Protesting UN inaction to violence in the Occupied Territories at MINURSO HQs, Tifariti, October 25, 2010 (photo: Kirby Gookin)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Brief History of Conflict

      Western Sahara, formerly the Spanish Sahara, is Africa’s last colony.  Rejecting the UN’s resolution to decolonize and the International Court of Justice’s call for a referendum on self-determination for the indigenous Sahrawi people, Spain instead granted sovereignty over the territory to Morocco and Mauritania (since retreated).  For more than 35 years, the Sahrawi people led by the POLISARIO Front (recognized by the UN as their legitimate representative) have been fighting for independence and the right to determine their own future.   
     Today more than 150,000 Sahrawis are exiled in refugee camps in Algeria, and one hundred thousand more suffer oppression and human rights abuses under Moroccan occupation inside their homeland. 

Links to History of Conflict:

Western Sahara Resource Watch 
Stephen Zunes' Western Sahara Blog (recent events and historical background)
"Western Sahara and the Self-Determination Debate," (Samuel J. Spector Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2009). An analysis of the legal complexities involving self-determination.

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