Interview with Western Sahara advocate Tecber Ahmed Saleh

Tecber Ahmed Saleh is a prominent Western Sahara human rights advocate who was born in a refugee camp in Algeria where her family has lived for more than 40 years. She is currently touring Australia, hosted by the Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA).

She is interviewed by Green Left's Tony Iltis. Video by Zebedee Parkes.

Tecber was born in a refugee camp in Algeria where her family has lived for more than 40 years. They fled there when Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975. Tecber has studied in the USA and Spain.

“This will be the first time a young Saharawi leader from the Saharawi refugee camps has visited Australia” said Lesley Osborne, Secretary of the Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA), which is hosting Tecber’s visit.

Tecber will speak about the long wait for the promised United Nations referendum, life in the camps, the exploitation of her country's natural resources and about the human rights abuses suffered by Saharawi people living in the territory occupied by Morocco. “This is a longstanding de-colonisation issue. It is crucial for the stability of the North African region that it is settled,” said Osborne.

Western Sahara is sometimes described as "the East Timor of Africa" due to the parallels between the two. When Spain abandoned its former colony in 1975, Morocco invaded the territory.

Western Sahara is strategically positioned to impact on the Maghreb region of northern Africa as well as southern Europe. The territory is also important due to its abundance of natural resources, particularly fisheries and phosphates, which have been imported by Australian companies.

White House National Security Advisor John Bolton is putting pressure on the UN, Morocco and Polisario to resolve the Western Sahara conflict. The UN mission in the territory is due for renewal in October and the US is threatening a veto if the UN cannot make progress towards a resolution of one of the longest running conflicts in the world.

Tecber will visit Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra during September.

For a full calendar of tour events, visit: Facebook.

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