The Human Rights Sub Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade met on Tuesday 23 September in the Australian Parliament in Canberra to look into the question of human rights for Saharawi people living under Moroccan occupation in Western Sahara.
The power of film to put us in the shoes of people whose lives are so different from our own has always been an effective way of raising support for worthy yet little known causes. Two films portraying the experiences of both the children and women of Western Sahara will be screening at ACMI in Melbourne next month. They give us the opportunity to understand what the dispossessed Saharawis are suffering.
Aminatou Haidar to be presented with RFK Human Rights Award for her campaign for the self-determination of Western Sahara and against government abuses and disappearances of prisoners of conscious. The ceremony will take place in Washington, D.C the morning of November 13th, in the Russell Senate Office Building’s Caucus Room.
Washington DC, September 16th, 2008— Aminatou Haidar is the 2008 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Laureate. Ms. Haidar is being recognized for her courageous campaign for self-determination of Western Sahara from its occupation by Morocco and against forced disappearances and abuses of prisoners of conscious. Regularly referred to as the “Sahrawi Gandhi,” Ms. Haidar is one of Western Sahara’s most prominent human rights defenders.
POLISARIO Front’s Representative to Australia and New Zealand, Kamal Fadel, was the guest speaker of the Faculty of Law of the University of New South Wales (Australia), which organised a talk on Western Sahara, on Thursday.
The presentation by the Saharawi diplomat was under the title: “Western Sahara – Africa’s last colony, Denial of basic human rights”, and tackled the background of the issue of Western Sahara from the period before Spanish colonialism until now.
Melbourne Filmoteca in partnership with the Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA) presents:
Whatever happened to the Spanish Sahara?
An evening of films and discussion about Western Sahara
Date: Tuesday 7th October, 7.30pm
Where: Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Federation Square, Flinders Street, Melbourne
Press Release Friday 5 Sept: Australia Western Sahara Association
As the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s starts a tour of North Africa and Incitec Pivot holds an extraordinary General Meeting in Melbourne, the Australia Western Sahara Association, would like to draw attention to Western Sahara, the unresolved issue that affects the North African region.
Australian Associated Press 5 Sept 2008:
“Friday’s meeting by Incitec shareholders again attracted a tiny demonstration outside from the Australian Western Sahara Association (AWSA)
The AWSA is asking that Incitec and other fertiliser companies put on hold imports of phosphate mined in the Western Sahara, which the AWSA claims is being sold illegally by Morocco….” Read full article >>
More coverage at the links below:
(10.09.08 DPA [Germany])
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will shortly appoint US diplomat Christopher Ross his new personal envoy to Western Sahara, the Spanish daily El Pais reported Wednesday. The daily quoted sources close to the negotiations between Morocco, which annexed Western Sahara after the colonial power Spain pulled out of there in 1975, and the Saharawi independence movement POLISARIO Front.
Saharawi human rights activist and trade unionist, Ms. Khadija Muthik, decided to start a hunger strike for 48 hours Monday morning to denounce “the Moroccan serious human rights violations in Western Sahara.
Moroccan military forces in Sidi Ifni arrested five citizens after the confrontations that took place in the city these last two months between the citizens and the authorities.