A delegation from the Rafto Fundation for Human Rights is now being escorted out of the Western Sahara capital city El Aaiun by Moroccan police. The group entered the occupied territories yesterday, and discussed the Norwegian seismic company SeaBird with local human rights activists.
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A delegation from the Rafto Foundation was to follow up on former Rafto laureate, Sidi Mohamed Daddach, during a visit to Western Sahara.
The delegation, consisting of Kristina Vågen Fiskum and Bjørnar Østerhus Dahle, are now being escorted out of Western Sahara by car.
“We were awoken by civilian Moroccan police at 08:50 AM European time this morning. They refused to identify themselves”, they explained in a telephone call to the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara.
They explain how the police confiscated their passports, and returned them at a border control on the outskirts of the city.
“We protested, but were met with head shaking and negative answers. When we protested further, we were met with aggressive French, and it ended with me being physically pushed into the taxi”, Dahle explains over the phone from Western Sahara.
"Totally unacceptable", the acting executive director of the Rafto Foundation told in a release.
The group arrived in Western Sahara yesterday afternoon.
During their stay, they met with representatives from the Rafto Award laureate Daddach's human rights organisation CODAPSO. They discussed the violations in the territory, and the engagement of the Norwegian seismic company SeaBird, which is doing a seismic survey outside the coast of Western Sahara in cooperation with the Moroccan government, in violation with international law. SeaBird's activities have been referred to in in Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet for the past two days.
Daddach was awarded with the Rafto Prize for Human Rights in 2002, after having spent 24 years in Moroccan jails.
This is the fifth Norwegian delegation to evicted of Western Sahara this year. Read about the former 4 delegations here. Chair of the Rafto Foundation, Arne Lynngård, was evicted from Western Sahara in 2005.
As a consequence of the increased global food prices, a nutrition crisis is already developing among Saharawi children in Algeria.
A group of Saharawi political prisoners today filed a legal complaint against Morocco in to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
The Saharawi student activist Mohammed Layichi has been on hunger strike for almost a month.
A group of friends for Western Sahara consisting of representatives from all nine political parties was established today in the Norwegian parliament