9 December 2020

Laila Fakhouri on the situation in the Sahrawi refugee camps

Vlcsnap 2020 12 08 18h40m54s597
Vlcsnap 2020 12 08 18h40m54s597

The ceasefire between Morocco and the Frente Polisario, the political representation of the Sahrawis, lasted almost thirty years. In mid-November, the conflict escalated and now the signs point to war. The young Sahrawi Laila Fakhouri is campaigning for a peaceful solution to the conflict and for the rights of her people. Since March, the human rights activist has been stuck in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria. From there, she reports to Sylvia Valentin of terre des hommes switzerland about the gruelling situation, which is an obstacle to a peaceful solution to the conflict. "forgotten" Western Sahara-conflict.

The conflict in the media 

«I am saddened that the international media is only interested inr us if the situation escalates. The Moroccan media report hardly about the conflict. Dem to whom the Polisario daily from Attacks along several points of the rampartBut there are no pictures or videos of it and the Western media have no access to Conflict area.» 

Laila Fakhouri - where it is, what it does 

«I'm sitting since March 2020 in the refugeeslagern fixedI'm very glad, now to be here. I would be afraid to go back to Morocco right now. Jetzt ins Prison approachablewould be even worse than usual. I I am prepared for thisfor longere time into the Refugee camps to stay. 

Me work from here as translator and is in the Contact with political prisonersincluding a group of studentswho has been in jail for over a year after peaceful protests. You're telling me that you...e recently even more restricted sind than usual. For example, you may still less frequently by which Outside world on the phone and if so, then for less and less Time. I do not believe that Morocco is voluntarily releasing political prisoners. 

I work into aer Group with, the against fake news uses. Morocco has Humodified by trolls in usewho spread false information. We feel the Fake News on, comment on on Facebook and Twitter and spread our Corrections in the social networks.» 

The mood and the Themen 

«The subject Covid-19 and Corona is no longer important into the Refugeestore. Right now, it's all about Warhe's the one who's always and everywhere priority Subject. There is Men from the refugee campswho a militarys Training do. 

The situation in occupied territory is bad: Phone calls are listened to and Houses are being stormed. Dhe Moroccan police are everywhere, outside my mother's house in Morocco steht also around the clock a policeman. 

The current situation has made it even more difficult to detect vom Refugeestock from with family and friends* in the occupied territory can have contactThe is of course all not newonly has become the situation jetzt again tapered.» 

As the young Sahrauis hegoes 

«What do you want me to do those of us say that go to war or intend to do so? I see, that the People be fed upeverything stands still and nothing moves forward. The boys are fed up withthat her people forgotten and their country, the Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa is. 

The situation of children, adolescents and young adults in the refugeesstore is gruelling. Initiatives like the youth project from terre of hommes switzerland in the refugee camp Smara are extremely important to them. You have to think of it like that: The young generation in the refugee camps is condemned to do nothingt and waits iin no man's land from. That kills any positive energy. Not .s do and do not Being able to work means losing perspective and feeling useless. Young people need goals! Young people who work in Youth Pprojects participate, get up motivated in the morningdo something and are so much less susceptibleto arms to grab.» 

More protection as a recognised human rights activist? 

«Some people think that nothing can happen to me now because the Human Rights Award 2019 of the city of Weimar and I am known. I'm not so sure. Morocco does not think much of human rights. Aminatou Haidar, winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize, has just been prevented from leaving for Spain. 

The awardnun with a human rights award also means more responsibility for me. Before I was simply a volunteer activist. Now I get a great many Tofprotrude and newsThereby heI'm driving also beautiful: When I once I was recognized by a woman and her two girls. She saidshe wishes that her daughters would one day be like me would. 

When I attend meetings with activist*inside and Sahrauis it is often only about experiences of violence, schlimme things and problems. Then I tell them about myn Tripn to Germany, to Switzerland and to Sweden. Me show them pictures with politicians with whom I talked and saynot everyone would I forgot. It's important to see: It there is also positive developments, which, despite everything, give reason for hope.» 

What Switzerland do kann 

«Switzerland should call on the UN to make. Nobody wants WarNobody wants things to be the same for people as they were in Syria or in Libyen. Switzerland can exert peaceful pressure and contributethat the Sahrauis in the occupied territories are protected. It should also demand that politicallye prisoners can be visited.» 

Recording Sylvia Valentin; Cooperation Anna Wegelin

More about Laila Fakhouri and the situation in Western Sahara

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