A campaign to support the Saharawi people
Hello and welcome to the network which aims to link Western Sahara campaigners around the world.
The network is entirely independent and receives no funding whatsoever. It founding principle is that international law, imperfect as it may be, must be respected and upheld.
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE NETWORK
If you are already a member please "INVITE" others
For the latest campaign news visit the new WSAF website
At the end of April the UN will extend the mission of MINURSO, the peace keeping mission in Western Sahara.
JOIN US in calling for the United Nations to take immediate action to monitor human rights. Please write or email the President of the Security Council now!
HE Mr Eugene-Richard Gasana
Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the UN
370 Lexington Avenue, Suite 401 New York, NY 10017
Phone + 1 212-679-9010
Fax + 1 212-679-9133
Please ask that your letter/email is circulated to all members of the Security Council.
KEY POINTS FOR LETTERS:
The trial of 24 Sahrawi political prisoners, also known as "Group of Gdeim Izik" began on 10 February before Rabat military court after 27 months in prison. On 1st February Amnesty International condemned the trial saying that it was "flawed from the outset". Last month 22 of them received sentences ranging from 20 years to life. Human Rights watch condemned the trial in April.
2013 is a big year for the campaign. April will see renewed efforts to ensure that the UN includes a human rights monitoring mandate for MINURSO, the peace keeping force in Wester Sahara, and right now we have a petition for you to sign against EU plunder of Western Saharan fish.
The EU is planning to pay millions of Euros to Morocco to allow EU vessels to fish in the waters of occupied Western Sahara from 2013. On 10 December, as the EU met with representatives of Morocco to start negotiating a new fisheries agreement for the occupied territory, an international campaign was launched to prevent the EU from carrying out the unethical plundering.
Please sign the letter and post it on social networking sites etc. http://www.fishelsewhere.eu/a194x1387
November - Second anniversary of Gdeim Izik marked by protests in London and around the world. In Western Sahara 19 international journalists wereexpelled and activist Brahim Dahane wrote an OpEd in the Guardian.
Please sign our AVAAZ petition calling for the release of 23 Saharawi prisoners of conscience, jailed without trial for 2 years. It will be handed to the Moroccan embassy on 8th November to mark the anniversary of Gdeim Izik.
Torture used by Moroccan interrogators says UN rapporteur
Juan Mendez, UN special rapporteur on the use of torture, told reporters after presenting a report to the UN General Assembly that "Whenever there is a sense that national security is involved, there is a tendency to use torture in interrogation. Difficult to say how pervasive or how systematic it is, but it happens frequently enough that the government of Morocco should not ignore the practice." (24/10/12)
International Human Rights Group find systematic human rights abuse by Morocco in Western Sahara (October 2012)
A delegation from the Robert Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights have observed grave and systematic human rights abuses including police brutality against Sahrawi people. See HERE
ACTION - The EU’s Right of Passage
The new agricultural agreement between the EU and Morocco - The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) – avoids defining its territorial scope thus allowing greater volumes of fresh produce from occupied Western Sahara to enter the EU market. Read the new report here.
JAVIER BARDEM'S DOCUMENTARY ON WESTERN SAHARA:
The Free Western Sahara Network was involved in helping Javier Bardem with his new documentary 'Sons of the Clouds' which will hopefully get its UK premiere later this year.
AZIZA BRAHIM PLAYS LONDON
UN FAIL AGAIN ON UMAN RIGHTS MONITORING
In the next 10 days the UN discussions on Western Sahara will begin. Last year, following pressure from across the world, language on human rights was introduced into the resolution. This was a great start, but was not enough. Torture, false imprisonment and violence continue. Please TAKE ACTION to tell the Security Council they must monitor human rights!
You can also join or organise a demonstration in your own country.
ONU debe supervisar la situación de los Derechos Humanos en el Sahara
El año pasado, como consecuencia de la presión mundial, el lenguaje relativo a Derechos Humanos fue incluido en la Resolución. Desgraciadamente, ha fracasado. La violencia, los encarcelamientos y la tortura se siguen dando en la región. Por favor ACTÚA y pídele al Consejo de Seguridad de Naciones Unidas que supervise los Derechos Humanos.
