Reporting on Housing and Land Rights in Western Sahara
On the occasion of an upcoming review of the Kingdom Morocco’s human rights record before the UN Human Rights Council, HIC-HLRN has partnered with the Sahrawi Association in the United States of America (SAUSA) to submit a specialized report on housing and land rights conditions in Western Sahara, under Moroccan occupation since 1945.
The organizations jointly submitted this new ‘stakeholder submission’ to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Morocco by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), scheduled for its 41st UPR session in October–November 2022. This unique report chronicles the systemic denial of the human rights to adequate housing and land Sahrawi population, invaded in 1975 and occupied ever since. The violations involve forced eviction, dispossession and demolition, as well as patterns of displacement. The report catalogues how occupation forces, settlers and extractive industries have appropriated Sahrawi private and collective lands. These patterns also demonstrate the practice of population transfer codified as a serious crime in international law. Large-scale forced evictions include the exile of Sahrawi refugees for 47 years, most of whom remain in camps across the Algerian desert.
Although this report contains a level of detail previously undocumented in human rights forums, it represents only a sample of the wider story yet to be told. The quantification of the resulting losses, costs and losses incurred by the Sahrawi victims also forms only a mere fraction of the 21,280,000 hectares of Sahrawi lands illegally acquired by the Kingdom of Morocco against the demonstrated will of the Sahrawi people, subject to full reparations.
The report also submits corresponding recommendations to the state delegations in the HRC to bring an end to the illegal situation, including by their violations acts if commission and omission, as well as yjose committed by their domiciled businesses and transnational corporations.
Download the joint HIC-HLRN/SAUSA report: “Human Rights Related to Habitat (Land, Housing, Population Transfer, Natural Resources) in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.”
Photo: Moroccan forces burning of the Gdeim Izik camp near al-`Ayun, Western Sahara, 2010. Source: HLRN file photo.
See also: Decontaminating the Land of Western Sahara