Norway: Support for Western Sahara

May 25, 2007

OSLO — On May 23, 43 organisations signed a letter to the Moroccan government demanding an immediate end to its attacks on Sahrawi students. Since early May, Moroccan police have been on an offensive against Sahrawi students at colleges and universities throughout Morocco and Western Sahara. Dozens of students have been beaten, arrested and detained and there have been reports of sexual abuse and harassment of victims in hospital. On May 9, Sultana Khaya, while peacefully calling for the release of fellow students, was brutally attacked by police, leaving her blind in one eye. The violence is also disrupting students' final preparation for June exams. The letter called on the Moroccan government to release the arrested students, guarantee the Sahrawi students' physical safety and freedom of expression, prosecute those responsible for the violence, and "address the underlying legitimate grievances of the Sahrawi students by respecting human rights in occupied Western Sahara and allowing for a free, fair and transparent referendum on independence in the occupied territory".

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