Conference on Western Sahara at the University of Pretoria – South Africa

PUSL.- On 9 May, the Institute of Strategic and Political Affairs of the University of Pretoria, Africa Solidarity for the Sahrawi (ASS), PorUnSaharaLibre.org (PUSL) and Sandblast-Arts hosted a conference on Western Sahara and recent developments at the political level and reality on the ground.

Prof. Siphmandla Zondi head of the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, made the introduction to the conference and Mr. Gallous of ASS spoke of the recent developments and the historical and political context of the Western Sahara conflict.

Mrs. Isabel Lourenço, from PUSL and researcher at the Center for African Studies at the University of Porto, who recently published a report on the situation of Saharawi children and young people under occupation in Western Sahara, presented not only this report but also made an account of the day to day, the difficulties and the repression that affects the whole population under Moroccan occupation. The role of MINURSO and the absence of a human rights component in its mandate, as well as the role of the African Union and the Saharawi political prisoners were other issues addressed. Read more

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May 10, birth of Frente POLISARIO

Frente Polisario – Historical background and foundation of Frente POLISARIO

umdraiga.com.- The socioeconomic changes that took place in the Spanish Sahara during the 60’s of the last century, led to the emergence of modern Sahrawi nationalism, based on national consciousness and not on tribalism; based on political arguments and not religious feelings.

In the first years of that decade, the nationalists formed diverse political groupings but none of them got to have decisive influence on the population. Only in 1967, an intellectual, Mohamed Sidi Ibrahim “Bassiri”, was able to gather around him a handful of supporters of independence and, the following year, he founded the Movement for the Liberation of the Sahara, (MLS).

In short, this clandestine organization already had hundreds of militants and began to influence the Saharawi population. Read more

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Can John Bolton Thaw Western Sahara’s Long-Frozen Conflict?

FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images

The Polisario Front has created an international diplomatic presence on a shoestring budget and sees the Trump administration as its best hope in decades to gain independence from Morocco.

BY R. JOSEPH HUDDLESTON | MAY 9, 2019 | foreignpolicy.com

Members of the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army take part in a ceremony to mark 40 years after the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic was proclaimed by the Polisario Front in the disputed territory of Western Sahara at the Rabouni Sahrawi refugee camp in Tindouf, Algeria, on Feb. 26, 2016. FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

In March, the United Nations secretary-general’s personal envoy for Western Sahara, Horst Köhler, hostedthe second in a series of roundtable talks to move a long-frozen conflict toward a peaceful resolution. This conflict has been suspended in a stalemate since a 1991 cease-fire agreement halted a 16-year-long civil war between the Moroccan monarchy and Western Sahara’s liberation movement, called the Polisario Front.

In addition to fighting the U.S.- and French-backed Moroccan military for 16 years, Polisario built several sprawling refugee camps in southern Algeria to accommodate thousands of families who fled the violence. An estimated 165,000 Sahrawi refugees, as those who fled Western Sahara are known, continue to live in these camps, as they have since the conflict began. Read more

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