Friday, December 18, 2009


The Western Saharan civil rights activist Aminatu Haidar has returned to her home in El Aaiún. Thursday was a day of frantic activity as first Haidar was admitted to Lanzarote hospital suffering from abdominal pain as a result of her 32-day hunger strike. With reports that her life hung like a thread there was increased diplomatic contacts between the Spanish and Moroccan governments with the latter finally relenting and allowing her to return home.

She was declared free to leave Spain for her home country to be with her children and mother. So at midnight on Thursday she was flown in a hospital plane to the capital of the Western Sahara. She was accompanied on her journey by her sister and the doctor who had been recently attending her.

It was at 16.00 on Thursday that the all-clear was given for her journey and the news was given to Haidar at the hospital’s intensive care unit where she was being treated. She was dehydrated and was being given liquids intravenously as she still refused to eat or drink.

With the news that she was free to go home her protest and hunger strike ended. It was on November 14 that Morocco refused to allow her to return to her home in the Western Sahara on her return from New York where she had received a reward for her work in demanding human rights in her homeland. Although she had neither a Moroccan or Spanish passport she was allowed to return to Lanzarote with the government in Madrid guaranteeing her safe conduct.

On leaving Spain Aminatu Haidar declared: "This is a triumph - a victory for international law, human rights and the Saharan cause."

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