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Latino Daily News

Friday April 19, 2013

Javier Bardem, US Activist Kerry Kennedy Advocating for W. Sahara Human Rights

Javier Bardem, US Activist Kerry Kennedy Advocating for W. Sahara Human Rights

Photo: Javier Bardem, US Activist Kerry Kennedy Advocating for W. Sahara Human Rights

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Spanish actor Javier Bardem and U.S. activist Kerry Kennedy spoke out here Thursday in favor of expanding the scope of the U.N. mission in the Western Sahara to include monitoring the human rights situation in the disputed territory.

Oscar-winner Bardem made a documentary about the situation in Western Sahara, “Sons of The Clouds: The Last Colony,” and Kennedy is president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, founded in honor of her late father.

Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, was annexed by Morocco in 1975, but the Saharawis, led by the Polisario movement, continue to resist Moroccan rule.

The RFK Center took up the issue of Western Sahara six years ago, Kennedy said, recounting that during a family visit to the territory last summer, a Moroccan policeman struck her teenage daughter and took her camera as the girl was filming other cops beating a woman on the street.

“I am here to show respect and gratitude to Kerry for all her work,” Bardem said.

The U.N. mission’s mandate in Western Sahara expires April 30. The United States proposes not only extending the mandate, but giving U.N. personnel the authority to monitor human rights in the territory.

Morocco strongly opposes the U.S. initiative.