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The Saharawi refugee camps: Death and stagnation in no-man's land


Fatima Mahfud is Deputy Representative of the Polisario Front in Italy and member of the National Union of Saharawi Women. She has been a refugee since she was 9 years as a result of the Moroccan invasion and occupation of her homeland in 1975. After studying Psychology at the Central University of Santa Clara in Cuba, she joined the diplomatic front of the Polisario, the Saharawi liberation movement. She has been Saharawi representative in Switzerland and Italy and member of the Referendum Commission that, under UN mandate, is trying to organise a referendum in the Western Sahara. She is also an active member of the National Union of Saharawi Women and has visited numerous countries in educational tours aimed at bringing international attention to the Western Sahara conflict.

Saharawi Refugee Camps: dead and stagnation in no-man's land

The Western Sahara is the last African colony. It was occupied in 1975 by Morocco, despite the protests of the UN and the resistance of the independence Saharawi movement, the Polisario Front. The war lasted until 1991, when the UN brokered a peace agreement and deployed a peace force. But Morocco has blocked since then the main element of the peace plan: the self-determination referendum that will decide the future of the territory. The peace process seems now stagnated and hopes for a peaceful solution are evaporating quickly. Meanwhile, the Saharawi people continue divided by a military wall constructed by Morocco during the 1980's. Rabat controls the western part of the wall, three quarters of the Western Sahara approximately. The rest is administered by the Polisario, which also runs the refugee camps in neighbour Algeria where 175,000 Saharawis survive since the 70's. In this lecture, the Saharawi diplomat Fatima Mahfud will introduce the history of the conflict and its future perspectives, focussing on the construction of a Saharawi exiled state based in the refugee camps. A democratic state where there are no salaries, each refugee has a vote and women are equal to men. A state born out of hope in no man's land.

Unless otherwise noted, lectures start at 5.30, last one hour and take place in the Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, which sits directly across the road from Haymarket Metro Station. All lectures are free and the public are encouraged to attend. In the event of an over-capacity audience we provide audio-relay to a second lecture theatre.


Ms Fatimetou Mahfud Sidi Allal | talks | www


Date and Time:

4 February 2005 at 5:30 pm


1 hour



Insights - Lectures for the Public
The University of Newcastle
Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building
Newcastle upon Tyne
0191 222 6136

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Additional Information:

The venue, Newcastle University, Curtis Auditorium is in the Herschel Building, opposite Haymarket Metro station, Newcastle upon Tyne.

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