Secretary General of the United Nations
I have been a member of the European Parliament since 2004, so twice elected, where i work as a full member of the Committe on Legal Affairs (JURI) and substiute member of the Civil Liberties Committe (LIBE).
I have attended, at the invitation of the families of the accused and the Observatory of Human Rights for the Western Sahara, the military trial taking place in Rabat against 24 Sahrawi activists of the peaceful Egdeim Izik camp, built on the outskirts of Laayoune in October 2010.
The trial, which has not been completed as I write this letter, is riddled with irregularities affecting the defense of these citizens of a territory pending decolonization. As a lawyer and MEP, i have seen througout my professional and political life other military trials, also plagued with defencelessness. What is happening in Rabat must not be ingnored by the international community. During the hearing, i have constantly experienced the colonial component, unfortunately so common to this and other processes, but there is one particular aspect that encourages me to write this personal letter. It is the fact that on entering the hall one of the defendants shouted in perfect Spanish claiming that MINURSO should control the exercise of human rights in the territory.
Those words, among other cries in favor of the independence, self-determination, and against the suffered torture, impressed me very deeply. Perhaps the expression may correspond to a strategy concocted with the rest of the accused but i belive my duty to convey it, Your Excellency, to you, according to my interpretation. I am convinced that the Saharawi citizen was claiming a legitimate and balanced demand, which I share.
I cannot understand a UN mission on the field as the MINURSO which lacks any powers of observation of the human rights situation with is subsequent military trials, as unfair and arbitrary as the one I have witnessed. The exercise of self-determination of the Saharawi people, which is responsability of the UN and certainly Spain, my country, has taken so many years that makes it even more urgent to demand powers from the MINURSO to report on flagrant violations of human rights before his eyes.
It seems too much to the inhibition of European troops in the Srebrenica genocide. We can not as citizens, let alone as political figures, shy away from what is happening in the Western Sahara with Morocco´s illegal occupation. The just request that i witnessed can not be a mere cry of a victim of a colonial military trial but it deserves to be adressed. So i ask, Excellencty, from the European Parliament.