After Moroccan settlers in the fisheries industry returned from Morocco to occupied Western Sahara, the number of positive corona patients in the territory has increased with 8250 percent in less than a week.
Update: on 3 July, the number of cases has continued to increase, now at 528 cases. The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara reports continuously on the corona development in Western Sahara. See here.
There have been so far very few cases of corona in occupied part of Western Sahara. On 19 June the UN operation MINURSO reported two confirmed cases. Yesterday, 25 June the number of confirmed cases had increased to 167, according to the UN body.
Still no cases have been reported from the part of Western Sahara that is not under occupation, nor from the refugee camps in Algeria.
Morocco is treating the territory as an integral part of its own country, in violation of international law. The people of Western Sahara has been unable to close the international borders to Mauritania and Morocco.
The above picture, taken 21 March, shows Moroccan settlers gathering at the bus stop in Dakhla to return to their home places in Morocco, as the Moroccan government imposed lockdown in Morocco/Western Sahara. Most of the settlers work in Western Sahara's fisheries sector.
As the lockdown ended, they returned. A video from 1 June shows a convoy of reportedly 22 buses, containing some 1000 settlers, returning to the territory. This migration from Morocco to Western Sahara could be a main reason for the explosive growth in new positive cases.
Saharawi groups have also expressed concern over Moroccan and foreign citizens entering the territory through maritime traffic to Dakhla and El Aaiún. The fresh data from the UN body only illustrates nw cases in El Aaiún and Boujdour, and does not state anything about a possible increase in Dakhla.
We have talked to human rights activist Mahfouda, who recently was sentenced to six months in a Moroccan prison for reprimanding a judge.
Morocco must stop targeting human rights defenders and journalists standing up for human rights in Western Sahara, and allow them to work without reprisals, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, said today.
In an early morning raid today, masked agents terrorized and assaulted the home of the Saharawi human rights defender Sultana Khaya, stole belongings and took three activists to an undisclosed location.
On 7 June 2019, videos began to circulate showing Moroccan police brutally beating up a Saharawi journalist in occupied Western Sahara. Today, a UN opinion calling for his release from prison was made public.