Rights group urges UN to extend peacekeeping mandate for Western Sahara

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urged [press release] the UN Security Council [official website] on Friday to extend the MINURSO mandate [UN backgrounder] to include human rights monitoring for its peacekeeping force in Western Sahara . AI sent a report to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official website] illustrating the immediate need for human rights monitoring in Western Sahara and within Sahrawi refugee camps in southern Algeria. AI's Secretary General Salil Shetty has stated in regards to these efforts that "[e]xtending the peacekeeping force's mandate to include human rights would shed much-needed light on violations and abuses that would otherwise go unreported and provide an independent and impartial account on disputed allegations of human rights violations." The human rights violations in Western Sahara have allegedly been a result of Moroccan authorities placing restrictions on freedom of speech, allowing harassment in the workplace, and invading people's privacy by use of surveillance systems. The UN Security Council is due to renew MINURSO at the end of April.

Human rights violations continue to be a contentious global issue. Earlier this month UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged global leaders [JURIST report] to commit to ensuring [press release] the protection of human rights and an end to mass atrocities. In March Human Rights Watch urged EU leaders [JURIST report] to publicly raise concerns about the diminishing support for human rights issues in China under President Xi Jinping [BBC profile]. Earlier in March during her first visit to Nigeria, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay praised [JURIST report] the country for the significant development in protecting human rights, while urging further protection against conflict, poverty and corruption. In February Pillay condemned[JURIST report] the recent political violence in Venezuela, and urged all parties involved to move towards meaningful dialogue in hopes of resolving the situation. Also in February Pillay prompted [JURIST report] Central African Republic (CAR) leaders to remember their legal obligations and stressed that they are personally accountable for human rights violations or crimes against humanity resulting from their actions or omissions.

 

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