Alternative Report to UN Human Rights Committee on Western Sahara

The history of Western Sahara is a history of rights recognized, but not realized. A former Spanish colony, Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco in 1975 and has since been mired in a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and the indigenous Sahrawi people.

While Morocco has no legitimate sovereignty over Western Sahara, as the de facto occupying power in a non-self-governing territory, it is supposed to respect and implement the rights protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). But time and time again, Morocco has abused and refused to acknowledge the rights of the Sahrawi people and the international community, to a large extent, has tolerated Morocco’s persistent failure to provide the Sahrawi with even the most modest redress.

RFK Human Rights and a coalition of partners have prepared the following report in response to the UN Human Rights Committee’s 2016 review of Morocco’s implementation of the ICCPR in Western Sahara. Using data gathered by the signatories of the report, interviews with sources in Western Sahara, and publicly available research conducted in the territory by academics and NGOs, we’ve found several gaps in the Committee’s treatment of the rights of the Sahwari people by Morocco and provide an analysis of the legal and historical framework that should guide the Committee’s review moving forward.