Aminatou Haidar, delivering her statement at the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council.

HRC43: Right Livelihood Award Laureate Aminatou Haidar calls for an end to human rights violations in Western Sahara

On February 27th, during the 43rd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, 2019 Right Livelihood Award Laureate Aminatou Haidar delivered a statement calling on the Council to draw its attention on the systematic human rights violations in Western Sahara and the suffering of the Sahrawi people at the hands of Morrocan authorities. Read the Oral Statement below:


Thank you, Mr Vice-President,

My name is Aminatou Haidar, human rights defender from Western Sahara, victim of torture, enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention. I am a Laureate of the 2019 Right Livelihood Award.

I wish to express my deep concern at the suffering of my people, the Sahrawi people, who have been militarily occupied by Morocco since 1975. Since then, Morocco has continued to systematically violate all our legitimate rights, recognised under the fourth Geneva Convention.

Mr Vice-President,

We, in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, are daily affected by the Moroccan repression. We are subjected to torture, cruel and degrading treatment, arbitrary detention, false accusations, expulsion from work, forced deportations to Moroccan cities, and defamation by the Moroccan press. International observers are prevented to access the occupied territory. Without even mentioning the confiscation of our economic, social and cultural rights. All this is happening under the eyes of a United Nations mission (MINURSO).

Madam High Commissioner,

My people are peacefully fighting to claim their legitimate rights, but in order to maintain this peaceful resistance, your office must adopt concrete measures to guarantee the respect of our fundamental rights and thus facilitate the free exercise of my people’s inalienable right to self-determination.

I call on you to act in favour of expanding the mandate of MINURSO to include human rights monitoring, and to expedite the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to Western Sahara to investigate all human rights violations.