Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA) is an incorporated non-profit Association which was set up to raise awareness and promote the Saharawi cause in Australia, and to campaign for a free and fair referendum on self-determination for the Saharawi people.

The independence struggle in Western Sahara mirrors almost exactly that of the East Timorese. In 1975 when the colonial power Spain withdrew, the neighbouring country, Morocco, invaded. A war ensued until a UN sponsored ceasefire was declared in 1991 when a referendum was promised.
Despite UN pressure Morocco refuses to agree to a referendum.

Free Wafaa Charaf: Jailed champion of Moroccan immigrant workers and the Saharawi struggle

March 2nd, 2015

Ben Hamblin
Freedom Socialist Organiser, January 2015

Wafaa Charaf is a high-profile Moroccan political prisoner. The growing campaign to free her — which has broad support beyond Moroccan borders, especially in Europe — is drawing international attention to national and political oppression in Morocco.

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The Responsibility of the UN Security Council in the Case of Western Sahara

March 2nd, 2015

Hans Corell, Former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations
International Judicial Monitor, International Law Analysis and Commentary, Winter 2015

In this Commentary Hans Corell raises the question of Western Sahara saying “that it is a situation where the Security Council risks falling short in fulfilling its mandate. Under the UN Charter the Council has a legal obligation to take action in situations like the present.” (…continued)

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19-20 March 2015:Conference, Melbourne ‘Natural Resources-the Key to Western Sahara’s Future’

February 28th, 2015

Natural Resources : the Key to Western Sahara’s Future
19-20 March 2015 in Melbourne

International conference with Mouloud Said, Sultana Khaya, Stephen Zunes, Damien Kingsbury, Ben Saul, Erik Hagen, Kamal Fadel…

Program:

Thursday 19 MarchConference Dinner Keynote speaker Mouloud Said – the Saharawi Minister Delegate in charge of Asia and the Pacific. Former Saharawi Representative to the United Nations and to the Organization of African Unity (OAU)

Friday 20 March
– Conference speakers at CQ, 113 Queen Street, Melbourne

Hosted by Deakin University’s Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights in conjunction with the Australia Western Sahara Association

See:
Conference program

Registration and further details

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AWSA letter condemns Board of Crans Montana Forum decision

February 28th, 2015

12 February 2015
To the Board of Crans Montana Forum

I am writing on behalf of the Australia Western Sahara Association to condemn your decision to hold the annual Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and to urge you to reschedule the forum in an appropriate location.

As a Swiss-based organisation the Crans Montana Forum should be concerned that its international conference is to be held in a country where there is ongoing conflict over sovereignty, breaches of international law and ongoing reports of abuses of human rights by the occupying Moroccan administration. It violates fundamental ethical norms and is surely contrary to the commitment of the Crans Montana Forum to building a better World, more humane and impartial and to its forum aim to consider Africa’s major concerns and to foster its hopes and ambitions   http://www.cmf.ch/events/upcoming-events.
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An Open Letter from CODESA urges cancellation of the Crans Montana Forum

February 20th, 2015

Laayoune /Western Sahara, 9 February 2015

CODESA (the Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders, of which Aminatou Haidar is president) has written an open letter to the President of the Crans Montana Forum urging the Forum President to cancel its planned meeting on 12th to 14th March 2015 in Dakhla city /Western Sahara to discuss the issue of ” Africa and south–south cooperation.
The decision to hold the meeting in Western Sahara which is known internationally as a disputed territory is an affront to the Saharawis who continue to be subjected to human rights abuses and oppression under the Moroccan regime.  (Continue to read CODESA letter)
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Luxembourg pension fund blacklists six firms over Saharan imports

February 20th, 2015

Published Western Sahara Resource Watch: 19.11 - 2014

A Luxembourg government fund has excluded six companies from its portfolios due to “association to illegal exploitation of natural resources (Western Sahara)”.
On 15 November 2014, the Fonds de Compensation commun au régime général de pension (FDC), published the list of 61 companies that it has decided to blacklist. No less than six of those companies have been rejected because they purchase phosphate from Moroccan occupied Western Sahara.
Two Australian companies, Incitec Pivot and Wesfarmers, are complicit in this exploitation of Saharawi resources and are included in the FDC blacklist

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January 2015: African Union adopts important decisions on WS

February 2nd, 2015

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
Twenty-Sixth Ordinary Session   23 – 27 January 2015
Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA

DECISION ON THE THIRTY-SEVENTH ACTIVITY REPORT OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS
Doc.EX.CL/887(XXVI)

The Executive Council,

10. REITERATES its serious concern at the continued illegal occupation of the territories of Western Sahara which could not be visited by ACHPR in line with Executive Council Decision on the matter, DEMANDS expeditious implementation of the various relevant United Nations and African Union Resolutions to actualize as early as possible the long awaited self-determination of the Saharawi people; in that regard, Council RECOMMENDS that AU organize some of its activities in the liberated territories of Western Sahara as a demonstration of solidarity with the Saharawi people in their legitimate aspirations(1); \

11. RECOMMENDS to the Assembly of the Union to adopt a special declaration condemning the holding of the Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla in the occupied territory of Western Sahara (1), (2);

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Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - backsliding in human rights

February 2nd, 2015

Human Rights Watch have issued their report on 29 January on Morocco and Western Sahara in 2014, saying that backsliding in human rights outpaces reforms and that “There were few tangible improvements in human rights in Morocco and Western Sahara during 2014, either in law or in practice.”

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January 2015 New online newsletter about all things Saharawi

February 2nd, 2015

Western Sahara Update
January 2015

A new online newsletter about all things Saharawi is now available. It is being distributed to 3500 organisations and individuals and is produced by Zain Atfaak in partnership with Sahrawi young people in the Tindouf camps and is sponsored by the Province of Antwerp (Belgium).

To subscribe to the free online newsletter:
email newsletter@westernsahara.org

Scottish oil firm Cairn drills amid repression and fear in Western Sahara

January 28th, 2015

Newsnet.scot, 23 January 2015
by Joanna Allan and John Hilary

“You mean you haven’t heard of the roast chicken?” asks Shaykh, a young Saharawi activist, whilst we discuss Moroccan repression tactics in the relative safety of a street side café. Shaykh comes from Western Sahara, a country that has been illegally occupied by neighbouring Morocco for almost 40 years. It seems the Sunday dinner staple is a useful metaphor for the savage manner in which Saharawis are suspended from bars, limbs bound, and beaten in the pursuit of information. The young Saharawi tells us he has experienced “the roast chicken” many a time, in retribution for protesting against foreign governments and corporations that plunder his country’s natural resources.

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