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Western Sahara: Human Rights

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Moroccan counterpart on the human rights situation in Western Sahara. (190659)

The UK is concerned about the welfare of the people of Western Sahara. While my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not discussed human rights in Western Sahara with his Moroccan counterpart, I have discussed a range of issues regarding conditions on the ground in Western Sahara with the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Fassi Fihri, most recently in July 2007. Officials in Rabat, London and New York are in regular dialogue with the Moroccan authorities, civil society and other interested parties regarding Western Sahara, including on human rights.

The UK also remains concerned that the issue of the status of Western Sahara remains unresolved, with consequent problems for the people of the region. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1783 on 31 October 2007, which renewed the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara until 30 April 2008. The resolution also calls upon the parties to continue negotiations under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, without preconditions and in good faith. The UK fully supports these negotiations, with a view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.