ACTION and RESOURCES
ACTION for Western Sahara
Western Sahara is Africa’s last colony; it was occupied by the Spanish in 1884 and has been occupied by Morocco since 1975. The home of a tough and determined people, the Saharawi, the people of Western Sahara, have been fighting and working for their independence and self–determination for their resource–rich nation situated between Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria. The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is recognized by more than fifty nations. An armed struggle with Morocco after its occupation of most of Western Sahara ended in 1991. Almost half its people fled from the Moroccan military and live in refugee camps, now communities, in Algeria. Promises for referendums have been broken and the world either ignores the illegal and unjust situation or collaborates with Morocco, a well–supported ally of the USA and France.
There is international interest in the mineral deposits of Western Sahara where mainly Spanish companies began the exploitation of rich phosphate deposits that continues to this day, now by a Moroccan government owned company. These deposits and the potential for other minerals along with the rich off–shore fishery are the main reason for Morocco’s militarized occupation.
Canada is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with Morocco, it in turn is supported by the province of Saskatchewan where the agriculture minister says that Morocco is a major market for its agricultural products and he wants trade barriers removed,
Photo: Aminatou Haidar lives in occupied western Sahara. She has been jailed and tortured for defending the rights of Sahrawi and the right of self-determination for her Western Sahara.
Saskatchewan-based Nutrien Co. (formed by the merger of PotashCorp and Agrium) is the major purchaser of phosphates for fertilizers.
In spite of the many UN votes and resolutions, Morocco still rules Western Sahara. The portion of the state along the Atlantic coast has received so many Moroccan migrants that they now outnumber the Saharawi who are constantly subjected to surveillance, harassment and detention which often result s in torture and lengthy jail sentences. Resolutions #242 & #338 of the UN Security Council include statements that prohibit permanent settlement of occupied lands for domestic or commercial purposes; resolutions that Canada professes to respect. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits (and makes criminal) settlement of a population into occupied lands of others.
A narrow strip to the east and south is a “liberated zone” with little development and few people; this strip is separated from Morocco and the western region of the state by a more than 2400 km long earth wall liberally planted with five million landmines. Before this barrier was constructed by Morocco thousands of Saharawi fled from their homeland, pursued by the Moroccan air force dropping napalm and white phosphorus on terrified civilians. (photo: sand wall)
PLEASE WRITE TO: Nutrien CEO, Charles (Chuck) Magro at: Suite 500. 122 – 1st Avenue South, Saskatoon SK S7K 7G3 Phone: 306-933-8500Phone: 1-800-667-0403 (within Canada) and ask Nutrien to. Stop buying phosphates from Western Sahara and for Nutrien. to support an end to colonization of Western Sahara so it may buy phosphates from the legitimate owners of the resource.
PLEASE WRITE TO: PRIME MINISTER Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade; ask that the illegally occupied region of Western Sahara and its products be excluded from any Free Trade Agreement with Morocco. cc your letter to other politicians. All to: House of Commons, Parliament Blgs. Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 (no stamp needed)
Please write to: Secretary General António Guterres of United Nations, 1st ave. and 46th st. New York, NY 10017 USA Tel: 1 (212) 963 1234 Fax: 1 (212) 963 4879 http://www.un.org
Thank the UN for supporting the rights of Sahrawi nation and people. Ask him to…..Set a date for a free and fair referendum to be carried out in Western Sahara with an option for independence on the ballot paper, consistent with the established international legal norm of self-determination.
& to develop a robust plan under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to enforce the outcome of the referendum, if any of the parties do not respect the decision of the Saharawi electorate.
– Grant the MINURSO peacekeeping operation the legal mandate to monitor and report on human rights in territories This body must report its findings directly to the UN Security Council.
Demand an end to the extraction of natural resources from Western Sahara through deals which disregard the interests and wishes of the indigenous Saharawi.
RESOURCESfor Western Sahara
Western Dahara: The Refugee Nation Pablo San Martin 2010 University of wales Press. Wales. UK
SETTLED WANDERERS Sam Berkson & Mohammed Sulaiman. Influx Press, UK
For reviews of these books see: http://bookreviews.bbcf.ca/
El Problema: https://www.filmin.es/pelicula/el-problema
Life Is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYY2fuKMKmE
Seeing in the dark for Senia and her grandmother
clouds of sand were horizon and sky/ the pitiless sun penetrated .seeking life to suck dry
by day the travellers stitched themselves into crevasses and caves /relief from heat and hurtling silica crystals
that cut the skin/ bombard the eyes/ yet another hostile force threatened more
/this slender band of women children old and feeble /in daylight planes
hunted their journey/phosphorus bombs and napalm
/were deadly rain on the desert canvas/ at night when wind and sun where gone
when planes returned to base/ pilots to eat drink their fill
the group shared their precious little/buried a baby too weak
to suckle and stumbled onward/ the stars their atlas and compass
reading the sky like pages of a book/ from Orion’s belt to the Milky Way
they followed east until dawn/once going on in morning light
seeking refuge too late/a single bomber killed a few old men
the navigator a grandmother / blinded by phosphorus lived in pain/the broke
n band folded into a narrow cliff until night came again/ the blind grandmother still saw the stars
as younger women gave the sky to her they continued diminished determined
burying a few more children/ the nights so cold but clear
safe with ancient light and comfort/one night the grandmother stopped:
she said the faraway is now nearby/ they crept along in weary silence
children had no strength to cry/ they smelled smoke heard familiar voices
soon they were lifted gently like bags of bird bones/given tea food water blankets and peace/
journey safely over but memory slowly released fear and longing/ the blinded navigator slept
the stars faded in her internal sight she saw instead light/
the silver glint of ocean waves palms rustling in oases/
she hears water on rock laughter and camel bells.
From Love and Resistance by Theresa Wolfwood. Smallberry Press2014. London UK (
photo :Saharawi born in refugee camp, has never been in his homeland)