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Western Sahara: Human Rights

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 23 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will meet representatives of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to discuss the formal publication of the OHCHR Report on Western Sahara; and if he will make a statement. (198353)

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) visited the region in 2006 to gather information on the human rights situation. The OHCHR shared its report privately with Morocco, Algeria and the Polisario on 8 September 2006, but did not publish it, and I understand the OHCHR maintains its decision not to make the report public. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no plans to meet with the OHCHR and respects its decision to not publish the report.

We are keen to see a resolution to the question of Western Sahara. To this end, the UK fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy to the Western Sahara, Peter Van Walsum, to assist the parties to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. We support the process of UN-chaired negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario currently under way.