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Where is Western Sahara?

Human Rights Film Festival

Where is Western Sahara?

It has a wall separating the indigenous population from the occupying citizens. But it is not Palestine.

It has significant natural resources that are being sold off to the highest bidder and the profits are not going to the people that need it most. But it is not Iraq.

It is Western Sahara, a country on the coast of North Africa bordering Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. When Spain pulled out of it’s colony in 1975 Morocco declared it an unoccupied country and moved in despite the Sahrawis who have been living a nomadic life in the territory for centuries.

30 years later and the Sahrawis are still separated from their homeland and the families who stayed behind during the occupation, forced to live in refugee camps divided by a wall that spans the length of the country.

On Thursday Western Sahara became news because of the announcement that a New Zealand company, Sealord, is involved in the exploitation of resources from this region by importing fish from Moroccan companies operating in this occupied country.

The UN has recognised that resources from a disputed territory may be legitimately taken if the value of the resource is declared, made known and the benefits of these resources goes back to the people of the disputed country.

The Directors of the Human Rights Film Festival would like to invite the shareholders, customers, and Board of Sealord and Ravensdown (phosphate is imported from Western Sahara too), to the film Western Sahara – Africa’s Last Colony, to see for themselves if the profits of phosphate and fish sales are benefiting the Western Sahrawis.

Western Sahara - Africa’s Last Colony
USA 2007 • Director: JoMarie Fecci & Shantha Bloemen • 57 minutes • English/Arabic/Sahawri with English Subtitles

The Saga of Western Sahara is told through the experiences of Sahrawis living in refugee camps in Southern Algeria for 30 years. From the beginning of their liberation struggle in the 1970s to the unending wait for a promised UN-sponsored referendum, they have remained true to their aspirations and committed to an independent homeland despite international indifference to their cause. Meanwhile, Morocco, a former French colony and strong American ally, has been rewarded for its aggression and occupation of the Sahrawis’ desert homeland.

Western Sahara, Africa’s Last Colony illustrates the continuing legacy of colonialism as other peoples’ struggles for freedom and self-determination are misinterpreted by our own preoccupations – be it in the context of the cold war through the 1980s or the war against terror today – compromising our principles and crippling organisations, like the United Nations, that seek to create a more just world order.

Screening times below:

Wellington | Paramount Theatre | www.paramount.co.nz
Monday 12 May, 6.30pm Wednesday 14 May, 6.00pm
Auckland | Newmarket Rialto | www.rialto.co.nz
Monday 19 May, 8.00pm Wednesday 21 May, 6.00pm
Christchurch | Regent Theatre | www.hoyts.co.nz
Monday 26 May, 8.00pm Wednesday 28 May, 6.00pm
Dunedin | Rialto | www.rialto.co.nz
Monday 2 June, 8.00pm Wednesday 4 June, 6.00pm

For more information check out www.humanrightsfilmfest.net.nz

LUMIERE FILM REVIEW: http://lumiere.net.nz/reader/item/1674


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