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Detention and expulsion of MEPs from Western Sahara unacceptable

27/10/2017

The latest in a litany of disproportionate and arbitrary actions by Moroccan authorities.

Detention and expulsion of MEPs from Western Sahara unacceptable

Moroccan police have prevented three GUE/NGL MEPs from entering the occupied territories of Western Sahara, forcing them to travel back to the Canary Islands today.

MEPs Paloma López Bermejo, Lídia Senra and Josu Juaristi, along with other representatives, had scheduled a programme of meetings with civil society, victims of human rights violations, and activists in the city of El Aaiún / Laayoune. The objective was to witness first-hand the conditions in which the Saharawi people are forced to live under Moroccan occupation.

Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs Alfonso Dastis has been contacted and urged to remedy the situation and seek explanations from Rabat.

Paloma López Bermejo MEP:
“The Moroccan authorities have no right to forbid our entrance. As elected representatives of European citizens we want to visit the occupied territories to know more about the situation of the Saharawi people. The intention of this trip was to share visions and experiences with a population that peacefully remains on their land, waiting for a referendum that must urgently take place. In preventing our visit, Morocco is acting against the Saharawi people once again, attempting to silence their screams”.

Lídia Senra MEP:
“Morocco does not want any witnesses to its continuous violations of the human rights of the Saharawi people in the Occupied Territories. We denounce the silence of the international community regarding the crimes committed by the Government of Morocco”.

Josu Juaristi MEP:
“Rabat is always closing the door to anyone who tries to see what’s happening in the Occupied Territories: It doesn’t matter if they are parliamentarians, journalists or activists. Our visit wanted to break the blockade, because the world has to know what is really happening in Western Sahara. We will continue with our work and commitment in defence of the rights of the Saharawi people. As European citizens, we ask the EU to press the government of Morocco but also the Spanish government and the UN to solve the conflict, respecting the commitments made to the Saharawi people”.

The GUE/NGL group reiterates its unwavering support for the struggle of the Saharawi people for their freedom and will continue to demand the release of Saharawi political prisoners and denounce the repression, persecution and systematic violations of human rights by the Kingdom of Morocco.

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