AUCKLAND: Western Sahara: Decolonisation and the Role of New Zealand
Thursday, 17 October 2019 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Lecture Theatre, Old Government House, Princes Street, University of Auckland

SPEAKER: Kamal Fader Esq

The unfinished decolonisation of Western Sahara requires a consideration of the legal, political, economic, and historical aspects of its status as a non-self-governing territory.

In times of occupation or decolonisation, the control of natural resources is a critical factor in the allocation of wealth and the assertion of political control.   The role of New Zealand companies in the Western Sahara merits discussion.

In 1975 the International Court of Justice held that Western Sahara was not terra nullius (i.e. was not uninhabited)prior to colonisation by Spain.  The Court affirmed that the indigenous Saharawi people’s inalienable right to self-determination and independence endures.

Following the Court’s decision, Morocco invaded the Territory.   Thousands of Saharawis fled the occupation, setting up refugee camps in south-west Algeria. Today 173,600 remain in the refugee camps, where they are supported by the UN Food Program and other humanitarian aid.   The Saharawis who remained in their homeland face constant persecution at the hands of Moroccan occupying forces.

The Saharawis continue their nonviolent struggle, awaiting the United Nations referendum on self-determination that was agreed in 1991.