Yearly Archives: 2014

Morocco ignores the plight of Sahrawi refugees at its door

“I’m going to Dakhla,” I told my close friends and family. Without any further clarification, Dakhla could mean different things to different people. For Sahrawi refugees, those who fled the Western Sahara conflict in the 1970s and 1980s, Dakhla usually refers to the most remote of the four major refugee camps outside of Tindouf in southern Algeria.

For most others, Dakhla refers to the city in the non-self governing territory of the Western Sahara, currently under Moroccan control. As a journalist, however, my going to the Dakhla refugee camp aroused an existential fear among friends and family, who were largely informed by the Moroccan narrative on how dangerous the Polisario-controlled refugee camps were – especially for a Moroccan woman. Continue reading

Saharawi representative tells UN Seminar that the Special Committee on Decolonisation must do much more to bring about the decolonisation of Western Sahara

picture-prime-minister-1.jpgThe issue of Western Sahara was discussed during the UN Special Committee on Decolonization 2014 Pacific Regional Seminar which was held  in Nadi, Fiji, from 21 to 23 May with a view to accelerating action in implementation of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2011-2020).


The Saharawi representative Fadel Kamal pointed out that “51 years had passed since the Territory had been placed on the Special Committee’s list as Africa’s last colony.”  He underlined that the Saharawi people are frustrated that the United Nations has not done more to fulfil this responsibility and that heir legitimate aspirations remain unfulfilled, while Morocco continues to obstruct the UN’s political process, exploit Western Sahara’s natural resources, and violate the fundamental human rights of the Saharawi people.”

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Saharawi Representative attends Africa Day celebration in Australia

africa-day-picture.jpgThe Representative of the Frente Polisario (Western Sahara) to Australia Kamal Fadel participated in the celebrations commemorating Africa Day held in Canberra on 27 My 2014.

The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia attended the event as the Guest of Honour. The event was also attended by members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to Australia, Representatives of the Australian Government, Members of Parliament as well as members of the African community resident in Australia. Continue reading

The Runner screened in NSW Parliament

The Runner which is a documentary about the story of the Saharawi  champion and long-distance runner Salah Hmatou Ameidan was screened on  Wednesday evening 14 May 2014 at NSW Parliament in Sydney (Australia).

The event was hosted by Mr. Jamie Parker, member of Parliament from  the Green Party. Mr. Parker spoke during the event and said that the  Saharawi cause is a tragedy that has been going on for a long time and  that it is a shame the UN has not been able to resolve the case of the  last colony in Africa. He said that he visited the Saharawi refugee camps and witnessed the suffering of the Saharawi people who have been  forced to leave their homeland and seek refuge. He said that the event  is important as a solidarity gesture and he encourage the audience to join the Australia Western Sahara Association and to support the Saharawi cause. Continue reading

Notes from the Western Saharan Refugee Camps

Thanks to the support of the FiSahara Film Festival and the Arab Studies Institute, I spent about a week in the Dakhla Sahrawi refugee camp, about 170 kilometers outside of Tindouf in southern Algeria. I went in my capacity as a freelance writer, graduate student, and activist. During my time there, I stayed with a Sahrawi refugee family and met a number of Sahrawi refugees, international filmmakers, journalists, and members of the Polisario and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic government.

Going into this trip, I carried with me a series of baggages that weren’t the kind you could measure on a scale. My privilege was the biggest baggage. As a Moroccan-American, I came from two countries who have being powerful actors in the Western Saharan conflict: Morocco, the country that invaded the Western Saharan territory in 1975, and the United States, the country that largely supplies the military and financial aid that allows Morocco to sustain its (violent) presence in the territory. Continue reading

Security Council extends UN Western Sahara mission through April 2015

29 April 2014 – The Security Council today extended for another year the mandate of the United Nations mission tasked with monitoring the ceasefire in Western Sahara and organizing a referendum on self-determination for the people of the territory.

The UN has been involved in efforts to find a settlement in Western Sahara since 1976, when fighting broke out between Morocco and the Frente Polisario after the Spanish colonial administration of the territory ended.

In today’s resolution, the 15-member Council extended the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 30 April 2015. MINURSO has been in effect since 1991.

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What is Total doing in Western Sahara?

by Olivier Petitjean
25 April 2014

The French company Total, along with other multinationals, has recently started oil and gas exploration off Western Saharan – a territory which has been under Moroccan occupation for almost forty years. These activities raise ethical issues about consultation with local communities and fair distribution of potential revenues. Saharawi activists have spoken up their concerns for years….

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Here Comes the Money: Solar Power and Self-Determination in Western Sahara

Mel Chin for Creative Time Reports
Artist Mel Chin proposes a Western Saharan currency, backed by solar power, that would help the Sahrawi people achieve economic and political independence while simultaneously combatting climate change.

The HSBC ads at Newark International Airport could not have been more appropriate for my trek to the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria. As I ambled through the jet bridge with my carry-on, color-coordinated images of demure North African women met my eyes, accompanied by some facts assembled by the bank—“0.3% of Saharan solar energy could power Europe”—and a self-aggrandizing but, for me, prescient message: “Do you see a world of potential? We do.”

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US and UK students detained in El Aaiun

Today, April 19, two students from the U.S. and UK have been detained at a checkpoint in El Aaiun. Kristina Nygaard, with U.S. passport, and Joanna Allan, a British citizen, had traveled to occupied Western Sahara to learn more about the concerning situation of the Saharaui population and to gather information on human rights violations and natural resources exploitation in the occupied territory.

In one of the many existing checkpoints at El Aaiun, Kristina Nygaard and Joanna Allan were arrested by the Moroccan police. As declared by the students themselves, they have been told that “they are not welcome” and they will be driven in a car, probably to Agadir.

Violations against human rights in the Western Sahara after the April 25, 2013 UNSC Resolution 2099

Between April 26, 2013 (the date on which the Security Council adopted Resolution 2099) and April 5th, 2014, Morocco has continued its usual repressive policy with regard to Sahrawi civilians in the part of the Western Sahara it occupies and in Southern Morocco.

In fact:

– the withdrawal of the resolution proposed before the Security Council by the United States in April 2013, a proposal on which the Sahrawi population and human rights defenders had been relying heavily in order to put an end to the human rights’ violations by the Moroccan State,

– Security Council Resolution 2099/2013, which  did notbroaden the mandate of MINURSO to cover human rights monitoring and protection in the Western Sahara,
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