The homepages of the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara, launched this week, will contain the latest news about the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, and the struggle against the occupation in Norway, in Western Sahara and internationally. The pages are at the moment only launched in Norwegian and English, but French and Spanish versions are on their way.
News about the Western Sahara conflict have always been strongly sensured in Moroccan press. Moroccan editiorial boards and journalists who have written about Western Sahara, or who have reproduced foreign Western Sahara articles, have been punished with imprisonments, huge fines and prohibitions against writing.
Since 2005, the censorship has furthermore been targeted against foreign webpages. Among others, the webpages of several of the Support Committee's sister organisations in Europe and the USA hae been closed down for users in Western Sahara and Morocco. So has also pages such as www.blogspot.com and www.anonymizer.com, because they have been used to curcumvent the Moroccan internet and press censorship. This censorship has repeatedly been condemned by Reporters Without Borders. See for instance www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=15809.
It is therefore little probable that the Norwegian Support Committee's new homepages will be used by Sahrawi human rights activists living in occupied Western Sahara. if the Moroccan Ministry of Interior also closes the local access to www.vest-sahara.no, the Support Committee will have to look for new and creative ways to circumvent the censorship.
Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.
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