Extension of the MINURSO’s mandate

Human rights at the heart of the extension of the MINURSO’s mandate:

Letter to the Member States of the United Nations Security Council


Dear Heads of State and Government,

On 28 April, the Member States of the United Nations Security Council will vote on the extension of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara’s (MINURSO) mandate. On this occasion, EuroMed Rights, a network of over 80 human rights defence organisations located on both sides of the Mediterranean, urges you to ensure that human rights are at the heart of these discussions.

In the space of 25 years, the mandate given to the MINURSO has not provided any overall solution. This anniversary year is symbolic: the international community must provide new answers to a situation that has lasted too long.

We welcome some of the measures taken by the Moroccan authorities on strengthening and monitoring respect for human rights in Morocco and in the territory, in particular. The adoption of a law prohibiting civilians from being tried before military courts, the invitations sent to Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council and the work carried out by the regional delegations of the National Human Rights Council of Morocco (CNDH), including in the territory concerned are some examples. EuroMed Rights on the other hand notes that the prevailing context in the Western Sahara remains an exceptional situation: many demonstrations have led to incidents and arrests, or were simply prohibited; the demonstrators were repressed; freedom of association and assembly are impeded, and foreign delegations were denied entry by the Moroccan authorities.

In light of this situation in the Western Sahara, EuroMed Rights urges you to instruct your Ambassadors to the United Nations to:

  • Renew the MINURSO’s mandate;
  • Extend the MINURSO’s mission to include a review of the human rights situation, or establish permanent international surveillance and monitoring mechanisms relating to respect for human rights. This mandate should also cover the refugees camps hosted in Algeria and under the control of the Polisario Front;
  • Ensure that the MINURSO is able to carry out its mission unhindered.

We remain at your disposal for any further information you may need.

Yours faithfully,

Michel Tubiana,

President of EuroMed Rights