Occupied El Aaiún
June 3, 2023
Two Spanish lawyers, Inés Miranda and Lola Travieso, were detained and expelled from occupied Western Sahara on June 2, 2023. The lawyers were members of the International Association of Jurists for Western Sahara (IAJWS) and were on a technical-legal mission to the territory, endorsed by the General Council of Spanish Lawyers.
The lawyers’ visit was aimed at investigating human rights violations affecting the Sahrawi people. However, their work was interrupted and hindered by the Moroccan occupying authorities, who detained them for several hours and then expelled them from the territory.
The IAJWS has expressed deep concern over the detention and expulsion of the lawyers. The association has denounced the obstacles imposed by Morocco in investigating the human rights situation in Western Sahara and documenting the violations committed by the occupying forces.
In addition to these troubling detentions, it is important to highlight that this incident adds to a series of expulsions that are silenced by reports on human rights violations in the region. Recently, researcher Roberto Cantoni from the Autonomous University of Barcelona was forced to leave Western Sahara by the Moroccan occupying authorities. Similarly, the Sahrawi family composed of Sid Ahmed, a former prisoner of war, and Salka, both of Spanish nationality, were expelled from El Aaiún after being subjected to 15 hours of detention without access to food and under police interrogation.
It is noted that the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General and other bodies of the United Nations Human Rights Council have experienced similar difficulties in their investigative and monitoring work in Western Sahara. This suggests that the Moroccan authorities are systematically obstructing efforts to document human rights violations in the territory.