Dites à l'ONU de surveiller les droits humains au Sahara Occidental
L'année dernière, suite aux pressions venues du monde entier, la notion des droits de l'homme a été introduite dans la résolution. C’est un échec. Tortures, détentions arbitraires et violences continuent. S'il vous plaît AGISSEZ pour dire que le Conseil de Sécurité doit être mandaté pour surveiller les droits de l'homme.
March 2012 - Javier Bardem's documentary 'Son of Clouds' premieres in Berlin Film Festival. He talks about the film in the Independent here.
March 2012 - A ninth round of informal UN talks in New York makes little progress Read
Feb - 2012 - 500 people from 21 countries join the EUCOCO conference in Seville. Aminatou Haidar and Carlos Bardem are among the participants. Read.
Jan 2012 - New EU trade agreement breaches international law. Read
Jan 2012 - A global survey on political rights and civil liberties has placed Western Sahara along with Tibet, as the two worst-rated territories in the world. See the annual report by Freedom House here.
Jan 2012 - On 6 January 2012, human rights defender Mr Hasna Al Wali was arrested by police. Frontline Defenders have issued an urgent call for his release amid fears of torture and ill treatment. Find out more here.
Dec 2011 - EU rejects extention of Fisheries Agreement
In a remarkable victory of campaigners, MEP's voted down the proposed one-year extension to the fisheries deal between the EU and Morocco. The vote brings a temporary if not permanent end to the illegal exploitation by European fishing boats of WS waters.
READ OUR ARTICLE ABOUT IT HERE
WATCH THE VOTE HERE (at 11.41)
Oscar winning actor Javier Bardem came to New York to address the UN’s decolonization committee. He called for action to resolve the conflict in Western Sahara which he described as a ‘grave injustice, a violation of international law and our own basic sense of right and wrong.’
WATCH HIS ABC INTERVIEW HERE
"Western Sahara and the Arab Spring" - MEETING 6/9/11 - 6.3opm
Parliamentary Meeting to mark 20th anniversary of UN CEASEFIRE
The 6th September marked the 20th anniversary of the UN ceasefire under whose terms a referendum on self determination should have been carried out. A high level delegation of MP's delivered a letter to the British Prime Minister and a meeting was held in the British Parliament calling on the British goverment to use its influence in the UN Security Council to bring about the referendum. See our article:
Human Rights Monitoring
Our international campaign calling for human rights to be included in the MINURSO mandate renewed last April was not successful but its impact was nonetheless felt at the UN.
"As the ‘Arab Spring’ reshapes the political landscape in the Middle East and North Africa, discussions at the UN in April on Western Sahara once again highlighted the Security Council's contradictions in supporting the use of military force to foster democratic change in Libya and Ivory Coast, and on the other hand failing to advance a democratic solution and human rights in Western Sahara.
After a four-year battle in the Security Council against French vetoes on the issue, the Security Council’s Resolution 1979 for the first time acknowledges the need for the international community to implement “independent and credible measures to ensure full respect for human rights” in Western Sahara, and calls on Morocco to provide “unhindered and immediate access for the United Nations” within the Territory, a firm rebuff to Morocco’s efforts to hide from international scrutiny its violent crackdowns on peaceful protests by the Saharawi people, including that at Gdeim Izik in November 2011.
