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News Archive 2009
News Archive 2008

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Activist's "victory" over Morocco puts Sahara back on world agenda
Deutsche Presse-Agentur - Western Sahara activist Aminatou Haidar has been reunited with her two children and mother after she was allowed to return to the Moroccan-controlled territory overnight, a representative of a Spanish platform supporting her said Friday.
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Dec 18, 2009, 11:28 GMT

The reunion was 'moving,' said Jose Morales, whose movement supported the 'Western Saharan Gandhi' during her 32-day hunger strike on the Canary Island of Lanzarote.

Spanish radio reports said Moroccan police had clashed with pro-Haidar demonstrators in the Western Saharan capital Laayoun, detaining several people.

There was heavy police presence in the city, representatives of the Western Saharan independence movement Polisario Front told Spanish National Radio.

International pressure and diplomatic efforts by Spain, France and the United States finally persuaded Morocco to allow Haidar to return to Laayoun in a medically equipped plane provided by Spain.

On entry, she was given back her passport which Morocco had taken away when barring her entry to Laayoun and deporting her to Lanzarote in mid-November.

Haidar was returning to Laayoun via the Canary Islands from the United States, where she had received a civil courage award.

Haidar then launched a hunger strike at Lanzarote airport, with international pressure on Morocco and Spain increasing as her health deteriorated.

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry said Rabat had allowed Haidar to return to Laayoun for 'strictly humanitarian reasons.'

Haidar defends the independence of Western Sahara which Morocco occupied after the colonial power Spain pulled out in 1975. Polisario then launched a war which ended with UN-brokered ceasefire in 1991.

The ceasefire agreement foresaw a referendum on independence, but Rabat wants to shelve that plan and is offering Western Sahara autonomy instead.

Haidar had launched her hunger strike on behalf of the Algerian-backed Polisario, the Moroccan Foreign Ministry claimed.

The Spanish daily El Mundo hailed Haidar as a 'winner' who had managed to put the Western Sahara conflict back on top of the international agenda.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday Morocco's decision to readmit Haidar was an act of 'generosity' that also underscored the urgent need for a permanent solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

The UN Security Council announced a meeting on Western Sahara to accelerate the talks between Morocco and Polisario.

Spain and France, however, appeared to have made some concessions to Morocco in exchange for its readmitting Haidar. Both countries released communiques recognizing that Moroccan law was valid in Western Sahara until the conflict was resolved.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy also gave his backing to the Moroccan autonomy proposal, Spanish and Moroccan media quoted the French communique as saying.

The Spanish daily El Pais, however, said Morocco's expulsion of Haidar had undermined the international credibility of the autonomy proposal.

Source: M&C News



News archive:
14.04 - 2010RFK and HRW call for human rights monitoring in Western Sahara
10.04 - 2010Morocco to appoint a Polisario deserter Ambassador to Spain
09.04 - 2010Morocco must end harassment of Sahrawi activists
05.04 - 2010Worldwide appeal for human rights monitoring in Western Sahara
06.04 - 2010Moroccan crack-down against group of Saharawi activists
04.04 - 2010Appeal by political prisoner's mother
02.04 - 2010Health Sahrawi political prisoners on hunger strike deteriorating
16.03 - 2010Emprisoned Saharawi activist wins human rights award
05.03 - 2010First EU-Morocco summit: Donít forget human rights in Western Sahara
05.03 - 2010Take action for human rights monitoring in Western Sahara
24.02 - 2010European Parliament's lawyers declare EU fishing illegal
12.02 - 2010Parties to Western Sahara dispute commit to further UN-backed talks
09.02 - 2010Parties in Western Sahara dispute to hold new round of talks tomorrow
28.01 - 2010Morocco slammed for Sahara travel ban
23.01 - 2010Peak phosphorous: mankind's latest threat
18.12 - 2009Activist's "victory" over Morocco puts Sahara back on world agenda
18.12 - 2009Activist heads home after ending hunger strike
17.12 - 2009As UN Council meets on Western Sahara, ill Haidar is freed
17.12 - 2009Western Sahara hunger striker taken to hospital
05.12 - 2009AU calls on Moroccan authorities to allow return of rights activist

Africa's last colony Since 1975, three quarters of the Western Sahara territory has been illegally occupied by Morocco. The original population lives divided between those suffering human rights abuses under the Moroccan occupation and those living in exile in Algerian refugee camps. For more than 40 years, the Saharawi await the fulfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.
Trailer: Western Sahara, Africa's last colony


Have a look at this teaser for the upcoming documentary "Western Sahara, Africa's last colony". Coming soon.
Book: International Law and the Question of Western Sahara


To our knowledge the first collective book on the legal aspects of the Western Sahara conflict. Available in English and French.