Aminatou Haidar Honored For Decades of Peaceful Resistance in Western Sahara, Africa’s Last Colony

Democracy Now!
Dec 5, 2019

In Stockholm, Democracy Now! sat down with one of the winners of this year’s Right Livelihood Award: Sahrawi human rights leader Aminatou Haidar. For over three decades, Haidar has led a peaceful campaign to resist the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, which is often called Africa’s last colony. Morocco has occupied Western Sahara — a small region just south of Morocco in northwest Africa — since 1975. Thousands have been tortured, imprisoned, killed and disappeared while resisting the occupation. Peaceful protesters, led by women, are routinely beaten in the streets.

Despite this violent repression, Haidar has led countless hunger strikes and demonstrations, and unflinchingly documented the abuses against the Saharawi people for more than 30 years. She is a former political prisoner who was jailed for four years in a secret prison. In granting her the award, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation cited her “steadfast nonviolent action, despite imprisonment and torture, in pursuit of justice and self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.” Haidar says it’s time for the international community to push for an end to the Morrocan occupation of Western Sahara. “My message is: Let’s put an end to our suffering. Let’s put an end to this injustice. Let’s give a voice to Sahrawi people, let them choose their future.”

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