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Western Sahara

In mid-May, the government of Morocco said that it had ‘decided to withdraw its confidence’ from UN envoy Christopher Ross, who it accused of giving ‘biased and unbalanced guidance’ on the issue of Western Sahara. Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975 and has illegally occupied the territory since then.
Morocco also criticised a UN report, published in April (see PN 2545), which suggested Morocco had been spying on MINURSO, the UN monitoring body for Western Sahara.
In response, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon expressed complete confidence in Ross.
Meanwhile, also in mid-May, Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the failure of the Moroccan authorities to investigate the beating of a HRW research assistant. Since Brahim Elansari was beaten by police in November 2010, in front of a US journalist, the authorities have not provided any information about the progress of any investigation.
‘If there is impunity for police who beat up a citizen who works for an international organization in broad daylight, in front of witnesses and despite formal complaints, it’s clear how vulnerable ordinary citizens are,’ said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch