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Saharawi Human rights defender to visit Australia

Saharawi Human rights defender to visit Australia


Saharawi woman speaks out on human rights in the Occupied Territory of Western Sahara

Aicha Dahane, International Officer for Forum Future for Saharawi Women, and human rights defender, has begun a three week tour of Australia to raise awareness about the occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco and the illegal exploitation of its natural resources.

Aicha sought political asylum in the UK in 2002 due to intimidation and prosecution by the Morocco. Aicha is in daily contact with her family living in occupied Western Sahara - Africa's last colony, where the Saharawi continue to strive for self-determination. In 2010 Saharawi protests for democracy, respect for basic human rights and greater economic opportunity for the territory marked the start of the wider political uprising in North
Africa, ahead of Tunisia and Egypt.

'This is the first time a woman from occupied Western Sahara has visited Australia with first hand views of life under occupation' said Lyn Allison, Australia Western Sahara Association President. 'We are keenly interested in Aicha's experiences and her views on the role of women in activism and protest in Western Sahara.'

On Friday 13 May, Aicha will be part of an expert panel on North African and Middle East politics, analysing recent events, and their implications for the movement for self determination in Western Sahara.

North Africa protests: crises but no road map will be chaired by Hon John Dowd AO. Other panellists are Gennaro Gervasio: Centre for Middle East and North African Studies, Macquarie University, and Tara Povey: Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Sydney University.

Aicha has been invited to Australia by the Australia Western Sahara Association with the support of Apheda Union Aid Abroad and unions in New South Wales, Victoria and WA. She will be in Sydney from 12 to 18 May.

Full tour program attached or go to AWSA website:

Monash University

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law

"Western Sahara: Living Dangerously Under MoroccanOccupation"

Aicha Dahane, International Officer of the Forum for the Future for Saharawi Women (Western Sahara)

With commentary by Dr Benjamin MacQueen, Deputy Director of the Global Terrorism Research Centre at

Monash University

Date: Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Time: 6 pm to 7.15pm

Venue: Monash University Law Chambers,

472 Bourke Street, Melbourne

More information:

Public Lecture - All Welcome

Aicha Dahane: Sydney 12 - 18 May 2011

Human rights activist and International Officer for Forum Future for Saharawi Women

The Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA) has invited human rights activist from Western Sahara, Aicha Dahane, to visit Australia.

In her role as a human rights defender for Western Sahara while a law student in Rabat, and because of the involvement of her brother, Brahim Dahane, president of the ASVDH (Saharawi Association for Victims of Human Rights Violations by the Moroccan state) in political activism, Aicha was subject to serious pressure, intimidation and harassment by the Moroccan regime. As a result she sought political asylum in the UK in 2002. Aicha is in daily contact with her family living in occupied Western Sahara, a life she knows well and which she shared for 28 years.

Behind the wall of silence: Human Rights in the Occupied Territory of Western Sahara Sydney, 12 - 18 May 2011


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