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MINURSO’s mission and human rights, challenging points for Morocco in resolution 2468

In resolution 2468, the UN Security Council urged parties involved in the Western Sahara conflict to cooperate with MINURSO and facilitate its mission in the region. In addition to human rights monitoring, the UN resolution contains challenging points for Morocco.

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Once it was adopted, Morocco rushed into welcoming resolution 2468, which extended the mandate of MINURSO by six months. In this formal text approved by the UN, members of the Security Council urged the parties involved in the territorial dispute to engage in negotiations to reach a «realistic and pragmatic solution to the Western Sahara issue, based on compromise».

The word «compromise» was mentioned five times in the text, adopted on April the 30th. Making mention of «compromise» has been seen as a positive aspect by Moroccan officials in charge of this question. However, the UN resolution includes a series of recommendations that might be challenging for Moroccan diplomacy.

MINURSO’s political role

The first challenging aspect for Morocco is linked to the United States’ stubborn desire to add a new mission to the MINURSO’s to-do list. Washington wants the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara to accompany the UN Secretary-General’s personal envoy Horst Köhler on his political missions.

Members of the Security Council believe that MINURSO plays a «crucial stabilizing role in the region (…) assisting the personal envoy in moving towards a mutually acceptable negotiated settlement».

Sources told Yabiladi that this part from the resolution was at the heart of an intense debate between France and the United States. On April 30, the US Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the UN Roney Hunter told members of the UN Security Council that «MINURSO should also support such a solution and must continue to be evaluated in light of that objective».  

Morocco, which has always wanted the peacekeeping mission to monitor the cease-fire, must now deal with this plan which was first submitted by former MINURSO head Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber in 2014.

Human rights in Western Sahara

The UN Security Council have also invited Morocco and the Polisario Front to «fully cooperate with MINURSO, respecting its freedom to interact with all interlocutors». In his report submitted earlier in April, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted that «constraints» prevented MINURSO from reaching «interlocutors to support the Personal Envoy, to better advise the Council, and to inform the mission’s own security awareness».

Moreover, the same report stressed that an «independent impartial, comprehensive and sustained monitoring of the human rights situation is necessary to ensure the protection of all people in Western Sahara». This mechanism was supported by the United States but was neglected by resolution 2468.

Nevertheless, the Security Council called both parties «to strengthen cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and facilitate visits to the region».

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