UN Monitoring Mechanism Urging as Morocco ramps up Crackdown on Saharawi Activists

Morocco silence and punish Saharawi activists as an attempt to consolidate its occupation of Western Sahara.

Morocco special security forces carried out, Thursday, raids across houses of Saharawi human rights activists and human right defenders as part of a broadning crackdown to instill fear among Saharawis living under occupation.

Lehbib Boutengiza and Mahfuda Bamba Lefghir, Saharawi Human right Activists, were attacked, in occupied El-Aaiun of Western Sahara, According to the Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA).

“I was surprised when my house was surrounded by a bunch of Morocco occupation officers who kept close surveiling on the house untill early in the morning,” said Sahrawi ex-political prisoner Mahfoud Lafkhir.

The next day they started to throw stones and glass bottles, and removed surveillance cameras the family used to monitor and report on the ongoing siege they are going through.

On late May 2023, Morocco occupation security apparatus targeted the same home and confiscated surveillance cameras, said CODESA. Bemba Lafkhir and a group of Sahrawi female activists were physically and verbally attacked.

The reasons haven’t been officially explained but activists see it as a bid to silence and punish them for their activism against Morocco’s attempt to consolidate its occupation of Western Sahara.

Morocco bans international observers and independent journalist from accessing the territory to see from first hand the situation on the ground.

Saharawi human rights activists have been targeted and their phones infected with Pegasus spyware used by Morocco, according to Amnesty International.

Western Sahara is registered at the UN as a non-self governing territory pending decolonization. In 1975, Morocco occupied forcibly vast swath of Western Sahara and drove theousand of Saharawi out of their homes, settling as refugees in Algeria.

Saharawis who remain under Morocco occupation live under an iron grip and constant repression and abuse.

Myriad international organizations, including Amnesty International, calls for adding a human right component to the UN mission to report and monitor abuses in the territory.

UN missions across the globe has this component, raising the skepticism as why Western Sahara remains an exception.