New York- As was the case in recent years, the United States drafted the annual resolution that will extend the mandate of the United Mission in the Sahara, known as MINURSO, until April 2015.
The draft resolution, which has been circulated to the 15 members of the Security Council, does not include any provision for the establishment of a human rights monitoring mechanism in the Sahara and the Tindouf camps.
It, however, calls on both sides, Morocco and the Polisario, to respect human rights and stresses “the importance of improving the human rights situation in Western Sahara and the Tindouf camps, and encouraging the parties to work with the international community to develop and implement independent and credible measures to ensure full respect for human rights.”
The draft resolution, which is expected to be put to a vote on April 29, also “recognizes and welcomes the recent steps and initiatives taken by Morocco to strengthen the National Council on Human Rights Commissions operating in Dakhla and Laayoune.”
In addition to renewing MINURSO’s mandate for another year, it also praises Morocco’s willingness to cooperate with individual U.N. Human Rights Council investigators.
In the advance copy of the UN’s annual report on the “Situation in the Western Sahara”, which was released on April 10th, 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, the United Nations Secretary General stressed that “such positive developments should contribute to a more balanced and comprehensive monitoring of human rights.
He went on to say that “The end goal nevertheless remains a sustained, independent and impartial human rights monitoring mechanism, covering both the Territory and the camps.”
But, after the phone conversation between Morocco’s king and the UN chief, the word “mechanism” was deleted from the final UN report. Accordingly paragraph 100 of the report reads as follows: “The end goal nevertheless remains the sustained, independent and impartial monitoring of human rights, covering both the Territory and the camps.”
During the conversation he held with Ban ki-moon, King Mohammed reiterated Morocco’s “constant commitment and constructive cooperation to reach a final political settlement to this regional dispute, within Moroccan sovereignty.”
The King further emphasized the “imperative need to preserve the negotiations parameters as they were defined by the Security Council, safeguard the current framework and modalities of the UN involvement and avoid biased approaches and risky options.”
“Any straying from this track will be fatal for the ongoing process and holds dangers for any UN involvement in the issue,” the king added.
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