Friday, 9 October 2009

It's not easy being green? Try being a human rights activist

Activist of all kinds of convictions have made the headline this year. Most prominently in the UK, we remember the G20 protests early 2009 that saw British police officers literally lashing out to protesters causing one death and countless injuries. Only limited and highly censored news of the arrest and abuse of human rights activists at the Beijing Olympics reached us in the summer of 2008. 

No news at all reaches us (unless we look carefully enough), about human rights activists that campaign in support of the Saharawi refugees. While the Moroccan UN ambassador tours the world and proposes... well... "visions", those aiming to effect change or "merely" want to observe, investigate, and understand what is going on "behind closed doors" are hindered to do just that. Hindered with violence, hindered with arrest. ASVDH reports:
Morocco arrests 6 Western Saharan human rights activists at Casablanca airport

ASVDH has received a telephone call from its President, Mr. Brahim Dahanne, confirming that he was on board a plane and had just landed, along with six Sahrawi human rights defenders, at the Casblanca Airport. They had returned from a visit to the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria, lasting from 23 September and 8 October.

The other activists on the flight were:
Ali Salem Tamek (vice president of the CODESA)
Degja Lechgar (ex-disappeared, member of ASVDH and CODAPSO)
Hammadi Naciri (vice president of the CSPDH (Smara))
Rachid Saghair (member of the Committe Against Torture, Dakhla)
Saleh Lebaihi (president of Forum to Protect Children)
Yahdih Ettarouzi (human rights activist)

At 13h37 (GMT) we called him again and he told us that there were a few police cars near the plane and they will be arrested. Since that time we have lost contact with him. (Source: ASVDH)

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