Spain's first Oscar-winning actor, Javier Bardem (photo, front right), is leading a campaign to restore peace and freedom to those living in the Western Sahara, who have spent the last 33 years in refugee camps after the Franco regime handed over sovereignty to Morocco and Mauritania.
The objective of the campaign, that is also being backed by a large number of other Spanish actors, directors, and producers, is to collect signatures on the www.todosconelsahara.com website for a motion urging the Spanish government to recognise the diplomatic status of the Frente Polisario, which is a rebel nationalist movement working for the independence of Western Sahara.
Javier's brother, Carlos (photo, front left), Fernando Colomo, Rosa María Sardá, Karmelo Gómez (front, centre), Dafne Fernández, Julio Medem, Javier Corcuera, Paca Gabaldón, Icíar Bollaín, Fran Perea, Verónica Forqué and Fernando Sánchez Dragó were among those also taking part in a signature-collecting exercise yesterday staged at the Fine Arts Circle (CBA) in Madrid.
During the recent Saharan Film Festival, Bardem read out a prepared statement that said: "the situation in the refugee camps gets worse with each year that passes. The peace process is blocked and this is especially affecting the weakest - women, children and old people. 200,000 former Spanish citizens have been abandoned in the desert for 33 years. It's urgent that the public helps to restore freedom to the Sahrawi people."