Institute for International
Cooperation and Development Studies

Project Conflicts, peace and security

Research and development of capacity for advocacy regarding human rights violations in the Western Sahara (Phases III and IV)


Thanks to the ongoing support of Euskal Fondoa, Hegoa is driving and developing an advocacy strategy on human rights in the Western Sahara. That strategy, implemented along with the organisations of victims of human rights violations, and specifically along with women, was based on research, the dissemination of the findings of that research and strengthening the capacities of Sahrawi human rights organisations and their coordination.


During the third phase, which began in 2018, we worked with the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights (ASVDH), Association of the Families of Sahrawi Prisoners and Disappeared (AFAPREDESA) and the Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA) for the documentation, systematisation and denouncing of cases of human rights violations.

Consequently, CODESA prepared a Report on Arbitrary Detentions in the Western Sahara, presented at the 44th EUCOCO (Vitoria-Gasteiz) in November 2019 ("Détention Politiques au Sahara Occidental Depuis l’invasion: 1976 et jusqu’au: 2019"). AFAPREDESA, in turn, updated the register of Sahrawi victims of enforced disappearances and the sample bank in the safekeeping of the UPV/EHU genetic laboratory  was supplied with DNA of relatives of  Sahrawis who had disappeared. Finally, the ASVDH provided mentoring and legal advice to the Sahrawi victims of violation of their rights by Morocco in the occupied Western Sahara.

During a subsequent phase, conducted between November 2019 and January 2021, the capabilities were strengthened of the Sahrawi National Commission and Human Rights (CONASADH), AFAPREDESA and EMSTO for research and advocacy in human rights. Along with the women in the occupied territory of the Western Sahara, research is underway into the violations of their human rights; the organisations have prepared an alternative report to Morocco's Report on Compliance of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the 3rd was produced. Coordination, discussion and training meeting between human rights stakeholders of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (RASD); support was given to AFAPREDESA for the mentoring and psycho-social care for Sahrawi victims, particularly women.

The experts playing an advisory role and taking part included Carlos Martín Beristain, current commissioner of the Colombian Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition; Gabriella Citroni, Professor at the University of -Bicocca (Italy); Helena Rodríguez-Bronchú Carceller, currently UN Human Rights Officer – Women's Rights and Gender Section; Francisco Etxeberria, Professor at the UPV/EHU and member of the Aranzadi Science Society; Juan Soroeta, Professor at the UPV/EHU; Gianfranco Fattorini, permanent representative of the American Association of Jurists to the UN in Geneva; Edith Rodríguez Cachera, Deputy Vice-President of Reporters Without Borders Spain; and Luís Mangrané, from the Aragonese Observatory for the Western Sahara.

Publications resulting from the project

“Documentation, systematisation, advocacy and denouncing cases of enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention: Methodology Guide for Sahrawi Organisations".


Irantzu Mendia Azkue
Directora, Hegoa Institute
Gloria Guzmán
Project management and advisory services
Tatiana Montenegro
Project management and advisory services
Almudena Sainz
Administration and finance


Carlos Martín Beristain

Funding entity