Category Archives: Human Rights

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

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
Continue reading

Australian Greens National Conference adopts strong resolution on Western Sahara

The Australian Greens National Conference held in Brisbane on 19 & 20 May 2018 adopted the following resolution on Western Sahara:

 “That National Conference:

1. Strongly supports the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence and urge the UN to organise a free and fair referendum on independence in Western Sahara without further delay;
2. Condemns human rights abuses in the areas of Western Sahara occupied by Morocco and urge the UN to extend the mandate of its mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to include human rights monitoring and reporting. The territory should also be opened for other international observers, such as NGOs and the media;

Continue reading

Wilaya of Auserd masses receives UNSG Personal Envoy to Western Sahara

Sahara Press Service

Oct 18, 2017

The messes of the Wilaya of Auserd have received on Wednesday the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Western Sahara, Horst Koehler, who arrived in the camps on the second leg of his first visit to the region, in the framework of his first tour to revival negotiations between the two parties to reach a solution that guarantees the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.

Upon his arrival in Auserd, he was greeted by units of the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), where he was received at the entrance of the Wilaya by the members of the Secretariat, the Government, the National Council, the Bureau of the Advisory Council, the Presidents of the Constitutional Council and the Supreme Judicial Council.

For her part, Governor of the Wilaya, Mrs. Mariam Salek Hamada, after welcoming the Personal Envoy and his accompanying delegation, renewed the confidence of the Sahrawi party in the new envoy to move the peace process in Western Sahara.

Mariam went on saying that the Saharawi people are looking forward to finding a quick solution to the long-running Western Sahara conflict, applauding Mr. Kohler’s experience in the international politics.

The UN envoy was received by Emhamed Khaddad, the Sahrawi Coordinator with MINURSO, Mr. Bujari Ahmed, representative of the Frente POLISARIO to the United Nations.SPS

Original post

Moroccan forces intervene violently against Saharawi demonstrators in occupied El-Aaiun

Sahara Press Service

22 September 2017

El-Aaiun (Occupied Terrritories), Sep 22, 2017 (SPS) – Moroccan forces carried out a violent attack on Sahrawi demonstrators in the occupied city of El-Aaiun on Thursday, to express solidarity with Saharawi political prisoners in Moroccan prisons and condemnation of the disperse of Gdeim Izik’s prisoners.

The Moroccan forces imposed a siege on the neighborhoods that lead to Smara Street and houses of families of the prisoners, before carrying out their assault on the demonstrators.

The intervention was resulted in multiple injuries among the demonstrators, some of them in critical conditions, which required their transfer to hospital such as: Aziz Biza, Bashri Bentaleb, Hasana Duehi, Mina Abaali, Zaina Ashtuqui , Bushra Azafati, Embarka Bani, Maluma Abdalahi and Raguia El Hauasi.

According to sources from the Occupied Zones, Moroccan police forces still maintain a strong siege on the main streets of the occupied city of El-Aaiun, in anticipation of more demonstrations in solidarity with the Saharawi political prisoners.

Moroccan forces transfer Gdeim Izik prisoners to other Moroccan prisons

Sahara Press Service

17 September 2017

Al-Arjat Prison (Morocco) 16 September 2017 – The Moroccan forces on Saturday carried out the abusive transfer of Sahrawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik from Al-Arjat prison to other Moroccan prisons, according to a Saharawi media source.

The Moroccan forces on Saturday carried out the abusive transfer of Sahrawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik from Al-Arjat prison to other Moroccan prisons, according to a Saharawi media source.

The families of the Saharawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik group confirmed that Al-Arjat prison guards attacked the prisoners’ cells and forcibly transferred them to other prisons.

The political prisoners of Gdeim Izik group are probably transferred to the Moroccan prisons of Knetra and Ait Melloul, where the Moroccan authorities have just completed some works in these prisons, added the source.

This abusive transfer is part of retaliation against the group, condemned to heavy sentences of imprisonment ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment, for their successive demands to be transferred to the prison occupied of El Aaiún. (SPS)

Western Sahara has won its conflict cargo case in South Africa

The Moroccan state company OCP has decided to drop defending the detained conflict mineral cargo in South Africa. The Saharawi people thus won a 5 million USD walk-over victory before the trial over phosphate rock ownership even had begun.

On 1 May 2017, the bulk vessel NM Cherry Blossom was detained in Port Elizabeth, on a stop-over to New Zealand. The vessel contained 55.000 tonnes of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara.

The UN has concluded that any exploitation of resources in Western Sahara would be illegal if the Saharawi people do not consent to it. Similarly, the Court of Justice of the EU on 21 December 2016 judged that trading with the territory would be illegal without such consent. However, Morocco, illegally occupying parts of Western Sahara since 1975, has kept the exports of Western Sahara phosphate rock. In 2016, Morocco earned over 200 million USD from the rock export from the territory.

The second biggest importing country is New Zealand, where two farmer co-operatives import from the occupied territory.

Continue reading