming the efforts made by Morocco to improve human rights in the Sahara and both parties’ readiness (Morocco and the Polisario) to cooperate with United Nations human rights bodies, he stressed that “such positive developments should contribute to a more balanced and comprehensive monitoring of human rights.
“The end goal nevertheless remains a sustained, independent and impartial human rights monitoring mechanism, covering both the Territory and the camps,” he said.
In his report to the Security Council last year, Ban Ki-moon made a clear recommendation on the need to establish a human right monitoring mechanism in the Sahara and the Tindouf camps. “Given ongoing reports of human rights violations, the need for independent, impartial, comprehensive and sustained monitoring of the human rights situations in both Western Sahara and the camps becomes ever more pressing,” the UN chief had said.
In this year’s report, the UNSG welcomes “Morocco’s cooperation with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. “I note with satisfaction the steps which Morocco has taken, such as those related to CNDH and the military tribunals.”
One of the highlights of the report is that the UN chief calls on the parties to engage “seriously” on the content of a political solution and the form of self-determination.
“I call upon the parties to recognize the need for urgent progress and to engage seriously on the two core issues in the Security Council’s guidance – the content of a political solution and the form of self-determination,” Ban Ki-moon says is his report to the Security Council.
The Secretary General tacitly admits that the approach adopted by the United Nations so far has not yielded the expected solution, hence the need to adopt a new approach. In this regard, he emphasized that if, by April 2015 no progress has been made in the negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario, the Security Council will have to reconsider the framework of the negotiating process, which started in April 2007.
“I ask that the international community, and in particular the neighboring states and the members of the Group of Friends, provide support for this endeavor. If, even so, no progress occurs before April 2015, the time will have come to engage the members of the Council in a comprehensive review of the framework that it provided for the negotiating process in April 2007,” he added.
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