But in perhaps the most significant new development, the Security Council called on the parties to focus on the UN Secretary-General’s recommendation that any solution must have the approval of the population of Western Sahara, as expressed in a “referendum that will constitute a free exercise of the right to self-determination”. This is what the people of Western Sahara have been demanding for every one of the 35 years since Morocco illegally invaded their country." (Courtesy of Independent Diplomat)
SOME INTERESTING READING
The Health Situation in the refugee camps article in - The Lancet
FOR THE LATEST NEWS visit:
Western Sahara Campaign UK - http://www.smalgangen.org/
Western Sahara Resource watch - http://www.wsrw.org/
Australian Western Sahara Association- http://www.awsa.org.au/
War on Want - http://www.waronwant.org/past-campaigns/western-sahara
Amnesty International - http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/moroccowestern-sahara
Sandblast - www.sandblast.org
Co-opting the peacekeepers? http://nickbrooks.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/co-opting-the-peacekeepers/
The facts about Phosphates http://e360.yale.edu/feature/phosphate_a_critical_resource_misused_and_now_running_out/2423/
FORMER UN ASSISTANT SECRETARY GENERAL ATTENDS FISAHARA FILM FESTIVAL
The pressure on the EU to stop the unlawful fishing of Western Saharan waters by EU boat is building. Why not sign up.
UPDATE - December - Morocco: Sun, sea, sand and torture
In the week that Morocco announced a new tourism plan that includes developing tourist sites in occupied Western Sahara, campaigners in London launched a new campaign 'DON'T GO TO MOROCCO" (see http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/12/469533.html)
Why not organise where you are.
UPDATE: STOP VIOLENCE IN WESTERN SAHARA
Thanks to your support, the European Parliament passed a resolution in late November condemning the violence in El Ayoun and calling for a UN-led independent investigation. The week before the UN Security Council, chaired by the UK released a statement saying they “deplore” the violence in Western
Sahara. This is progress. However, due to obstructions from France,
the Security Council failed to agree to undertake an urgent
investigation into the incidents or implement human rights monitoring -
leaving the violence in Western Sahara to continue.
To help see the 3 ACTIONS in the discussion forum.
You might also be interested to see our recent articles in Tribune magazine
and the Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/nov/26/boiling-tensions-in-western-sahara/
OCTOBER: Film maker, Ken Loach, joined the delegation to Downing Street to mark the 1st anniversary in prison without trial of 3 or the 7 human rights defenders arrested in Casablanca. He also co-wrote this article about the UN Decolonisation Committee Meeting in New York that was once again dominated by the subject of Western Sahara.
See Western Sahara and the tide of history - Independent on Sunday
SEPTEMBER: After attending a conference in Algiers 73 Saharawi human rights defenders risked injury and imprisonment when they returned to Layoune.
See Running the Gauntlet - New Internationalist
See Violent clash averted during standoff in Layoune - New Internationalist
July 2010 - Two of the Monty Python team, Michael Palin and Terry Jones showed their support for the Saharawi cause, attending the opening of a photography exhibition in London. See MONTY PYTHONS support Sahara refugees - Prospect Magazine
July 2010 - See these beautiful photos in our report in Financial Times
July 2010 - See our piece about the FiSahara film festival in New Statesman
JUNE 2010 - There was a good piece on - illegal EU fishing off Western Sahara in the Guardian. Please sign up to the - Fish Elsewhere campaign
On 30th April the UN Security extended the mandate of their peace keeping force in Western Sahara (MINURSO) by another year. It was hoped that the mandate would also be extended to include human rights monitoring but this was blocked by France. On 1st May a cross party group of 57 French government officials signed a letter 'deploring' their government's behaviour.
The 6 hunger strikers being held in Rabat prison ended their fast on 28th April following 'assurances' made by the Moroccan authorities.
The FiSahara film festival was a huge success and during the opening ceremony the South African ambassador reaffirmed his country's solidarity with the Saharawi struggle.
See our articles in - The Metro and - The Guardian
On Wednesday 7th April the UN released its report in which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he sees no prospect of resolving the dispute in Western Sahara in the foreseeable future. This is not good enough. We are campaigning to ensure that the UN Resolution to be passed on 30th April contains a provision for human rights monitoring in the region. See our - letter in the Guardian (7/4/10)
Meanwhile 6 of the 7 human rights activists facing the death penalty in Moroccan jails have been on hunger strike since 18th March. See - press release (15/4/10)
See our - letter in the Guardian (15/4/10)
Last December Amaidou Haidar, the Nobel Peace Prize nominee, expelled by Morocco, has stopped her 32 hunger strike and is now back with her family in Laayoune. She flew back victorious on 18th December. No concessions were made to the Moroccans. See our report co-written by Jeremy Corbyn MP - HERE. We also have features on Aminatou in - Tribune and this month's - Red Pepper.
