Department of Peace and Conflict Studies Seminar | Africa’s Last Colony: Human Rights and the Decolonisation Process in Western Sahara
This talk will explore the unfinished decolonisation process in Western Sahara while considering the legal, political and historical aspects of Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory. It will also highlight the exploitation of natural resources and the situation of human rights in the Territory.
In 1975 the International Court of Justice found that Western Sahara was not terra nullius prior to its colonisation by Spain and reaffirmed that the indigenous Saharawi people are entitled to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence. Following the Court’s decision, Morocco invaded the Territory forcing thousands of Saharawis to flee the occupation, setting up refugee camps in south-west Algeria. Today 173,600 remain in the refugee camps dependent on humanitarian aid while the Saharawis who remained in their homeland face constant persecution at the hands of Moroccan occupying forces. The Saharawis continue their nonviolent struggle, waiting for the United Nations referendum on self-determination that was agreed in 1991.
About the Speaker
Tecber Ahmed Saleh was born in the Saharawi refugee camps in south-west Algeria and is visiting Australia to raise awareness about the plight of her people. She is an advocate for human rights and has written and spoken abroad about the conditions of life in the camps and the larger political context facing Western Sahara. Tecber studied Biology in the USA and holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Laboratory Science from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. She works in the Saharawi refugee camps and has attended several international conferences representing her people. Tecber’s visit to Australia is being hosted by the Australian Western Sahara Association.
For more information:
Dr Wendy Lambourne, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, email@example.com
Australian Western Sahara Association, www.awsa.org.au, firstname.lastname@example.org