Thursday, 19 November 2009

NEWS: Saharawi activists stopped at airport - again!

There has been a lot of "development" in the occupied Western Sahara territory in the last few weeks. Detentions, disappearances, abuses and tortures are not unfamiliar to the Saharawi but they have presented a force and brutality that has previously been reported  during the war between Morocco and the POLISARIO Front from 1975 until 1992 (when UN peace-keeping initiative MINURSO was established).

These arrests and detentions of Saharawi human rights activists on grounds of "treason" have been considered as a direct reaction to the UN-led efforts last August, when representatives of Morocco and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic came together in Austria to commence peace talks to end the diplomatic stalemate. Van Loon reported only on Tuesday on that the recent arrests in August of the Oxford 6, in September of the 7 Saharawi human rights activists in Casablanca, and most recently of Saharawi "Gandhi" Aminatou Haidar may be efforts on part of Morocco to scupper these negotations, but may very well backfire.

It may backfire, but in the meantime, Saharawis in Morocco are not safe. In August, Talk Together was trying to bring the youth of those peoples together that are in conflict with each other, such as Morocco and Western Sahara. Six bright Saharawi students were chosen to attend the programme but were stopped at the last minute when they were about to board the plane in Rabat to London. This encounter was followed by intimidations, detentions, abuse and torture.

The students that were soon to be known as the "Oxford Six" have since endured physical and emotional abuse up to a point that has become unbearable; a point that forced them to consider the leave their family and friends leave their home country at the age of 19 and 20 to live in an unfamiliar country and culture with an unknown future as asylum-seekers.

And then this happened:
[T]wo young Sahrawi activists, Hayat Rguibi and Ngaya El-Haouassi, were prevented from traveling to Great Britain. They were detained at the Mohamed V airport in Casablanca this morning at 10:00 and interrogated by security services. Both said their passports and tickets to Great Britain were confiscated by Moroccan airport authorities. They claim to have received abusive treatment. Moroccan authorities are refusing to let them travel abroad.
(ASVDH, November 19, 2009)
I have difficulty expressing my shock, my sympathy, my outrage. I have difficulties to allow myself to imagine what they go through, what they have to endure, for fearing that it would grab me by the throat and strangle me. But we have to face and mention these injustices, make them known as oblivion and ignorance is our cruelest enemy.

No comments:

Post a Comment