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Video workshop and film festival in the Sahara desert

Over a dozen human right defenders and video activists from the Western Sahara are participating in a video workshop offered by trainers from Witness and other organizations ahead of the 11th edition of the Western Sahara International Film Festival (FiSahara), which takes place April 29-May 4 in the Sahrawi refugee camps in a remote corner of Southwestern Algeria, deep in the Sahara Desert.FiSahara, member of the Human Rights Film Network, is an annual human rights film and cultural festival that uses film and media to empower and entertain refugees from the Western Sahara, a territory occupied by Morocco since 1975; its activities also help raise international awareness about the plight of the Sahrawi people. Tens of thousands of Sahrawis fled the invasion in 1975 and settled in refugee camps near the Algerian town of Tindouf, where they remain to this day. Sahrawis who did not flee remain under Moroccan occupation, among them the group that has traveled to the camps to participate in this edition of FiSahara.The workshop takes place as the United Nations Security Council readies a vote this month on its peacekeeping force in the Western Sahara, known as MINURSO. Human rights organizations and Sahrawi activists are asking for the UN to include human rights monitoring as part of MINURSO’s mandate, arguing that it is the only modern UN peacekeeping mission in the world without a human rights component. Thousands of Sahrawis have taken to the streets these days calling for this change, and demonstrations are being met with force from the Moroccan security forces. Several delegations of Spanish human rights observers were expelled this week from the territory.Sahrawis from the occupied Western Sahara will work alongside film students and refugee organizations at FiSahara’s audiovisual school, located in the Bojador refugee camp. This collaborative workshop will help build strategic alliances in media and film between Sahrawis from both sides of the Morocco-built separation wall, as well as with Moroccan filmmakers who will participate in the trainings.For more information, read the article:

Over a dozen human right defenders and video activists from the Western Sahara participate in a video workshop and film festival deep in the Sahara Desert.