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27 Oct: Western Sahara conference in Bergen

Big names arriving Bergen: A former UN top official, a former Rafto Award Laureate, important academics. Come to Western Sahara conference 27 October! Conference language: English.
Published: 23.10 - 2011 22:00Printer version    
Won't you make a day-time conference?
At 7 PM, the same evening, 27 October, there will be film screening and debate at Storelogen, Kvarteret, Bergen.
The film, 'El Problema' (2010) was secretely filmed in occupied Western Sahara over a four year period. After the film, we'll have a debate with former Rafto Laureate Sidi Mohamed Daddach.
Organised by SAIH Bergen and the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara.
The film and the conference is part of the International Week in Bergen.
Western Sahara; when international law meets realpolitik.

Western Sahara is the last remaining colony of Africa. As of autumn of 2011, 20 years have passed since the UN operation MINURSO arrived in occupied Western Sahara. The operation has as a mandate to organise a referendum on the territory’s independence. Although the Saharawis have international law on their side, the referendum has not yet taken place. Where did international law go? Are the people of Western Sahara victims of the superpowers placing their own interest before the law?

Place: Bergen, Auditorium, Dragefjellet, DR:A2
Time: Thursday 27 October 2011, 10:00-13:30

* Italian Francesco Bastagli was UN secretary-general Kofi Annan's right hand until he resigned in protest in 2006. As Special Representative he was chief of the UN force that had the referendum on independence as its mission.
* Human rights activist Sidi Mohamed Daddach arrives directly from occupied Western Sahara. He is former laureate of the Rafto Award and has spent near half his life in Moroccan jails.
* Expert in international law, Dr. Jur and Associate professor at Diakonhjemmet University College, Hans Morten Haugen.
* Jennifer M. Murphy, who recently completed her PhD in peace studies at James 1 University, Spain. Murphy has a speciality on the realpolitik in the Western Sahara issue.
* Arne Øi, leader of UN Association, section Western Norway.

Free lunch if you register on prior to 26 Oct at 12:00. The conference is free.

Organised by: The UN Association, The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara, SAIH Bergen
Conference language: English. / /


10:00-10:10 Registration

10:15-10:35 Opening
By Mr Arne Øi, regional head of office of UN Association – Western Branch

“The United Nations and Western Sahara – a broken promise”, by Francesco Bastagli, Former Special Representative and chief of the UN operation in Western Sahara.

11:00 – 11:20
”Western Sahara – Right to Statehood”, by Hans Morten Haugen  
PhD, Associate professor at Diakonhjemmet University College, Oslo.

11:20 – 11:45
“How to Prolong Conflict: The Role of US, France and the EU in Western Sahara”, by Jennifer Murphy, PhD, James I University, Spain, with specialisation in the realpolitik of the Western Sahara conflict.

11:45-12:10 Short lunch break
(free – under condition of prior registration at before 26 October 12.00)

“The fire” by Asria Mohamed, a refugee from Western Sahara working with Doctors without borders in Bergen. Asria Mohamed reads from her new book "Between the strong sand and white snow lives my hope for a free Sahara".

“Human Rights in the Occupied Territories”, by Sidi Mohammed Daddach, human rights activist and former laureate of the Rafto Award, 2002.

Panel discussion: What are the consequences if law is not followed?

13:30 END




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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