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EU concern for health of hunger striking Saharawi activist

14 décembre 2009


The Presidency of the European Union has expressed concern for the health of human rights activist Aminatou Haidar, on hunger strike in the Canary Islands following her expulsion from Morocco.   A statement said the Presidency, “expresses its concern for her health and calls upon the Moroccan authorities to fulfil their international human rights obligations and to cooperate with the Spanish authorities so that a positive solution may be reached regarding her situation.”

Members of the European Parliament have also expressed their concern, with the Group of Socialists and Democrats urging the EU’s new high representative for foreign policy, Catherine Ashton, to intervene in the case. A press release said group leader Martin Schulz had written both to Catherine Ashton and to Moroccan foreign minister Taib Fassi-Fihri in an attempt to resolve the situation.    In his letter to  Ashton, Martin  Schulz asked her to “look into the matter and perhaps help find a solution which is satisfactory to both sides in this tragic case.”

MEPs from the GUE/NGL Group were due to visit Ms Haidar in Lanzarote on 10 December “in order to lend their support and to put pressure on the Spanish and Moroccan governments to find a solution so that this activist can have the right to return to her homeland”, a press release said.   The GUE/NGL press release said “Ms Aminatou Haidar, a Saharawi activist, was arrested [on 14 November] at the d’El Aaiun airport by the Moroccan authorities and expelled to Lanzarote, Spain. Since then she has been on hunger strike to defend her rights to liberty and dignity, especially her right to be immediately repatriated to her country.”

In its recent Declaration after the eighth session of the EU-Morocco Association Council, the European Union called on Morocco “to safeguard the freedom of association and gathering and the protection of human rights activists, especially in the territory of Western Sahara.” The Declaration said the EU “remains concerned by the conflict in Western Sahara and its regional consequences and implications. It supports fully the efforts of the Secretary-general of the United Nations and his personal envoy in view of finding a fair, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that will allow the self-determination of the people of the Western Sahara, as provided in United Nations resolutions.” (ENPI Info Centre)

EU Presidency statement

EP Group of Socialists and Democrats – press release

EP GUE/NGL Group – press release

EU Declaration after EU Morocco Association Council

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