City Bar Continues to Urge UN Human Rights Monitoring and Reporting in Western Sahara

The New York City Bar Association has written to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in support of the expansion of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)’s mandate to monitor and report on human rights violations in the territory of Western Sahara occupied by Morocco and the Tindouf refugee camps governed by the Polisario, a position the Association has held for several years. This letter reiterates the position taken by the Association on the occasion of the renewal of the mandate of MINURSO in 2010. We took that position “because of the reports of human rights abuses cited by reputable sources such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the RFK Center for Human Rights, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and because we believed that only the reporting of a reputable neutral party with a daily presence in these locations would be able to provide the United Nations and the international community information that was complete and credible,” states the letter, signed by City Bar President Carey R. Dunne. “We also noted that reporting on such issues is standard practice in United Nations peacekeeping missions and that there is no justification for eliminating this function from MINURSO’s mandate.” As noted in the 2010 letter, since the since the establishment of MINURSO in 1991 there have been consistent reports of human rights violations in the territory controlled by Morocco, including the arrest, torture, and detention of Sahrawis for peacefully advocating self-determination, as well as allegations of abuses in the refugee camps controlled by the Polisario in Tindouf, including restraints on travel and free speech. The Association continues to urge that the United Nations Secretary-General and members of the United Nations Security Council expand MINURSO’s mandate to include monitoring and reporting of human rights violations. Both the 2010 and 2013 letters may be read here: