A forum devoted to current political, economic trends, and news of the Maghreb region.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Haidar's Latest Comments.


Aminatou Haidar is at it again. The Sahraoui activist is critical of Morocco for allegedly annihilating the Sahraoui people, using napalm and phosphorus mortar bombs on Sahraouis. Haidar, currently in Spain, in a conference to support the Sahraoui people has called on the international community, in particular the United Nations to establish some mechanism to monitor human rights violations in the Sahara. Aminatou Haidar made headlines late last year for her staged hunger strike in Spain, after she was expelled from Morocco for rejecting to recognize her Moroccan citizenship on the landing card. Haidar has since been allowed back in Morocco. Her latest comments come at a time of impasse between the parties involved in the Western Sahara talks.

I have said enough on the conflict in previous posts. I would just like to add here that it is odd that Haidar continues to advance a Polisario/Algerian line, while still technically living in Morocco. This is definitely a story to follow to see whether she would face any repercussions for her inflammatory statements. The new policy of the state has been to tolerate no dissent or questioning of the territorial integrity of Morocco. In last year's Green March speech, Mohammed VI forcefully declared that the time of ambivalence has gone, and that Moroccans are either for or against territorial unity of the country.

I certainly hope that Aminatou Haidar does not suffer for her comments, for the same reasons that I think every Moroccan should enjoy their full freedom of expression. By the same token, her comments are vitriolic and one sided. One should also call for an investigation of human rights violations perpetrated by the Polisario in the Tindouf camps, where freedom of movement and travel are severely restricted. Human rights organizations have documented the dire conditions where the refugees live. Human Rights Watch, for instance, in its 2008 report, attributed the plight of the Sahraouis in the camps to the Polisario and its benefactor Algeria, and not just to Morocco.

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