Parliamentary Friends of Western Sahara



30th August 2000



Africa's last colony still waiting for justice


Today the people of East Timor celebrated the first anniversary of the popular consultation which resulted in their independence. However the UN has so far failed to deliver a similar outcome for the people of the last Colony in Africa, Western Sahara.

At the inaugural meeting of the Parliamentary Friends of Western Sahara, the newly elected Chair, Senator Sue West, commented on the broad and multi partisan support amongst parliamentarians for the rights of the Saharawis.

"The UN has now been in Western Sahara for ten years and spent over USD 550 million. Yet the Saharawis are still waiting for a referendum of self-determination. How long should they have to wait?
"The International community must put pressure on Morocco to stop their delaying tactics," Senator West said.

The Deputy Chair, Senator Lyn Allison, spoke about her recent visit to the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria.

"I was moved by the refugee's determination and impressed with their patience.
"Everybody knew about the role Australia and the International Community played during the referendum process in East Timor. They wanted to know when the International Community would take a similar action in Western Sahara," Senator Allison said.

Morocco has occupied Western Sahara since 1975. The United Nations has had authority to organise a referendum since 1991. Morocco has consistently obstructed the process.

The Parliamentary Friends of Western Sahara has been established to:

For comment contact:
Senator Sue West 02 6277 3744
Senator Lyn Allison 02 6277 3076

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