Despite her victory, and perhaps because of it, the Moroccan are cracking down. The CASABLANCA 7, prominent human rights defenders, are facing the death penalty. See our article (7/1/10) HERE
One of the human rights defenders imprisioned since 8th October featured in the BBC's documentary TROPIC OF CANCER screened on 22nd March 2010. You can find details of the excellent programme in this article - Activist who spoke out on BBC faces death penalty.
Flights direct from London to the FISAHARA International Film Festival are available now see - EVENTS.
There was a good article slamming Moroccos travel ban on Haidar on 26/1/10
Aminatou sent a LETTER to world leaders, one of which was delivered to Gordon Brown by a high level delegation in London.
Musician Brian Eno co-wrote a ARTICLE in the Guardian on Monday.
An ARTICLE by Loach and Laverty on 11th December exposes King Mohamed VI's "rotten monarchy."
In London there was a vigil in by Trafalgar Sq - St Martins Place - to mark "a month without food".
See The Observer 29/11/09 and Afrik.com (6/12/09)
On 1st December 2009 a motion of support for Aminatou was tabled in Parliament. On 2nd December, MP's signed an open letter published in the Guardian
The 6th November marked the 34th anniversary of the Green March, Morocco's illegal occupation of Western Sahara. See The Guardian
On 16th October a group of MP's joined academics and campaigners in Westminster to mark the 34th anniversary of the ruling by International Court of Justice calling for self-determination of the Saharawi. They also expressed concern for the 7 human rights activists arrested in Morocco on 8th October. See The Guardian - 16/10/09
Our official launch took place on 12th June in the Houses of Parliament preceded by a delegation to 10 Downing Street led by MP's, MEP's, representatives of the Polisario Front, campaigners, and supported by High Commissioners and Ambassors from several nations. See The Guardian - Western Sahara's lingering crisis - 12/6/09 and See USA Today - Delegation to Downing Street - 12/6/09
SIGN UP to this network by clicking on the button to your right.
Also visit Western Sahara Campaign UK the British support group;
visit Western Sahara Resource Watch;
visit Sandblast the cultural charity
Amnesty International condemns the arrest of seven high profile Sahrawi advocates. Read more HERE
The anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall provided an opportunity to remind the world of the 1550 mile wall that still divides Western Sahara. Read more HERE
Western Sahara discussed at the UN's Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) meeting in New York in October. Read more HERE
Western Saharan Olympic runner meets MPs to talk about human rights abuses and promote Sandblast's Running the Sahara event next February. Read more HERE
Campaigners and Polisario representatives were in Brighton at the end of September for the Labour Party Conference. Read more HERE
Campaigners went to Downing Street to mark the 18th anniversary of the UN ceasefire which has yet to be enforced. They also demand that the UK government does more to ensure the safety of the Oxford Six. 7th September 2009
See The Guardian and Afrik.com.
It has also been covered on the Daily Mirror website
Campaigners gathered for a vigil to mark International Peace Day and demand an end to torture in the occupied territories. See report Afrik.com 21/9/09
Campaigners gather at London's South Bank Festival where Aziza Brahim performed in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Read the review and interview The Independent 20/9/09
Despite their release, two of the Oxford Six students have been picked up by police and tortured in the past weeks.
Read our article The Independent 13/9/09
A vigil was also held for the Oxford Six in London (see USA Today) 8/9/09
There are template letters below that you can print out and send to the British and Moroccan governments.
