#WesternSahara: On why it is time for MINURSO to add human rights to its mandate


After years of occupation and a decades-long wait for a self-determination referendum, it is time for the UN peacekeeping force in the Western Sahara, whose mandate is up for renewal this April, to add human rights monitoring to its remit.

The UN peacekeeping force has monitored a ceasefire in the Western Sahara since 1991 between Morocco and the Polisario Front, the liberation movement seeking independence for the indigenous Saharawis. But unlike similar missions elsewhere, it is not charged with monitoring human rights, something the Saharawis and international human rights organisations and activists have advocated for years.

And yet, the human rights component in UN peace missions has played a significant role in maintaining and building peace in the regions they supervised. This component has prevented and redressed human rights violations by monitoring the human rights situation, issuing public reports, and assisting in building national capacities to address human rights…

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