Western Sahara - Africa's last colony - the legal, political and human aspects of the conflict

25 September 2019



Western Sahara - Africa's last colony - the legal, political and human aspects of the conflict

Kamal Fadel, Representative of the Frent Polisario
Tecber Ahmed Saleh, advocate for human rights

In 1975 Morocco invaded Western Sahara when Spain abandoned its former colony. Saharawis fled the occupation, setting up refugee camps in south-west Algeria. Today 173,600 remain in the refugee camps supported by the UN Food Program and other humanitarian aid while the Saharawis who remained in their homeland face constant persecution, arrest and imprisonment at the hands of Moroccan occupying forces. In 1975 the International Court of Justice found that Western Sahara was not terra nullius prior to its colonisation by Spain. The court reaffirmed that the people of Western Sahara are entitled to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence. Today the Saharawi continue their nonviolent struggle, waiting for the United Nations referendum on self-determination agreed in 1991.

The seminar explores the unfinished decolonisation, by considering the legal, political and historical aspects of Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory, which raise questions about the international right to self-determination and the enduring legacies of colonialism and occupation.

About the speakers

Kamal Fadel

Mr Kamal Fadel is Representative of the Frente Polisario (Western Sahara) in Australia and New Zealand. Mr Fadel served as Ambassador of the Saharawi Republic in Timor Leste and in the Saharawi Embassies in India and Iran, as well as the Deputy Representative in the Polisario Mission to the United Kingdom. He is also a senior executive in the Saharawi Republic Petroleum and Mines Authority.

Mr Fadel holds a Master of International Relations from the University of Canterbury in the United Kingdom. He holds a Post-Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the College of Law in Sydney and is admitted as a lawyer in Australia.

Tecber Ahmed Saleh

Tecber Ahmed Saleh is an advocate for human rights and has written and spoken abroad about the plight of her people. Tecber lives in the Saharawi refugee camps in south-west Algeria and is visiting Australia to talk about Western Sahara, Africa's last colony. She will speak about the conditions of life in the camps and the larger political issues facing Western Sahara.

Tecber works in the Ministry of Health in the Saharawi refugee camps where she was born. She studied Biology in the USA and holds a Master's degree in Clinical Laboratory Science from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. She has attended medical research conferences and coauthored research in the professional journal Toxics.

CPD Points: 1

This event is sponsored by the Sydney Centre for International Law at Sydney Law School.


Time: Registration is closed

Location: Registration is closed

Cost: Complimentary, however registration is essential.

Contact: Professional Learning & Community Engagement

Phone: 02 9351 0429

Email: 342f0f762e1531022c01111013561702105c3115326c2f30