Nationwide student campaign for Western Sahara launched

Posted: 27/02/2011 by Eddie Unity in Africa, Local Actions - Education, World News

A new student solidarity campaign calling for self-determination for Western Sahara – unlawfully occupied for over 35 years – will be launched today in London endorsed by students from across the country and by Jeremy Corbyn MP

A new national student campaign initiative will be launched today at a meeting in central London. Students for a Free Western Sahara will start as a UK wide network which hopes to establish groups in schools and universities across the country. It also has ambitions to link with student groups internationally.

Representatives from several British universities will meet to elect the first President and Committee. It is hoped that branch groups will be set up in universities across the country, holding regular meetings and awareness raising actions. Each branch will propose a motion for their university students union offering solidarity with the Saharawi struggle.

The launch of the network, timed to coincide with the 35th anniversary of the declaration of an independent Western Sahara, will also tie in with a number of other campaigns on the EU fisheries agreement, the extension of the UN peacekeeping monitoring mandate and the ‘Sun, Sea, Sand and Torture’ tourism and economic boycott campaign.

Konstantina Isidoros, PhD student at Oxford University said:
“Western Sahara has been under an unlawful occupation for 35 years. The launch of Students for a Free Western Sahara is a fantastic opportunity for students across the UK to learn more about one of the hottest geopolitical conflicts in the world, and to send a message back to our fellow Sahrawi students in Morocco’s illegally Occupied Territories and the Liberated Zone refugee camps that we stand together against Morocco’s territorial and human rights violations.”

Bendik Elstad, a first year student at LSE said today:
“Many students in Britain don’t even know about the injustices suffered by the Saharawi people in Western Sahara. We aim to raise awareness of Morocco’s ongoing violation of UN Resolutions, the illegal plundering of Western Sahara’s natural resources and human rights abuses being committed daily. Recent events in North Africa show that change is possible and that students are the ones leading the struggle. Students for a Free Western Sahara will show solidarity with Western Sahara and help to free Africa’s last colony.”

Jeremy Corbyn MP, said today;

“I welcome this new initiative and am confident that these students will give new energy to what is becoming an ever more powerful movement for change in Western Sahara. History has shown that the politicians and the powerful cannot be relied on to do the right thing and it is up to the people – often lead by students – to make a principled stand for justice. Our leaders must increase the pressure on the UN Security Council to ensure that the people of Western Sahara are allowed a free choice on their own future.”

The network will work under the following mission statement:

In solidarity with all Saharawi students, the network Students for a free Western Sahara works to raise awareness about the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara at British schools and universities.

We support the Saharawi and Moroccan students fighting the illegal occupation through a peaceful intifada and the young Saharawis living in refugee camps, deprived of their right to an education in their own country.

Students and student groups at any school or university can join the network if they want to work:

– To promote education without harassment for all Saharawi students.
– To stop the oppression of the Saharawi people in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.
– To realize the Saharawi people’s right to a referendum on self-determination.
– To end the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, which is unlawful under international law.

Launch Meeting: 6.30 – 8.30pm – 44-48 Shepherdess Walk, N1 7JP


UK Universities represented at the meeting:

London School of Economics
Oxford University
Cambridge University
Imperial College London
Kings College London
Leeds Metropolitan University
Sussex University
School of Oriental and Asian Studies
University of Brighton
University College London
Open University
Queen Mary’s London


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