Republic Arab Saharawi Democratic
© Robert Griffin

Young Senia has spoken before delegates of the UN Special Political and Decolonization Committee and met with politicians and NGOs in the UK, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Here she explains parallels between the Sahrawi tea ritual and the people’s quest for freedom.

Saharawis in Algerian refugee camps and in Morocco-occupied Western Sahara are watching the revolution wave in North Africa with jubilation and unease. Mass protests in Algeria have been announced - Algeria being the main ally of Saharawis fighting for their independence and the host for around 150,000 Saharawi refugees. For next weekend, marches are announced in Morocco - their occupying power.

The Royal Advisory Council for Human Rights (CCDH) of Morocco in a unique report confirms the killing of 352 'disappeared' Saharawis from 1958 to 1992. Out of these, over 200 died in military bases and secret detention centres, including children.

Almost four weeks have already passed since the six of the seven Saharawi human right activists, held at the Moroccan prison of Sale, began their open hunger strike. Their were arrested and detained, on 8 October 2010, on their return from a family visit to the Saharawi refugees camps in south West of Algeria. The Moroccan government intends to bring them before a military court on account of that trip.

The United Nations refugee chief has appealed to Spain and Morocco to consider any measure to pave the way for the movement of a Saharawi activist who started a hunger strike last month and whose condition is rapidly deteriorating.