Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA) is an incorporated non-profit Association which was set up to raise awareness and promote the Saharawi cause in Australia, and to campaign for a free and fair referendum on self-determination for the Saharawi people.

The independence struggle in Western Sahara mirrors almost exactly that of the East Timorese. In 1975 when the colonial power Spain withdrew, the neighbouring country, Morocco, invaded. A war ensued until a UN sponsored ceasefire was declared in 1991 when a referendum was promised.
Despite UN pressure Morocco refuses to agree to a referendum.

Leaked cables: Morocco lobbied UN to turn blind eye

June 25th, 2015

Leaked cables: Morocco lobbied UN to turn blind eye to Western Sahara in ‘House of Cards’ operation
Joe Sandler Clarke and Katherine Purvis
The Guardian, Wednesday 17 June 2015

The Moroccan government intercepted United Nations communications and used “unethical tactics” in a “House of Cards”-style operation designed to get the organisation to turn a blind eye to the humanitarian situation in Western Sahara, according to a leaked UN report.
The leaked report is a UN analysis of correspondence between the Moroccan government and the country’s permanent ambassador to the UN in Geneva and later New York, Omar Hilale, in the period from January 2012 to September 2014.

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Leaked cables: Morocco lobbied UN to turn blind eye to humanitarian crisis

June 22nd, 2015

The Guardian, 17 June 2015

The Moroccan government intercepted United Nations communications and used “unethical tactics” in a “House of Cards”-style operation designed to get the organisation to turn a blind eye to the humanitarian situation in Western Sahara, according to a leaked UN report.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/jun/17/leaked-cables-morocco-united-nations-western-sahara-house-of-cards

Amnesty International’s report cites widespread torture and violence used by Moroccan forces

May 30th, 2015

19 May 2015:
Amnesty International has published its report ‘Shadow of Impunity : Torture in Morocco and Western Sahara’

“Beatings, stress positions, asphyxiation, simulated drowning, psychological and sexual violence are among an array of torture techniques used by Moroccan security forces to extract “confessions” to crimes or silence activists and crush dissent, according to a new Amnesty International report published today.”

Summary and Report >>

ACTU resolution on Western Sahara adopted on 28/5/2015

May 30th, 2015

At the ACTU Congress today, 28 May, a resolution was passed on Western Sahara

The Australian Council of Trade Unions notes that
•             Morocco has occupied Western Sahara since 1975
•             UN efforts to accomplish the decolonisation process in Western Sahara have not been successful;
•             Around 165,000 Saharawis continue to live in dire conditions in refugee camps in South West of Algeria;
•             Saharawis in the occupied areas endure human rights abuses and denial of their basic rights;
•             The only just, legal and lasting solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, is to end the Moroccan illegal occupation and allow the Sahara people to exercise their right to self-determination, in accordance with the UN decolonisation doctrine;
Congress:
•             Strongly supports the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence;
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243 organisations ask UN to condemn Morocco’s colonial oil plans

April 19th, 2015

protest_camps_natural_resources_hr_full.jpgThis letter was sent on 15 April 2015 to the President of the UN Security Council, HE Dina Kawar, Ambassador of Jordan to the United Nations, with a request for circulation among the Members of the Council.
“No oil drilling should take place in the territory until the Saharawis have had the chance to exercise their right to self-determination and have freely and fairly decided the political status of their homeland”, the appeal to the Security Council writes…

AWSA is one of the signatories of this open letter to the Security Council: Read the Letter and list of signatories

Norwegian report: Acting with Impunity - Morocco’s Human Rights Violations in Western Sahara

April 17th, 2015

Acting with Impunity - Morocco’s Human Rights Violations in Western Sahara and the Silence of the International Community
SAIH, the Norwegian Students and Academics International Assistance Fund
13 April 2015

This excellent report examines the human rights abuses committed in Western Sahara since April 1 2014 until March 1 2015. Based on 163 documented cases, 256 different human rights violations have been reported, involving 283 named victims.
The report concludes that the continued gross human rights violations committed in occupied Western Sahara illustrate the total inadequacy of Morocco’s national human rights framework. Whilst UN Special Procedures, which involve short and infrequent visits by UN rights experts to Western Sahara, are important, they are insufficient.

Press Release >>

Download Report: Acting with Impunity >>

Read the extended annex >>

10 April 2015: United Nations Secretary-General’s Report on Western Sahara

April 15th, 2015

10 April, United Nations, Security Council
This latest UN Secretary-General report on the situation concerning Western Sahara is a disappointing indicator of the UN’s current position on Western Sahara.
In many respects it simply reaffirms the status quo and once again offers little hope that the UN will instigate meaningful change to support the Saharawi’s right to their country and their future. All this in a context of Morocco’s blatant violations of the basic requirements of the international community – self-determination – and of international law – the protection of human rights during an armed occupation.

UN Secretary-General’s 2015 report >>

Tim Robertson, SC; Natural Resources – the Key to Western Sahara’s Future, 19 March 2015

April 15th, 2015

Thursday 19 March - Conference Dinner presentation

Tim Robertson, SC in his Conference Dinner presentation at the Melbourne conference Natural Resources – the Key to Western Sahara’s Future, 19 March 2015 argues that exploration and exploitation cannot be meaningfully separated in practice. He calls into question a crucial distinction in Hans Corell’s 2002 UN legal opinion on oil exploration licences in Western Sahara.
Accepting Robertson’s view would mean that no prospective activity licensed by Morocco can take place in the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara until a referendum of self-determination is held.
Conference Details: http://www.sahararesourcesday.info

Watch Tim’s speech on YouTube >>
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Spanish judge names 11 Moroccans wanted for genocide

April 15th, 2015

The New York Times, 10 April 2015
Carlotta Gall
Pablo Ruz a judge of the highest court in Spain, has ordered the detention of 11 Moroccan military or administrative officials accused of genocide of Saharawis between 1976 and 1992.  He has specifically called for the arrest of seven of the eleven and for them to be extradited to Spain.
He has documented 50 assassination cases and 202 cases of illegal detention. All the victims, whether members of the Polisario Front or Saharawi civilians have Spanish passports or identity cards.
There is no official Moroccan reaction to the ruling.

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Polisario Front reiterates its request to provide MINURSO human rights monitoring in Western Sahara

April 15th, 2015

Sahara Press Service. Sat, 04/11/2015 - 6:20pm

In a strongly worded appeal, the representative to the United Nations, Ahmed Boukhari issued a press statement on 11 April in response to the new report of the Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon on Western Sahara submitted on Friday to the Security Council:

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