The UN has over the past decades appeared to pursue a just solution to the crisis in Western Sahara, Africa’s last colony still illegally occupied by Morocco. But it now emerges that Moroccan diplomacy at the world body has employed corruption to push its agenda against Western Sahara.
The machinations undertaken by Moroccan diplomacy continue to be unveiled by the Moroccan hacker, who uses the pseudonym "Chris Coleman24" on his Twitter account. Through this account, details of the shameful strategies and conspiracies of Moroccan diplomats in New York and Geneva have been revealed. The information exposed by the mysterious hacker on the Moroccan actions within the office of Navi Pillay, the immediate former High Commissioner for Human Rights, disclose an unprecedented scandal. Navi served as head of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) between 2008 and 2014.
Documents recently uploaded on the hacker’s Twitter account show that the Moroccan Mission to Geneva, led by its Ambassador Mr. Omar Hilale, has for long employed dishonorable methods to influence some high officials of the UN Human Rights Council against the interests of Western Sahara, Africa’s last colony still occupied by Morocco.
We learn thus that the Moroccan ambassador had infiltrated the entourage of the former High Commissioner, Navi Pillay, and could manipulate all her actions and positions concerning the case of human rights violations in Western Sahara.
The Moroccan ambassador did not hesitate to financially support Pillay and the members of her office to dissuade her from adopting any action that may go against the wishes of Morocco. Therefore Ms. Pillay seemed to be “very sensitive” to the wishes or orders of her generous Moroccan friends.
"I would like to remind of the imperative need to transfer the amount of $250,000 under the title of Morocco's contribution to the budget of the OHCHR for 2011, which the High Commissioner had twice expressed the wish to receive (my faxes). This transfer will help make Pillay more attentive to our concerns about the content of the contribution of her office in the next report of the UN Secretary General on the Sahara," Omar Hilale wrote in one of the diplomatic cables sent to his minister in January 2012.
The Moroccan ambassador did not hesitate to use financial means as a way to stop Navi Pillay from paying much attention to the repeated requests by her representative in New York, Evan Simonovic, and even by Christopher Ross. The two diplomats had tried in vain to convince her to visit Western Sahara.
THE PAWNS: KOMPASS AND NDIAYE
The Moroccan mission did not only use money, paid in the form of donations to the Council. The Moroccan Ambassador reveals in his messages to his superiors that he had succeeded to recruit "very good friends" within the staff of Mrs Pillay. The two main “friends” of Morocco are the Swedish Anders Kompass, Director of Field Operations, and the Senegalese, Bacre Waly Ndiaye, Director of Special Procedures. According to Omar Hilale, the two men are more than just “friends”. They showed limitless zeal to serve the Moroccan plans and manipulations within the Human Rights Council against any attempt or opportunities to improve human rights in Western Sahara
“Thanks to the strategy followed by this Mission [Moroccan’s"> to lock the entourage of Pillay, all the high officials of the High Commissioner in Geneva abide by the Moroccan concerns. However, the weakness of Ms. Pillay in front of Simonovic is the Achilles heel of our strategy," Hilale reports.
Worse, in other cables from the Moroccan ambassador, we find out how he managed to obtain crucial information from his informants, Kompass and Ndiaye, two pawns who do not hesitate to bring their Moroccan friend secret information at his own embassy. For example, they provided him with crucial information about a meeting between Christopher Ross and Navanethem Pillay, the Secretary General's Personal Envoy to Western Sahara having apparently been trying to convince the High Commissioner to visit the occupied territory. Another example, revealed by the cables was about the conspirers’ meeting devoted to discuss the visit that the Saharawi President, Mohamed Abdelaziz, was about to undertake to the Human Rights Council in May 2013 to meet Navanethem Pillay. In both cases, the ambassador and his two friends maneuvered together to limit the impact of these two visits and influenced Pillay so as not to react positively to her two guests’ requests. The two pawns even suggested to their Moroccan friend ideas and arguments to use to convince Pillay.
NEUTRALIZING AND DISCREDITING
The documents also reveal how the “friends” of Morocco in the Human Rights Council managed to neutralize all honest officials, who tried to honorably do their duty, such as the Tunisian Frej Fennish, Head of the Middle East and North Africa Section in the OHCHR. The latter was considered by Omar Hilale as an enemy to the interests of Morocco. The Tunisian has apparently suffered from a secret campaign led by the Moroccan Embassy and its “friends” to discredit him before Pillay and therefore neutralize him.
Kompass and Ndiaye also used their authority to advise and act within the Council to discredit the Polisario and impede any possibility of support to the expansion of the mandate of MINURSO – the UN peacekeeping mission - to contain the protection of human rights.
Therefore, the two pawns - and other officials who were not cited by Hilale in his messages- influenced Navanethem Pillay in all her decisions following direct instructions from the Moroccan Embassy.
They acted, for example, to dissuade Pillay from undertaking a visit to Western Sahara in 2014. They ensured that the contribution of OHCHR to the report of the UN Secretary General on Western Sahara was fully in favour of Morocco. They lobbied to prevent Pilay from giving any "concessions" to the President of the Saharawi Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, during their meeting in Geneva on May 23, 2013. Kompass further insisted on Pillay to send a technical mission to Western Sahara in May 2014 under his lead so as not to allow the Representative of the Office in New York, Evan Simonovic, to lead this mission he had been calling for many times before, simply because Simonovic is considered by Morocco to be unfriendly.
These dangerous and compromising disclosures that undermine the reputation of the former High Commissioner and the two officials mentioned in this article corroborate, once again, the dishonorable and mafia-like methods used by the representatives of "his majesty" worldwide. Methods established on the corruption of some officials of the international bodies.
The case of the Senegalese, Bacre Waly Ndiaye, Director of the Special Procedures in the OHCHR, is revealing. He confessed to his friend Hilale his resolved allegiance to Morocco, considering himself a fervent "believer and follower of the Tijania Sufi brotherhood”. In fact, he admitted to Hilale his "dream" to go to Fez because: "he could not make the pilgrimage for 20 years." It was a mere formality for the Moroccan ambassador, who immediately requested his Department of Foreign Affairs to send a formal invitation to Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye to fulfill the fervent believer’s dream.
Despite of the financial scandals and corruption that have come to light thanks to these leaked documents (Morocco has not denied their authenticity), the Sahrawi people continue suffering systematic violations of their basic rights. How many Sahrawi victims will continue enduring the worst violations committed by Morocco because of the corruption and lack of integrity within the UN bodies, which are supposed to ensure the respect of human rights in the world? What is worse is that those responsible for these shameful plotting will go unpunished as usual.
* Malainin Mohamed Lakhal, a journalist and translator, is a member of the Saharawi Natural Resource Watch (SNRW).
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