Monthly Archives: June 2008

Moroccan official recounts war crimes in Western Sahara

Ould Rachid reveals violations committed by Army Officers against Sahrawi civilians
El Mundo
17 June 2008
By Ali Lmrabet

Rabat. “There are several persons […], that is three or four army officers who committed what could be called war crimes against prisoners outside off the battlefield” and “many civilians who were thrown into the desert from helicopters or buried alive,” simply because they were Sahrawis.

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Senator Lyn Allison raises some challenging questions in Senate Estimates discussion

Senate Estimates: 02 June, 2008

Senator ALLISON—I wonder if I could ask about Western Sahara. Does the new government have a different position on Western Sahara, and Morocco’s status as an occupying country?
Ms Stokes— (FIRST ASSISTANT SECRETARY, South and West Asia, Middle East and Africa Division) I am terribly sorry, Senator; could I ask you to repeat the question.
Senator ALLISON—I was just wondering whether there was any shift at all in attitudes to Western Sahara and in particular the peace plan and the requirement under it and under the UN for there to be a referendum on the sovereignty of Western Sahara. The question really was whether the new government has a different position on Western Sahara than the previous one.
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One more shipping company quits Western Sahara assignments

The third “Norwegian” shipping company in half a year says it will not longer visit ports in occupied Western Sahara. Jinhui Shipping, registered on Oslo Stock Exchange, says to South China Morning Post that it will not contract any more business in the country.
By Erik Hagen, Norwatch
5 June 2008

In February, Norwatch wrote about the Hong Kong based shipping company Jinhui Shipping, that was involved in transporting phosphates from Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco.
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Exam-time repression of Saharawi students in Marrakech

Several YouTube videos posted recently show what has been happening in May: demonstrations on campus, tear gas, beatings, rooms ransacked in student residences etc. The authorities trash the Saharawi students’ rooms so they will go home and not take their exams. Moroccan papers reported 300 arrests in Marrakech.

Rabab Amidane’s videos can be viewed on the following links (for a quicker overview select 1, 2, 5, 7)
Video 1
Video 2
Video 3
Video 4
Video 5
Video 6
Video 7

R-Bulk praised for showing corporate social responsibility

The Norwegians have had a great result from an excellent open letter to a shipping company, R-Bulk, whose ship, Radiance, was used to transport phosphate from Western Sahara to Colombia and possibly Venezuela. The company has apologized and promised to try to avoid such trade in the future,
See report published on the Western Sahara Resource Watch website

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Sahara Film Festival: desert blues

After more than thirty years stranded in one of the most inhospitable areas of desert on earth, refugees from Western Sahara are using the arts to highlight their plight. Peter Culshaw met Manu Chao and Javier Bardem at the Sahara Film Festival. How do you get attention for your cause if you are a marginalised people, ignored for thirty years in the desert? When I spoke to several Saharawi refugees in a camp this month in Southern Algeria they felt they had two options. One: violence – freedom fighting, from their point of view; terrorism, according to their enemies – or two: hosting an arts festival and getting some celebrities along to garner some media attention.
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