Malainin Lakhal – Secretary General of the Saharawi Writers and Journalists Union

Malainin Lakhal was born in 1971 four years before Morocco invaded his country, Western Sahara. He lived through the ensuing war (1975-1991), the UN brokered cease-fire and the preparations for a referendum for self-determination - which is yet to happen. In 1999, whilst being sought by security forces as a suspected leader of the Malainin resistance, he fled Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara for territory held by the national independence movement, the Polisario Front. He has since been living in a Saharawi refugee camp since, working as a teacher, translator and Secretary-General of the Saharawi Writers and Journalists Union, bringing the stories of human rights abuses in the Western-Sahara to the world.