A Western Saharawi protester calls on PM Jacinda Ardern to intercede over phosphate exports
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.
Councils raise Western Sahara flag to support Sahrawi right to self-determination
Leichhardt Town Hall flag raising ceremony [Image: Kate Walsh, 2019]
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
Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, Feb 27, 2019
Mud brick house and tent in Dakhla, one of the Western Sahara refugee camps in the south-west. [IMAGE: L OSBORNE, 2016]
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.
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
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
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
Photo credit: The Atlantic
By Peter Kenworthy
Pambazuka News, Voices for Freedom and Justice, Oct 08, 2018
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke of human rights and international cooperation when she addressed the United Nations in September.
But what will she do about the fact that two New Zealand companies are the last buyers of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara?
Read article from Pambazuka News >
Najla Mohamed-Lamin in the refugee camp in Algeria where she grew up
By Najla Mohamed-Lamin – a Saharawi refugee now studying in the United States
stuff.co.nz; 21 September 2018
OPINION: I have never been to New Zealand. But what happens in the ports of your country is deeply affecting me and my people. As a refugee, living on the other side of the world, I am disturbed by the role that a country, so far away, can play in the conflict that has made my life so complicated.
A series of articles has recently been published by Stuff, regarding New Zealand’s imports of phosphate rock from Western Sahara. That is my homeland, occupied by Morocco.
New Zealand is the now the only country in the world that buys phosphate rock from Western Sahara. Importers in the United States and Canada have just terminated the controversial imports.
Read article >>
Tony Wall, National Correspondent, www.Stuff.co.nz
14 September 2018
New Zealand could easily stop buying “stolen” phosphate from the occupied Western Sahara and use a more environmentally friendly version, a soil scientist and independent fertiliser operator says.
The Stuff series Growing Pain has shone a light on how New Zealand has been thrust into the centre of the world’s most protracted refugee crisis by continuing to buy phosphate from the bitterly disputed region.
The Saharawi people consider the phosphate to be stolen by Morocco, which annexed their territory in the 1970s
Read more >>
The Australia Western Sahara Association invites you to join us for a free film evening
A showcase of two mini-documentaries (30min each) on the plight of Western Sahara – Africa’s last colony and a UN-disputed territory.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A.
Learn about this ongoing and little known conflict that has persisted unresolved since Morocco’s invasion of Western Sahara in 1975
Date: Thursday 20 September 2018
Where: Leichhardt Town Hall
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Drinks and nibblies will be available with proceeds going to support awareness-raising for Western Sahara.
Invite your friends and family and make a night of it. Event flyer attached