The CODESA Secretariat

El Ayun, Western Sahara.

June 26th, 2007

Press Release

«No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture».  
Article 2 of CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE  and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
«(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;» Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The United Nations and the human rights organizations are celebrating The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26th every year, the day that the General Assembly has agreed upon to speak out against torture worldwide.
The torture practiced against the indigenous citizens by the Moroccan authorities is still continuing because of the increase in the  peaceful demonstrations calling for the Sahrawi people's right to self-determination, which has left its profound effect on individuals, families and the people of the Western Sahara as a whole.
The Moroccan state has committed flagrant violations of human rights in the Western Sahara, south of Morocco and in the Moroccan universities against the Sahrawi students since May 21st, 2005. It is still  depriving the Sahrawi people of their right to life, physical security, the right of expression especially after the open declarations of their opinions publicly  upon the Western Sahara issue and calling for the organization of a self-determination referendum.
These demonstrations have led the Moroccan police to torture some Saharawis to death. Such is the case of Hamdi Lembarki or the deliberate murder of others. The case of Abbachaikh Lakhlifi, is an obvious example.
The Moroccan authorities were behind the torture, the inhuman treatment of the Sahrawi citizens such as abduction, arrest, rape, fake trials as well as the savage violence used against the political prisoners, women and children at schools, universities, public streets, in the police centers and vans. Some of them were thrown in remote areas outside their cities, others were either fireburnt (Salek Essaidi, for example) or become handicapped (Sultana Khaya, Hammadi Ezzaibour, the child Lmaissi Abdennasser,…)

For all these reasons, the CODESA seizes this opportunity of the International Day Against Torture, to express its:

1.    support to all the victims of the torture and the ill-treatment all over the world.
2.    condemnation to the torture committed by the Moroccan state against the Sahrawi citizens because of their opinions concerning the Western Sahara issue.
3.    call to the Moroccan  authorities to cease tormenting children and their custody in the police jails for long periods.
4.    call to the Moroccan state to respect human rights in the Western Sahara and to sign all the international human rights charters.
5.    stop the torture and repetitive violations of the Sahrawi citizen's rights as well as punish the Moroccan officials responsible for these violations.
6.    unveil the disappeared Sahrawis'  destiny and release all the Sahrawi political prisoners in the Moroccan jails without any condition.