HRW highlights Morocco's abuse of power in Western Sahara

In its latest annual report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) draws particular attention to the human rights situation in Morocco regarding the Sahrawis and their territory.

HRW indicates that control is “particularly tight” in the Western Sahara region, a territory that Morocco administers “as if it were part of its national territory”. In the field of justice, HRW highlights the ten-year sentence given to two policemen who beat a Sahrawi demonstrator to death during a protest in al-Ayoun in October 2005. The organization also stresses that the repression of freedom of expression and public protests has been “fiercer in the Western Sahara than elsewhere”.


Regarding freedom of association, although Morocco has become increasingly tolerant with the emergence of human rights NGOs, freedom of association is often refused in Western Sahara under the pretext that it could “disturb public order.”


The report also criticizes the lack of press freedom in a country in which critics of Islam, the monarchy or Morocco's territorial integrity face prison sentences. HRW concludes by saying progress on human rights in Morocco has been mixed. While there have been major steps forward, repressive legislation is used against Western Sahara as well as against critics of the monarchy and Islam.



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