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17 dez 2009 / 16:27

Motion of support signed by 34 British MP's delivered to hunger-striking human rights activist

Today, a delegation will arrive in Lanzarote from London to deliver letters of support to Nobel Peace prize nominee, Aminatou Haidar, who has been on hunger strike in the airport terminal there for 32 days. The delegation that includes British-born Home and Away actress, Nicola Quilter, will hand Ms Haidar a letter of support from Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition and a motion that has been tabled in the British parliament and signed by over 34 Members of Parliament. Ms Haidar is protesting against her deportation from her native Western Sahara by Moroccan authorities after she refused to acknowledge Moroccan sovereignty over her country that has been unlawfully occupied for over 34 years.

The letter from woman's coaltion which includes organisations such as Amnesty International and SOS Torture Network, expresses solidarity with Ms Haidar's brave and principled stand and admiration for the action she has taken to try end the injustice suffered by her people. It reads:

"We are aware of the courage and determination you have always shown in your many years of work on behalf of Sahrawi prisoners of conscience and political prisoners. We are also conscious of the many trials you have experienced in the course of your work. We can only imagine how painful your separation from your family - particularly your children - must be. As mothers, sisters and daughters ourselves, tonight we will hold our family members that little bit closer, aware of the price you are paying for your cause"

The parliamentary motion signed by 34 British MPs states that "this House condemns the escalating wave of human rights violations against Saharawi human rights activists...and is dismayed over the expulsion of prominent Saharawi human rights activist and winner of the 2009 Civil Courage Award Aminatou Haider from Western Sahara."

One delegate Danielle Smith, founder of the charity Sandblast said today:
"I had the privilege to host Aminatou Haidar in my home during her first visit to the UK in 2007. She is a remarkable woman with an extraordinary vision and strength of convictions. Her dignity and gentility were an inspiration to me. I cannot bear the idea of this mother of two dying due to the cruel indifference and hypocrisy of the international community and its unwillingness to apply real pressure on Morocco to respect human rights. The world cannot afford to lose people like her for she is ultimately standing up for the rights of all."

Another delegate, Giles Foreman, founder of London's Caravanserai Acting Studio which recently took 22 young British actors to the Saharawi refugee camps, said today:
"We are here to demonstrate British solidarity with Aminatou's struggle. A struggle in which she is a representative of an entire people whose rights under international law have been totally disregarded. To allow her to die would deal a devastating blow to justice and it could destabilise an entire region."

Nicola Quilter who played Donna Bishop in Home and Away in the mid 1990's said today
"The inaction of the international community is a disgrace and condones Morocco's non-compliance with UN mandates to provide a referendum for the Saharwi's right to self-determination. Britain, as a leading member of the security council, should be applying pressure on Morocco. Haidar should be allowed to go home without having to sign papers declaring she is Moroccan, which she clearly is not. This is not just a matter of principle, this is a 35 year struggle for the right to self determination by a small nation. In years to come may we not look back and say we sat on the sidelines and watched this woman die and with her a country's hope."

The delegation will arrive from London in Lanzarote at lunchtime on 17thDecember and will hold a PRESS CONFERENCE in the airport terminal at 1pm. ·
Contact members of the delegation and Ms Haidar - 0034 676634163

Contact Free Western Sahara Network press office - 0044 7799650791

MP's who signed the Motion (EDM 299)

Evans, Nigel / Williams, Mark / Bottomley, Peter / Corbyn, Jeremy / Hancock, Mike / Russell, Bob / Durkan, Mark / George, Andrew / Pound, Stephen / Hoyle, Lindsay / Jones, Lynne / Lepper, David / Campbell, Ronnie / Dismore, Andrew / Taylor, David / Williams, Stephen / Pugh, John Caton, Martin / Wyatt, Derek / Hemming, John / Singh, Marsha / Gerrard, Neil / Wareing, Robert / Breed, Colin / Hopkins, Kelvin / McDonnell, John / Flynn, Paul / Kramer, Susan / Leech, John /Jenkins, Brian / Vis, Rudi / Palmer, Nick / Drew, David

Sandblast is an arts and human rights charity that aims to support the refugees living in the Algerian Sahara. Visit

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition brings together human rights organisations with those focusing on women's and sexual rights, to work for the increased recognition of women human rights defenders.

For more information about the campaign visit the Free Western Sahara Network

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