Western Sahara: Amnesty International urges Morocco to stop attacking Sultana Khaya

APS - 01 December 2021

LONDON-Amnesty International (AI) has urged Morocco to stop the brutal attacks on Sultana Khaya, denouncing the silence of the United Nations (UN) in the face of its appeals to extend the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to human rights monitoring in the occupied territories.

"I urge you to put an immediate end to the brutal attacks against Sultana Khaya and her family and to carry out a prompt, thorough, independent, impartial, transparent and effective investigation into the security forces' abusive force and attacks against her and her family, including the report of rape and sexual assault, and ensure that those suspected to be responsible are brought to justice in fair trials," said AI on its website.

"I urge you to ensure that Sultana Khaya and her family are provided with access to justice and effective remedies, including adequate compensation, and guarantee of non-repetition for the violations of human rights to which they have been subjected. I further urge you to immediately end the arbitrary house arrest against Sultana Khaya and her family and respect their rights to freedom of movement, expression and association," said AI in its letter.

On 15 November, Moroccan security forces broke into the house of Sultana Khaya, Sahrawi woman activist and defender of Sahrawis' right to self-determination. They raped her and sexually abused her sisters and 80-year-old mother.

"They also arrested and tortured three activists who were there to support her and her family. Two days later, on 12 May 2021, dozens of masked members of the security forces raided Sultana Khaya's house, assaulted and attempted to rape her, and raped her sister. Security forces have previously removed the electricity meter to leave Sultana Khaya and her family with no electricity," recalled AI.

"Sultana Khaya told Amnesty International that she was left with wounds from the rape. She did not go to a doctor because she is prevented from leaving the house and from receiving visitors, due to their house arrest. Security forces have repeatedly assaulted Sultana Khaya, members of her family and their visitors since the start of the house arrest in November 2020," said the NGO.