Free Western Sahara Network | 27.11.2009 11:46
Haidar, known has the "Saharawi Gandhi", was deported from her home in occupied Western Sahara to Lanzarote by the Moroccan authorities on 14th November and has been on hunger strike in the airport terminal ever since. Haidar has declined an offer by Spain to grant her refugee status and is demanding a return of her passport, confiscated by the Moroccan authorites before her explusion. She has accused Spain of complicity in her deportation pointing out that she should not have been allowed to travel without a passport.
Her deportation has been condemned by human rights organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as well as her friends and supporters around the world including Jose Saramago and Pedro Almodovar. Actor Javier Bardem wrote to her saying "Im sorry that because I am working overseas I cannot be with you in Lanzarote by my thoughts are with you." Haidar has also had a number of high profile visitors, including Spanish actor Guilliamo Toledo who has slept beside her on the airport floor for the past nine days. A delegation from the Robert Kennedy Foundation in the US, from whom Haidar was awarded the 2008 human rights prize, will arrive on Saturday. Dr Guzman is also with her 24 hours per day. Meanwhile in occupied Western Sahara over 200 women have been on hunger strike in solidarity with Haidar since Saturday.
Sounding weak but defiant, Haidar today vowed to continue her hunger strike and stated that her action should not be seen as an isolated act of defiance of a single indiviudal but part of the struggle of the entire Saharawi people.
“It is true that this hunger strike is about the individual right of one person to return to her home and her family, but it also about the collective right denied to the Saharawi people to live freely in their native land.”
Stefan Simanowitz, Chair of the Free Western Sahara Network, said today
“Aminatou Haidar is an inspirational figure who has devoted over two decades of her life fighting for a peaceful end to Morocco's 34 year unlawful occupation of Western Sahara. We call on the Moroccan government to listen to the demands from around the world, return her passport and allow Aminatou Haidar to travel home to her country and to her two young children before it is too late.”
Free Western Sahara Network www.freesahara.ning.com
Free Western Sahara Network