[TimorLesteStudies] Crackdown in Western Sahara echoes East Timor

Australia-East Timor Association aetamel at aetamel.org
Sat Jan 29 14:30:36 EST 2011

The following letter was published in The Age newspaper in hard copy and
online on Wednesday November 24, 2010 in the 'Comment & debate' section (in
printed version on p. 16).

There are strong similarities between the struggles of Timor-Leste and
Western Sahara and solidarity links between both peoples.

There is also a demonstration in Canberra on 9th January.
Please feel free to distribute the attached PDF to your

Title: We must step up on Western Sahara
ON NOVEMBER 8, as talks resumed at the UN between Morocco and Polisario
[the Western Saharan independence movement], Moroccan security forces
initiated a brutal attack on 20,000 Saharawis at a peaceful protest camp at
Gdeim Izik, near El-Aaiun, the capital of occupied Western Sahara.
The catastrophe is similar to the Santa Cruz Cemetery massacre of 1991, when
 Indonesian soldiers opened fire on East Timorese students in Dili.
Estimates put the number of Saharawis killed at more than 30, with hundreds
injured and arrested.
Australia has a history of support for human rights and international peace,
 and should condemn the killing of innocent civilians in Western Sahara.
Several Australian companies import phosphate rock that Morocco illegally
extracts from occupied Western Sahara. Australia should stop this trade from
 the occupied territory.
Our government should also join the international protest against the
massacre and oppression of the people of Western Sahara, and call on the UN
 to send a fact-finding mission to the region. The UN mission should also
include human rights monitoring.

Cate Lewis, Australia Western Sahara Association;
Dr Helen Hill, Australia-East Timor Association;
John Dowd, International Commission of Jurists;
Peter Jennings, Union Aid Abroad;
Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth.


For further infomation please see the website:

Posted by:

Australia-East Timor Association (AETA)
PO Box 93
T: 61 3 9416 2960
E: aetamel at aetamel.org

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