A HUMAN rights delegation led by Robert F Kennedy’s daughter said it witnessed acts of intimidation and violence in the Western Sahara against critics of the Moroccan government’s control of the disputed region.
Report by News24
The Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights said in a statement earlier in the week that the delegation also witnessed “the overwhelming presence of security forces and violations of the rights to life, liberty, personal integrity, freedom of expression, assembly and association”.
The delegation was led by Kerry Kennedy, the centre’s president and a daughter of the late US senator and attorney-general in the administration of his brother, President John F Kennedy. It included representatives from six other countries including Margarette May Macaulay of Jamaica, a judge on the Inter American Court of Human Rights, and Eric Sottas of Switzerland, a former secretary-general of the World Organisation Against Torture.
Morocco took over the mineral-rich former Spanish colony in 1976 and annexed it, fighting Polisario Front rebels until a truce in 1991. It has offered Western Sahara wide-ranging autonomy, but the Polisario wants a referendum with independence as an option.
The Kennedy centre said its delegation was followed by secret police, physically prevented from observing an attack on peaceful protesters, verbally abused, and subjected to a widely disseminated disinformation campaign aimed at undermining its credibility.
A call to Morocco’s United Nations Mission seeking comment on the delegation’s statement was not immediately returned.