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Rally against Morocco’s human rights abuses in W Sahara

8 February 2011

Rally against Morocco’s human rights abuses in Western Sahara

Venue: Moroccan Embassy- Canberra, 17 Terrigal Crescent - O'Malley
Date: Wednesday 9 February 2011
Time: 12.30 to 1.30pm

Australian Unions for Western Sahara and the Australia Western Sahara Association will rally outside of the Moroccan Embassy in Canberra on 9 February to protest at atrocities committed against the people of Western Sahara during the past 35 years of occupation and exile.

‘As in other authoritarian regimes in North Africa and the Middle East, freedoms that we take for granted in Australia, to protest peacefully, to campaign to improve our working conditions, simply to speak out about cruel or unfair treatment of human rights activists – these rights cannot be exercised by the people of Western Sahara’, said Dr Meredith Burgmann, former President NSW Upper House. ‘The Saharawi are marginalised in their own country, with little prospect of improvement in their social and economic conditions, while the Moroccan authorities plunder the resources of Western Sahara, the country they illegally annexed 35 years ago’.

Unions for Western Sahara and AWSA also deplore the failure of the UN to hold a long-awaited referendum for self-determination and to monitor human rights in Western Sahara, and the silence of many governments towards abuses committed in Western Sahara.

ALP and Greens members of Parliament will address the rally. Letters from the protestors will be delivered to the Moroccan Ambassador, urging Morocco to:
• respect Saharawi workers’ rights and entitlements
• immediately and unconditionally release all Saharawi political detainees and account for the disappeared, and
• allow the prompt holding of a referendum of self-determination

‘We will continue to support the people of Western Sahara in their struggle for justice’ said Dr Burgmann, ‘We believe that protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms around the world is the way to strengthen international peace and security and global prosperity’.

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