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Western Sahara

The government of Morocco will go a long way to prevent Westerners hearing criticism of its policies in Western Sahara, which it has illegally occupied since 1975.

The government reportedly forced the Arab World Institute (AWI) in Paris to cancel a concert by Saharawi singer Aziza Brahim, due to sing on 10 March as part of an ‘Arabofolies’ festival dedicated to women and resistance.

According to RFI, the French equivalent to the BBC World Service radio station, Moroccan diplomats put pressure on AWI sponsors – who threatened to pull out unless the concert was cancelled.

The AWI is funded mainly by the French government, but also receives support from Arab League states – most recently from Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, according to the AWI website.

Aziza Brahim, who was born and raised in Saharawi refugee camps, has performed at major venues around the world, including at Womad.

l In a major blow to Saharawis, the European parliament voted on 12 February to adopt a fisheries agreement with Morocco that allows EU boats to exploit Saharawi waters.

This was despite a February 2018 ruling by the European court of justice that this would be illegal without the consent of the Saharawi people.

Topics: Western Sahara