NEWS: VIENNA TALKS - August 2009 On 10-11th August talks between Morocco and Polisario took place "in an atmosphere of mutual respect and serious engagement". UN Envoy Christopher Ross is confident that formal talks will take place soon. The Reuters report on Vienna talks See analysis by Polisario negotiator in the Guardian __________________________________________________________
NEWS: OXFORD 6 RELEASED BUT CAMPAIGN CONTINUES - August 2009 The six Saharawi students arrested whilst intransit to England were released thanks in part to swift action by campaigners. The students were interrogated and beaten by Moroccan police. Concerns for their safety remain. Read our article in Prospect Magazine Read our piece in Union of Western Saharan Journalists report __________________________________________________________
NEWS: HAIDAR WINS HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD - August 2009 The winner of the prestigious Civil Courage Prize 2009 has been announced as Saharawi campaigner, Aminatou Haidar. Read our story Human Rights Prize won by Western Sahara campaigner. __________________________________________________________ GET INVOLVED There is much you can do to support our campaign but this site is also here to direct you to other places where you can best use your energies or send your funds. We act as a signpost to the experts. These can be found at Sandblast, the inspirational arts and human rights charity and the Festival Sahara organisers in Spain. Also visit Western Sahara Resource Watch Visit the Western Sahara Campaign website at www.wsahara.org.uk Support the Polisario Front who have representatives around the world. __________________________________________________________
CAMPAIGN NEWS: In the media Our photo essay 'Thirst of the Dunes' is on the Iranian news website -Payvand.com __________________________________________________________
CAMPAIGN NEWS: In the media Our WOMAD reviews of Mariem Hassan are in - Prospect Magazine and on the music website - Music OMH __________________________________________________________
CAMPAIGN NEWS: In the media Our campaigning article is the cover story in the influential US magazine Z Mag - Screenings in the Devil's Garden (July/August edition) __________________________________________________________
CAMPAIGN NEWS: Connecting with the refugee camps Visit the new site containing an incredible audiovisual project with video messages from the refugees - just.messaging.com __________________________________________________________
CAMPAIGN NEWS: In the media Our piece on FiSahara festival on Toward Freedom website. - Screening in the Devil's Garden __________________________________________________________
CAMPAIGN NEWS: In the media An interesting article analysing how Western Sahara is depicted in the Moroccan media. - Moroccan media and the Western Sahara _________________________________________________________
CAMPAIGN NEWS: In the media Our campaigning article is the cover story for the US magazine In These Times - Cinema in the sand (July edition) _________________________________________________________
CAMPAIGN NEWS: In the media The website Filmmaker South Africa In Focus has published our campaigning article about the FiSahara film festival The Sahara Film Festival 07/6/09 _________________________________________________________ CAMPAIGN NEWS: In the media The US website Film In Focus has published our campaigning article about the FiSahara film festival - Sand and Cinema - 28/5/09
CAMPAIGN NEWS: In the media
The Independent ran our review of Group Doueh, a band from the Western Sahara. We were there again at the London gig handing out copies of this review and telling people about the campaign. The Independent - First Night Review - 26/5/09
CAMPAIGN NEWS: In the media
The New Internationalist ran our campaigning feature about the Western Sahara Screenings in the Devils Garden 20/5/09. __________________________________________________________
CAMPAIGN NEWS: In the media
The Independent ran our campaigning feature on the FiSahara festival The Independent - The Riddle of the Sands 15/5/09. Please COMMENT on this article on the Independent website.
CAMPAIGN NEWS: In the media
Prospect magazine have featured our blogs about FiSahara continuously since 5th May (despite some technical difficulties). Read the series of 7 BLOGS
University World News
If you have a moment, please take the time to forward an 'invitation' from this site to anyone you feel might also like to join us. It's really easy to IMPORT your ADDRESS BOOK if you have an account with one of the big ones (hotmail, gmail, yahoo etc).
EMAIL US DIRECTLY: Free Western Sahara Campaign
PRESS OFFICE: 0794 9999435
Started by Jose M Salvatierra Apr 6, 2012.
Started by Nick Brooks Nov 2, 2011.
Started by Nick Brooks Oct 22, 2011.