Western Sahara comes to Melbourne – Journalism in a no-go area

Melbourne Filmoteca and Australia Western Sahara Association
Press Release 14 June 2019
Ms Nazha Al Khalidi, a Saharawi journalist, and her colleagues in Equipe Media can be seen at work in a documentary, Rifles or Graffiti, being screened on
Tuesday 18 June at 6.30pm at ACMI in the Treasury Theatre, Lower Plaza,  1 Macarthur Place.
Press Release-14june19 Rifles or Graffiti

Ms Nazha Al Khalidi, a Saharawi journalist faces trial on 24 June for her work to expose human rights abuses in Western Sahara when she live-streamed footage of police beating peaceful protesters. Her case is described in detail by a group of Canadian lawyers, in a letter dated 6 June sent to the Moroccan minister of Justice.

Exciting conference takes place in South Africa in solidarity with Saharawi people

Tshwane, South Africa, March 25 and 26, 2019

The conference has been organised by the South African Development Community (SADC) and hosted by South Africa. It has been attended by many heads of states and foreign ministers:
SADC ministers converged on the Department of International Relations in Pretoria on Monday for the first ever Solidarity Conference with the Saharawi people.
This is an unprecedented occasion in that we have no recollection of any intergovernmental body ever hosting a conference of this nature,” Minister Lindiwe Sisulu told a packed conference hall.

Watch the speech from the South Africa’s President Ramaphosa:

SADC throws weight behind Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic’s bid for Western Sahara

Daily Maverick, 25 March 2019
By Luwellyn Landers

On 25 and 26 March 2019, the Southern African Development Community will convene a Solidarity Conference in the City of Tshwane with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. The conference will confirm the region’s support for the decolonisation of the occupied territory and for the holding of a referendum on self-determination for the Saharawi people.

Read Daily Maverick report

In solidarity with Western Sahara – SADC

IOL – Pretoria News,  20 March 2019
By Shannon Ebrahim

South Africa is to host the Southern African Development Community (SADC) solidarity conference with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic in Pretoria on March25 and 26.

“South Africa is committed to working with the SADC for the freedom of the people of Western Sahara, and this must be done in our lifetime. South Africans will only be free when the people of Western Sahara and the people of Palestine are free,” Minister for International Relations and Co-operation Lindiwe Sisulu has said.

Read article >>

Western Sahawari protesters appeal to Ardern over phosphate

A Western Saharawi protester calls on PM Jacinda Ardern to intercede over phosphate exports

Stuff Business,
Gerard Hutching  Mar 11 2019

Western Saharawi freedom fighters have called on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to urge New Zealand fertiliser companies to stop importing phosphate from the Western Sahara.
The territory where the phosphate comes from is in dispute, with the Western Saharawis battling for an independent state.

Read Article

27 February 2019 – WS flag raised in solidarity with Sahrawis

Leichhardt Town Hall flag raising ceremony [Image: Kate Walsh, 2019]

Councils raise Western Sahara flag to support Sahrawi right to self-determination
27 Feb 2019

Wednesday 27 February marked the 43rd anniversary of the declaration of the Saharawi Republic. In recognition of this anniversary the flag of Western Sahara was raised in solidarity at Leichhardt Town Hall by the Mayor of the Inner West Council, Darcy Byrne. Also attending the flag-raising ceremony were Kamal Fadel (Polisario Representative Australia and New Zealand), Lesley Osborne (Secretary of the Australia Western Sahara Association, AWSA) and members of AWSA.
Other organisations flying the flag on 27 Feb included Victorian Trades Hall Council, Yarra City Council and the AWU – Australian Workers’ Union.

APHEDA Facebook post

Solidarity with Western Sahara – APHEDA article 27 Feb 2019

Mud brick house and tent in Dakhla, one of the Western Sahara refugee camps in the south-west. [IMAGE: L OSBORNE, 2016]

Solidarity with Western Sahara
Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, Feb 27, 2019

Background
Western Sahara is located in Northwest Africa. It is rich in mineral resources, renowned for its fishing grounds and has a great potential for oil and gas. In size, it is similar to the UK.

Western Sahara is a non-self-governing territory, whose people have waited many years for a United Nations-sanctioned referendum of self-determination. It remains on the UN agenda and is considered Africa’s last colony due to its occupation by Morocco, which invaded Western Sahara in 1975.

APHEDA article

Is One of Africa’s Oldest Conflicts Finally Nearing Its End? The New Yorker Dec 2018

Women at a traditional festival at the Boujdour camp near Tindouf, Algeria
Photograph by Nicolas Niarchos

The New Yorker, December 29, 2018
By Nicolas Niarchos
December 29, 2018

John Bolton and a former German President have helped spur the first negotiations over the Western Sahara in six years.
……”Since Bolton’s appointment, in March, there has been a flurry of activity regarding the Western Sahara conflict at the U.N. and in the State Department. “There are two Americans who really focus a lot on the Western Sahara: one’s Jim Baker, the other’s me,” Bolton told me. “I think there should be intense pressure on everybody involved to see if they can’t work it out.” This spring, at the insistence of the U.S. and to the chagrin of Moroccan and French diplomats, the U.N. peacekeeping mandate for the Western Sahara was extended by only six months rather than a year…”

Read complete article

Australian Labor Party Resolution on Western Sahara, 18 Dec 2018

Lesley Osborne, Professor Damien Kingsbury, Kamal Fadel, Polisario Representative, ALP Conference, Dec 2018

The Australian Labor Party National Conference held in Adelaide on 16-18 December 2018 adopted a positive resolution on the question of Western Sahara urging the UN to proceed without further delay with the organisation of the referendum of self-determination and to press Morocco to implement all UN resolutions pertaining to Western Sahara and calling on the Australian Government to ensure Australian companies have regard to international law regarding the importation of resources and products from the occupied areas of Western Sahara until the legal status of the Territory is determined and the Saharawi people are allowed to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination in accordance with relevant UN resolutions and Peace Plan of 1991.

Text of the Resolution:
Australian Labor Party Resolution on Western Sahara
Adopted by the National Conference on 18 December 2018 in Adelaide
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AWSA Press Release, 14 December 2018 – AWSA welcomes progress in Geneva negotiations

Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA) PRESS RELEASE, 14 December 2018

The Australia Western Sahara Association welcomes the recently concluded first round of negotiations held on 5-6 December 2018 in Geneva on the UN mandate to conduct a referendum on the sovereignty of Western Sahara.

“We are very pleased that the two parties – the Government of Morocco and Polisario – have met after six years of suspended negotiations” said AWSA President, Lyn Allison.

“We thank the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, Horst Köhler, former President of Germany, and all those who contributed to the resumption of the negotiations process.” (continued…)

AWSA press release 14 Dec 2018