On May 11, the Global Liberty Alliance, part of a coalition of NGOs that support a free and independent Western Sahara, urged the U.S. to take a closer look at an incident that resulted in the unlawful detention of several Saharawi human rights defenders and civil society leaders.
According to CODESA Western Sahara (Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders) staff, on the morning of May 10, a special unit of Moroccan forces broke into the home of a Saharawi family and unlawfully detained three human rights activists. Based on preliminary information, the men were beaten and suffered serious physical injuries and trauma.
In a letter to the Department of State, circulated to several Congressional leaders and embedded at the end of this post, GLA President Jason Poblete said:
There has been a noted spike in human rights abuses against the people of Western Sahara since the agreement between the United States and Morocco was signed in late 2020 that included a section dealing with the Western Sahara question. As the Administration reviews the legality and policy consequences of this agreement, including its 10-year arms export provision, the U.S. must underscore that the December 2020 agreement does not afford the Kingdom of Morocco a license to violate the fundamental rights of the people of Western Sahara with impunity.
GLA and other human rights defenders will assist CODESA Western Sahara in documenting human rights abuses, and hold those involved in these and other attacks accountable.
For more background on the situation in Western Sahara, see "The Abraham Accords and Western Sahara: The Legal Status of the Deal," prepared by GLA legal intern Dara Finley.