Press Release, 25.04.06

Important visit from Western Sahara to Sweden

Today Aminatou Haidar arrives to Stockholm, Sweden, for a full week's visit. She is a leading representative of the Sahrawis living under harsh Moroccan oppression, who still dare to fight for international law and human rights. Meanwhile, the United Nations and the European Union are about to negotiate away Western Sahara's right to self-determination and independence.

Aminatou Haidar is 40 years old, born and raised in the occupied capital El-Aaiun, a single mother of two, and a researcher of literature. She has twice spent time in Moroccan jails for her efforts in a peaceful struggle for freedom. After the last period behind bars, her health has deteriorated, but she will not back down from the struggle for her people's freedom and human rights. During this last year Amnesty International and others have campaigned for Aminatou's release.

Aminatou is invited by Amnesty International in Sweden, the United Nations Association, the Committee for Western Sahara's Women, and the Swedish Western Sahara Committee. In this way, we want to contribute to making the international community pay increased attention to a people forced to pursue a just liberation struggle outside the media spotlight.

At this moment, the Western Sahara conflict is an especially burning question for both the UN and the EU. In a report to the Security Council, Kofi Annan writes that the UN can no longer find a solution based on international law, since Morocco refuses all proposals that could lead to independence, and since none of the great powers are willing to enforce the UN's decisions. Instead, the Secretary General proposes direct negotiations between Morocco, Polisario and Algeria, where the parties themselves can compromise between international law and practical politics! In the EU's Council of Ministers, Spain, France and Portugal are about to force a fishing agreement with Morocco which gives the EU the "right" to fish in waters belonging to Western Sahara. Sweden has resisted this, but it does not seem to be enough.

We are now on a short notice trying to organize opportunities for Aminatou Haidar to meet leading representatives of the Swedish government, political parties, organizations and the press. After the holiday on May 1, she will return to her occupied country.


Amnesty International: Elisabeth Löfgren,
United Nations Association: Bonian Golmohammadi,
Committee for Western Sahara's Women: Sonja Gardefjord,
Swedish Western Sahara Committee: Jan Strömdahl, +4670-438 88 41,

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PRESSRELEASE 2        2006-04-30

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Aminatou Haidar makes strong impression on Swedes!

The Saharawi human rights activist and former political prisoner Aminatou Haidar has spent five intense days in Stockholm. Out of her own experiences she has asked Swedish Officials and NGO:s to strengthen their efforts to end the brutal Moroccan colonial occupation. She recommend especially observing visits to the occupied territory, stopping the fisheries agreement to include Western Sahara and a recognition of SADR.

Aminatou has been recived by the Swedish UN Association, the City of Stockholm, the Social democratic party, the Social democratic women, the Liberal party and the Left party. She was saluted by the Liberal and Left party leaders. A seminar was organized with different NGO:s and a meeting with the Parliament`s intergroup on conditions for Swedish recognition of SADR.

The Foreign Ministry was interested to know if Saharawis could benefit from fisheries agreement. The answer was clear: NO. The Officials declared that the Swedish position is that EU/Morroccan fishing outside Western Sahara is contrary to International law.

Swedish press has been very interested and interviews are made by Dagen, TT and Svenska Dagbladet.`The TT interview is published in most of the Swedish newspapers. Today Aminatou will meet the Swedish Radio.

Before Aminatou leaves for Madrid to receive the CEAR prize, she will join the Stockholm 1:st of May manifestations. She has really succeeded in shedding the light on the Saharawi dilemma out of a strong and brave personality.

Jan Strömdahl, President of the Swedish Western Sahara Committee, +46704388841

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