My name is Isabel Maria Gonçalves da Silva Tavares Lourenço, I have Portuguese nationality, and am a member of Fundación Sahara Occidental and Adala UK.
I visited Western Sahara and Morocco with an accreditation of Fundación Sahara Occidental as international observer and with a mandate from Adala UK.
The goal of the visit was to attend as an international observer the judicial appeals of the Saharawi political prisoners Mr. Abdelmotalib Sarir, Mr. Mohamed Barber and Mr.
Alyien Moussaoui on the 28th of October 2014 in Laayoune’s court of appeal, and that of Mr. Abdallahi Boukioud on 3rd of November 2014 in Agadir. A second goal was to observe the situation in Laayoune as well as talking to several Saharawi NGOs and families of political prisoners.
During the week of 28th October to 2nd November 2014 I stayed in Laayoune city and interviewed and contacted several Saharawi human rights associations, committees and activists as well associations for the defence of natural resources, the well-being of women and children and Saharawi media groups. I also visited the families of former and current political prisoners and interviewed several children that had been subjected to ill-treatment and torture by the Moroccan occupying forces.
During my whole visit I was continually followed by police and other representative of the Moroccan authorities, in uniform as well as in plain clothes. I was filmed and photographed and even detained for over one hour without any explanation, and my passport was repeatedly taken for long periods of time by the police officers.
On November 3rd I attended the trial of Mr. Abdallahi Boukioud in Agadir and met with Saharawi University Students.
City of Laayoune
Report of the visit to Occupied Western Sahara, city of Laayoune, Agadir and Rabat, from 27th of October to 7th of November 2014
From 4th to 7th November, I was in Rabat and tried to obtain visitation authorization to the 23 political prisoners detained in Sale and stayed at the house of the families of the prisoners.
The whole visit gave me an insight I did not have, and a very clear perspective of the current situation in Western Sahara and the general feeling of the population.
It is obvious that the occupation is only possible due to the huge presence of military, police and auxiliary forces and their brutal tactics, and also due to the fact that the international community is complicit with the silence about the occupation and the stalemate in the United Nations Security Council.
23 years after the ceasefire that was never broken by the Saharawi, who resist peacefully, the patience of the population is coming to an end and a peaceful and just solution must be implemented in the last African colony.
1.1 Legal Status of Western Sahara
In 1963 Western Sahara was listed as a non-self-governing territory by the United Nations. In 1966 the United Nations General Assembly adopted its first resolution1 on the territory, urging Spain to organize, as soon as possible, a referendum under UN supervision on the territory’s right to exercise its right to self-determination. In 1975, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rendered an advisory opinion on the Western Sahara question, concluding by 14 votes to 2, that while there had been pre-colonial ties between the territory of Western Sahara and Morocco, these ties did not imply sovereignty.
Thus the Court has not found legal ties of such a nature as might affect the application of resolution 1514 (XV) in the decolonization of Western Sahara and, in particular, of the principle of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory.2