“Let’s put an end to this injustice”: Aminatou Haidar on Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara

“Let’s put an end to this injustice”: Aminatou Haidar on Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara


For over three decades, Haidar has led a peaceful
campaign to resist the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, often called Africa’s
last colony. Morocco has occupied Western Sahara, a small
region just south of Morocco in northwest Africa, since 1975 in defiance of the United
Nations and the international community. Thousands have been tortured, imprisoned,
killed and disappeared while resisting the occupation. Peaceful protesters, led by women, are routinely
beaten in the streets. Despite this violent repression, Aminatou
Haidar has led countless hunger strikes and demonstrations and unflinchingly documented
the abuses against the Sahrawi people for more than 30 years. I come from the occupied territory under Moroccan
occupation. Western Sahara is an ex-Spanish colony, the
last colony in Africa. Since ’75, it is occupied by the kingdom
of Morocco. This has been a tragedy for us. It has led to a lot of suffering, deprivation
of our rights, torture, disappearance, arbitrary detention, the deprivation of our social,
economic, cultural and political rights. I have spent four years of my life bounded
in a prison, a secret prison, without having had a trial. Nothing. During that old period, I was cut from the
outside world, no connection with my own family. But my case is not a unique one. It is similar to thousands, hundreds of my
land, men and women in Western Sahara. I was 20 years old. And my eyes were bounded. I was in a secret prison, tortured. Imagine me during four years not seeing anything,
being humiliated, psychological and physical torture, attempt of sexual violence, attempt
against my life. I had no connection whatsoever to the outside
world. No contact with my family. No sentences, no trial. Nothing. And so how ultimately were you freed? In ’91, thanks to the peace agreement that
was signed by Morocco, the occupying power, and the Polisario Front, which represented
from the Sahrawi people. So in that peace agreement, a ceasefire was
included and the liberation of political detainees and war prisoners, an exchange of prisoners. And thanks to that, I was liberated, together
with a group of Sahrawi—324 people, and among them 74 women. When we were in Western Sahara, when we were
in Laayoune, we met activists like Sultana Haya who had her eye gouged out by Moroccan
police, Mina Bali who was beaten in a demonstration, along with Sultana and others. Are women particularly targeted and how are
they dealt with? We had video of them being sexually abused
in the street by the security forces. Yes. As I said earlier, my case is not unique. Sultana Haya, a young Sahrawi woman, sacrificed
one of her eye. And the only crime she committed was that
she demanded the right of independence for her people. The same thing for Mina Bali. And today, we have another woman, a young
Sahrawi, who has two children and she is in prison today. She was sentenced to six month imprisoned
because she protested against a false trial against her cousin. Those Sahrawi women are victims of repression. They are courageous women. They are determined. We are an exception in the Arabic Muslim world
because we are respected within our society. We are in the struggle. Nothing stops us. And the Sahrawi woman is seen as the spine
of the specific resistance, the driving force of the struggle. I am calling upon the international community
that should apply international law, and the United Nations should be coherent with their
values, the reason why they were funded. The injustice against us happens because some
international powers act with complicity. So my message is, let’s put an end to our
sufferings. Let’s put an end to this injustice. Let’s give a voice to Sahrawi people. Let them choose their future. And my message is that the situation is serious. We need to avoid war. Because young Sahrawi today do not believe
in a peaceful struggle anymore. There are mines around them. There are terrorists all around them. We need to guarantee our rights. We are a people that deserves to be free because
of our values. We are a courageous people, a determined people. We have conducted a peaceful struggle since
the ceasefire, during 28 years now. We are a people that respects other religions. We are a tolerant people. We believe in coexistence. We believe in democracy, in equality between
genders. We have a moderate form of Islam. I think that international law should be applied
as soon as possible. The U.N. special envoy to Western Sahara,
Horst Köhler, quit his post in May. The U.N. has taken a step back, clearly, in
resolving the conflicts. What prospects are there for a resolution? Exactly. That is why I am concerned. That is what worries me most. The former envoy, Horst Köhler, made sure
that things started to go forward. And that is also the case of the American
ambassador, Christopher Ross. They managed to make sure that negotiations
went on, but they didn’t get the support that was needed. They didn’t have the support of the international
community, the United States and France. Do you think there is the possibility the
Polisario will pick up arms, return to war? And what would this mean? Unfortunately, it is quite possible. The Polisario Front is under the pressure
of young generations, under the pressure of young people who do not believe in a peaceful
fight anymore, a peaceful struggle anymore. That’s the reason why I try to say loud
that measures should be taken to avoid a new war.

21 Comments on "“Let’s put an end to this injustice”: Aminatou Haidar on Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara"


  1. This women as alot of puppet of the west…working as traitors to devide us hundred piece !!! Go to the HELL TRAITOR…later on..new movement fight them and demand north sawahli state !!!

    Reply

  2. When will enough be enough…. how much longer are we going to let the elite , the ignorance, abuse and oppress humanity !!

    This must be stopped!

    Reply

  3. This all started with the damned "colonization" by the Europeans to exploit the resources of peoples. Strange how the U.S. struggled to throw off the yoke of Great Britain and now has, not only adopted the European way of rape and plunder, but has perfected and westernized it.

    Reply

  4. WHERE THE HELL IS THE UNITED (BLOODY IDIOT) NATIONS…

    IT SHOULD BE RE-NAMED …. THE U.N. MUST BE KNOWN AS U.U.DN. … THE USELESS DISUNITED NATIONS..

    Reply

  5. I AM DISGUSTED BY THE 'MEN' THERE… THEY ARE ANYTHING
    BUT REAL MEN!!!!!!!!

    BEATING UP WOMEN – BLOODY COWARDS!!!!

    Reply

  6. The world is consumed with violence. If it weren't for religious fanaticism, we would be a peaceful planet. But no, we cling tightly to the notion that all else are wrong because an antiquated, nonsensical book told you so.

    Reply

  7. Letā€™s worry about the problems that we have first. Through people like Adam Schiff and No Nads Naddler out of office before the USA šŸ‡ŗšŸ‡ø becomes like one of these other poor nations where the citizens cannot take up arms and defend themselves from totalitarian governments.

    Reply

  8. The Kingdom of Morocco is currently occupying 75-80% of the territory. This means that 20-25% is currently not under foreign occupation.

    Reply

  9. @DemocracyNow: it's insane that your real journalism is to bring one side of the story and purposely ignore the other side of it. You close your eyes to Polisario's fascism that has been terrorizing the lives of citizens who go against their propaganda. You closed your eyes to the fact that Polisario takes away children from their parents and sends them to the training to become soldiers. You close your eyes to Polisario's corruption. You close your eyes to Polisario's terrorism to feed into the propaganda. You fall behind with this coverage the same as you did with Russia-gate. DN, if you're sure to be an independent news outlet, you got to run some self-check. You have smart followers, please respect our minds.

    Reply

  10. Perhaps the independentists Sehraouis, who represent about 20%of the population may find peace and developpemet whithing the morroccan state

    Reply

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