Committee Reports

Letter to the United Nations Secretary General Re Support of the Expansion of Western Sahara


City Bar President John S. Kiernan, through the Council on International Affairs (Martin S. Flaherty, Chair) sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary General urging, once again, the expansion of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (“MINURSO”) to monitor or report on human rights violations both in the territory of Western Sahara and the refugee camps at Tindouf, Algeria, governed by the Polisario.  The City Bar made similar requests in 2010, 2013 and 2014 based on credible reports of human rights abuses cited by reputable sources such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the RFK Center for Human Rights, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and based on the belief 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.  The letter argues that the need for credible monitoring of human rights abuses in the territory of Western Sahara and the refugee camps at Tindouf is greater than ever.  Not only is there evidence that abuses have continued, but since 2015, according to Human Rights Watch’s 2017 Annual Report, Morocco has refused to allow Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International access to the territory for the purpose of conducting research missions and reporting such abuses.