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People & Power
Sands of Sahrawi
We look at the Polisario movement's struggle for Sahrawi independence.
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2008 12:18 GMT

Over 200,000 Sahrawis live in four refugee camps in the Sahara desert

People & Power investigates the Polisario movement's struggle for Sahrawi independence in the resource-rich Western Sahara desert territory.

A UN-backed meeting between Morocco and the Polisario has been set for early January, after which the front will decide whether to go back to armed struggle in their fight against Moroccan control.

International peacekeepers have watched over the region since 1991 when the United Nations brokered a ceasefire between the two sides to end a low-level guerrilla war.

The Polisario movement has been fighting for Sahrawi independence ever since Morocco claimed Western Sahara as its own in 1975.

In 1976, its leadership was forced into exile in neighbouring Algeria, along with hundreds of thousands of civilians.

The Polisario governor says the Sahrawi people should decide their own fate

With Polisario still insisting on full independence, but Morocco only agreeing to self-rule, the Sahrawis are losing hope. Their plight is only compounded by the thousands of Moroccan migrants being encouraged to move into the area.

When the Polisario leadership was forced into exile, it won a commitment from the United Nations to hold a referendum in which the Sahrawis would decide their fate.

Decades on, that referendum still has not taken place - and the upcoming round of UN negotiations is not leaving many Sahrawis feeling that this issue will be solved diplomatically.

If the talks fail will it push the Polisario to take up arms again?

Zeina Awad reports from the Algerian side of the Western Sahara. 

End of the Runway

Local residents are worried about the possibility of a new runway

There is a power struggle over the future of the UK's largest airport, Heathrow.

The British government wants to expand it by building a third runway. Its owner BAA wants to boost the airport's profitability.

However, the construction of a new runway means the destruction of three entire villages.

Can a determined grassroots campaign triumph over a government and corporate giant?

The Power of One - On the Edge

Suicide destroys not only the lives of the victims but the loved ones left behind.

In this Power of One, Keith Lane turns the tragedy of his wife's suicide into a force for saving the lives of others.

Watch part one of this episode of People & Power on YouTube

Watch part two of this episode of People & Power on YouTube

This episode of People & Power airs from Sunday 23 December 2007 at the following times GMT:
Sunday: 14:30
Monday: 01:30, 13.30
Tuesday: 06:30, 20.30
Wednesday: 03:00



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