WSAF is very concerned about the health of 17 Sahrawi university students currently on hunger strike in the Moroccan prison of Oudaya.
The 17 are amongst a group of Saharawi students arrested on 29 January after participating in education protests in Agadir and Marrakech. The Moroccan authorities have accused the students of the murder of a Moroccan citizen, a claim they deny.
Since they started their hunger strike on 23 March, the student’s health has deteriorated to the extent that they require hospital treatment. Some of the health problems they are reported to be experiencing include vomiting of blood, kidney failure, loss of consciousness, hyper and hypotension, and hyper and hypoglycaemia.
We are also concerned about the status of another Saharawi hunger striker, Abdul Khaliq al-Markhi, a human rights defender. He is currently serving a four year sentence in the Moroccan prison of Tiznit. Since Abdul Khaliq al-Markhi began his hunger strike on 1 April, he has reported suffering irritation in his eyes and chest, pain in his head and stomach, nausea, and restricted movement, to the extent that he now requires a wheelchair. Despite these serious health problems, it is reported that he is not receiving adequate medical attention.
Arbitrary arrest, torture in detention, denial of adequate medical care and unfair trials are all common violations by the Moroccan state against Saharawi citizens. As with all such violations, these are a direct result of the UN Security Council’s failure to implement a referendum on the right to self determination. WSAF stands in solidarity with the hunger strikers, and calls on the UN Security Council to implement human rights monitoring, and set a date for the referendum on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.