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.

Scottish oil firm Cairn drills amid repression and fear in Western Sahara

January 28th, 2015, 23 January 2015
by Joanna Allan and John Hilary

“You mean you haven’t heard of the roast chicken?” asks Shaykh, a young Saharawi activist, whilst we discuss Moroccan repression tactics in the relative safety of a street side café. Shaykh comes from Western Sahara, a country that has been illegally occupied by neighbouring Morocco for almost 40 years. It seems the Sunday dinner staple is a useful metaphor for the savage manner in which Saharawis are suspended from bars, limbs bound, and beaten in the pursuit of information. The young Saharawi tells us he has experienced “the roast chicken” many a time, in retribution for protesting against foreign governments and corporations that plunder his country’s natural resources.


Online video: Refugees for nearly 40 years consider return to conflict

January 11th, 2015

The Washington Post, December 31, 2014 9:05 AM EST -
Whitney Shefte

Refugees from Western Sahara have been living in camps in Algeria since 1975. Now, faced with a reduction in international aid, some Sahrawis are calling for a return to war.

View this excellent video >>

A line in the sand: Fighting 40 years of exile in the desert of Western Sahara

December 13th, 2014

by Nicole Crowder, photo editor for the Washington Post’s photography blog, In Sight.
10 December 2014
These striking images have been captured by photojournalist Tomaso Clavarino. In November 2014 he began documenting the Western Sahara military bases and cadets in the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army who are fighting for Sahrawi independence in what he describes as one of the “world’s least reported crises.”

View article and images

March 2015:Conference, Melbourne ‘Natural Resources-the Key to Western Sahara’s Future’

November 10th, 2014

You are invited to register for this important international conference

‘Natural Resources - the Key to Western Sahara’s Future’

at Deakin Edge on Federation Square, Melbourne Friday 20 March 2015

This will be the first international conference on the question of Western Sahara’s natural resources, featuring an impressive array of international and local speakers, including Emhamed Khadad, Aminatou Haidar, Stephen Zunes, Damien Kingsbury, Ben Saul, Erik Hagen and Kamal Fadel.

Conference program

Registration and further details

Read the rest of this entry »

The Runner - Friday October 10th 2014 - New Council Chambers, 2 Lygon St, Carlton South

September 23rd, 2014

The Runner

Directed by Saeed Taji Farouky
An inspiring story that is now being shared with the world

Friday October 10th 2014
6.00pm for 6.30pm start

New Council Chambers, 2 Lygon St, Carlton South

The Runner is the story of world champion long-distance runner, Salah Hmatou Ameidan, and the journey that transformed him from an athlete into the symbol of a national liberation movement. He comes from Western Sahara, under Moroccan occupation since 1975. He is willing to risk his life, his career, his family and his nationality to run for the cause of a free Western Sahara.

The saharas forgotten war

August 17th, 2014

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

FiSahara 2014: sharing Sahrawi stories at the world’s most remote film festival

August 17th, 2014

Stefan Simanowitz for Voices of Africa, part of the Guardian Africa network

As the great and the good of the world’s film industry prepared to descend on Cannes last week, a very different film festival was coming to a climax deep in the Sahara desert.

Far from the red-carpeted Mediterranean opulence of the Croisette, theSahara International Film Festival – known as FiSahara – took place in a sun-baked refugee camp deep in the Algerian desert. What it may have lacked in glittering VIP premieres and champagne-fuelled yacht parties, FiSahara made up for in spades with dune parties, camel races and multiplex-sized screenings beneath the stars.


Nowhere Land

July 1st, 2014


After 40 years of fighting in the desert for their unrecognized country, the people of Western Sahara may be on the cusp of collapsing into extremism — and it could be the thing that saves them.


An anti-aircraft gun is mounted to the truck’s bed, where five young soldiers, dressed in loosely worn combat fatigues, the insignias torn off, are sitting with Soviet-manufactured guns strapped to their shoulders. Read the rest of this entry »

Morocco’s King Slow to Deliver on Pro-Democracy Vows

June 26th, 2014


RABAT, Morocco — A few weeks shy of his 15th anniversary as Morocco’s ruler, King Mohammed VI was spotted on the streets of Tunisia in jeans and a T-shirt while on an official visit, living up to the King of Cool nickname given to him by the foreign news media.

Back in the kingdom, however, tensions have been rising. Pro-democracy activists and journalists have faced increasing repression, as the government tries to tame an opposition emboldened by the 2011 Arab revolutions.
Read the rest of this entry »

P for Phosphate – P for Plunder - Morocco’s exports of phosphate from occupied Western Sahara and Australia’s controversial imports

June 20th, 2014

A report, launched on 13 June by Western Sahara Resource Watch, reveals that Australia now has just one importer of the controversial phosphate: Incitec Pivot.

Incitec Pivot Limited is one of ten companies on the P for Plunder report’s red list of companies involved in this unethical trade, spending US$11million per annum on the high-grade phosphate to use in the production of superphosphate fertilisers. By coincidence, it is currently receiving yet another phosphate shipment from Western Sahara in Geelong on board the Western FedoraWesfarmers/CSBP is on the orange list of “companies under observation”. This is because although it has put its imports on hold for the past 2 years, it has reserved the right to make a commercial decision to resume if need be. Read the rest of this entry »