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Pro-Polisario NGOs slammed by the Front’s «official» Bachir Mustapha Sayed

The Polisario leadership is not in good terms with Sahrawi NGOs operating in Morocco's southern provinces.

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Bachir Mustapha Sayed, the Polisario Front's «Minister of occupied territories»./Ph. DR

A few months ago, Yabiladi revealed the tense relationship between pro-Polisario associations, operationg in the Sahara, and Bachir Mustapha Sayed, the Front’s «Minister of occupied territories». The information was recently confirmed by pro-Polisario online newspaper Futuro Sahara.

The newspaper denounced denigration campaigns targeting members of Sahrawi NGOs such as the Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA) and the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights (ASVDH) and conducted by the Front’s «Minister of occupied territories».

The official, who operates through the Front’s office in Switzerland, has accused these NGOs operating in the Kingdom's southern provinces of «betraying» the separatist movement by holding Moroccan citizenships and working for the Moroccan administration, added the same source.   

Human Rights Watch’s visit

On August the 28th and 31st, international non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) visited the Sahara, which angered the two parties, Sahrawi NGOs and Bachir Mustapha Sayed. The latter did not appreciate the fact that the two Saharawi associations, CODESA and ASVDH (recognized since 2015 by the Moroccan State), agreed to meet with the two envoys sent by HRW knowing that he urged all pro-Polisario NGOs to boycott missions that did not ask for the authorization of the Front.

Mustapha Sayed said that this was an act of «disobedience», knowing that only two journalists from Equipe Média, a pro-Polisario online newspaper, have respected his orders.

The event was preceded, a few weeks earlier, by an official request urging the Polisario leadership and Sahrawi NGOs to meet in order to address the marginalization of activist Aminatou Haidar who heads CODESA.

For the record, Equipe Média issued a communiqué accusing the two HRW members, who visited the Sahara, of siding with Morocco. On August the 29th, they announced that they are boycotting a scheduled meeting with the two HRW representatives.

In a statement, the newspaper slammed the international organization for not consulting the Polisario before visiting the province as «it is the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people».

According to these journalists, the two HRW activists «asked for the permission of the Moroccan authorities», instead. The fact that the two representatives bear a Moroccan citizenship shows that they wouldn’t be neutral and that their mission wouldn't be accomplished in an objective way, says the same communiqué.

However, the situation did not prevent the Human Rights Watch delegation from meeting activists who defend the position of the Front, such as the «Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations». The latter is committed by the Moroccan state.

They have also met representatives from the Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA), which is chaired by Sahrawi activist Aminatou Haidar.

However, reportedly Haidar did not attend the meeting that took place on August 29th at the place of Ali Salem Tamek, vice president of CODESA.

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