Wednesday, December 16, 2009


It is now over four weeks since the Saharan human rights activist Aminatu Haidar started her hunger strike after Morocco expelled her and refuses to allow her to travel from Spain to her home. She has vowed she intends to return to her native Western Sahara and will do so dead or alive. Many say her life now hangs by a thread!

Haidar has upset Morocco because she rejects that country’s right to rule over the Western Sahara. Now the prime minister of the self proclaimed República Árabe Saharaui Democrática (RASD), Abdelkader Taleb Omar, has called on the international community to pressure Morocco to comply with international law. Days earlier he had appealed to the Spanish monarch, King Juan Carlos, to add his support by interceding with the Moroccan king on Haidar’s behalf.

On Monday the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, met with the Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, at the White House with Haidar at the top of their agenda. The meeting had originally be scheduled to discuss Spain taking over the presidency of the EU on January 1 but as Haidar’s condition weakens it has now become a diplomatic priority to seek a solution. Moratinos issued a plea from Washington for Haidar to end her hunger strike.

Morocco is standing steadfast over Haidar. The foreign minister, Taib Fassi Fihri, insists that his government would make no concessions. He accused the activist of blackmail and said it was a campaign organised by Algeria and the Polisario Front.

Apart from demanding that Haidar is allowed to return to the Western Sahara in dignity the area’s premier Abdelkader Taleb Omar, has also called for the release of all Saharan political prisoners, an investigation in to the fate of those who have disappeared plus the opening of the area to international human rights observers.

So how can you help Haidar’s cause? Very simple – just click on this link and take a minute to sign the Avaaz petition demanding she be allowed to safely return home:

In the early hours of Thursday morning Aminetu Haider was transferred to hospital in Lanzarote at her own request suffering from abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea. She stressed she has no intention of giving up her hunger strike that started on November 14.

1 comment:

'Sancho' said...

Rod has emailed to say he tried to sign the petition but his attempt was blocked. I have just asked somebody to sign to test it and all went fine. I have to say when I did so on Tuesday it appeared to block but I then received an email to say my signature had been recorded. Conspiracy theorists will have a view on this but I suspect it is no more that a glitch!