Wednesday, December 09, 2009



Your support can make a difference at a crucial time in the campaign to save the life of Aminatou Haidar known as the ‘Saharawi Ghandi’. Aminatou is a prominent human rights activist and former political prisoner and Nobel Peace Prize nominee. She is known for her non-violent resistance to the illegal occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco.

On Sunday she entered her 21st day of hunger strike after being expelled from her home in Western Sahara. Negotiations are still taking place between Spain and Morocco, with involvement from the UN and the African Union, but so far this it has not been successful – YOU CAN EXERT THE PRESSURE NEEDED TO INFLUNCE THEM

Aminatou should not need to die to demonstrate to the world the extent of the Moroccan oppression against the people of Western Sahara.

Doctors have said she has only days to live. PLEASE HELP HER!


1. Click here to take the Amnesty International Action to the Moroccan authorities

2. Make sure key decision makers in the EU and UN take action.

- Copy the following into the subject heading of an email: AMINATOU HAIDAR IS DYING. PLEASE ACT NOW SO SHE CAN RETURN TO HER FAMILY

- Body text: Members of the UN Security Council have a responsibility to pressure the Moroccan authorities to act to enable Aminatou Haidar to return to Western Sahara. She should not have to die just to show the world the extent of the Moroccan oppression. Please Act.

- BCC it to the following addresses:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

3. Take direct action – join us at 12pm on Thursday 10th December outside the gates of Downing Street (off Whitehall) to demonstrate and show the Moroccan authorities that they must act. Please wear black!

More Info

The Human rights situation in Morocco is dire with torture, rape, disappearance, false imprisonment, and unfair trials commonplace and [i]have suffered a real regression in the last few weeks.[ii]

Aminatou, alongside many of the Saharawi people has suffered before. In 1987, aged 20, she "disappeared" and was tortured by the Moroccan secret police for four years for advocating independence. In 2005 she was jailed for seven months after being beaten by a Moroccan policeman during a demonstration protesting against the Moroccan occupation.

I was kidnapped and detained in prison for 4 years. I was blindfolded continuously throughout this time, and spent 9 months in solitary confinement…sometimes we would be forced to face the wall with our hands tied and spend the whole night standing on one foot. If we fell, we were tortured...the threat of rape meant we were afraid to sleep…my family, including my young children had no idea of my whereabouts."[iii]

In a cruel twist on Friday, her supporters including her 2 children were jubilant as the Spanish authorities told Aminatou she could return home only to be distraught when the Moroccan authorities refused to allow the plane meant to be taking her home to leave.

Her deportation has been condemned by human rights organisations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.[iv] Morocco has been repeatedly asked to allow her to return home including by The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Jean Ping and UN Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres[v]but is refusing to do so and is prepared to let her die.

Her campaign has attracted high profile support including actors Javier Bardem, Juliet Stevenson and Terry Jones, film directors Pedro Almodovar and Ken Loach, musicians Manu Chao and Brian Eno and Nobel Literature Laureate, Jose Salamango.

Media coverage

This has made international headlines with front-page news in Spanish newspapers. For a l selection of coverage in English see: Western Sahara: Joy turns to anger British MPs support Haidar

The Guardian, Hunger Striker

The Guardian, Nobel nominee hunger strike fears

BBC, Morocco demands apology from hunger strike activist

Concert backs 'Gandhi of Sahara'

The Observer on Dec 6

The Independent Marooned at Lanzarote airport, the 'Gandhi of the Western Sahara'

Associated Press

Statements of Concern

UN commissioner for Refugees

Statement from the African Union

Statement from the South African Government

Statement from Amnesty International

Statement from Human Rights Watch Morocco: Reverse Expulsion of Sahrawi Activist

Human Rights Watch article on escalating Moroccan repression

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