About Western Sahara

Mapa del Sahara Occidental con los muros que la diciden

The Western Sahara is a country in Northern Africa, qualified as a “Non-autonomous territory” by the United Nations. It has an area of 266.000 square kilometres large and a population of some hundreds thousands inhabitants. The territory is nowadays divided by a wall more than 2.000 kilometres long surrounded by millions of anti-personnel mines. The zone westwards the wall is the Moroccan occupied territory. The occupying power profits the riches of the territory (fisheries, phosphates, sand, and greenhouse agriculture). The zones eastwards of the berm are composed by the liberated territories of the Sahrawi people. The population is distributed in both zones, the refugee camps in Tindouf (southwest Algeria) and the diaspora in other countries, namely in Mauritania and Spain).

The Western Sahara is a territory bordered by Morocco in the north, Algeria on east, Mauritania on the south and east, and Spain in the west.

In 1975 it was invaded by Morocco and Mauritania under an illegal international agreement signed by both countries with the administering power of the territory, Spain, to deny the Sahrawi people its internationally recognized right to self-determination and independence. After Spain’s withdrawal in 1976, Morocco and Mauritania formalized the partition of the territory. In 1979, Mauritania withdrew from the Western Sahara. In 1975, the Sahrawi people, represented by the Polisario Front, began a war against the occupation to defend its right to self-determination and independence. In 1991, the United Nations approved a Settlement Plan, agreed to by the two parties on the conflict, Morocco and the Polisario Front, to put an end to the war and organise a referendum of self-determination. The Moroccan monarchy has impeded so far the holding of such a referendum.

Since the first moment of the invasion, the Moroccan government has systematically violated the human rights of the Sahrawi people at all levels. On the civil and political level, the Moroccan government has not only denied the right to self-determination and independence of the Sahrawi people, but it has also carried a politics of genocide, disappearances, tortures and imprisonment of all those who have defended such a right. On the economic level, the Moroccan government has been sacking the resources of the territory and searching for complicities of foreign investors to settle colons who may alter the demographic composition of the territory and may hinder its self-determination and independence. On the cultural level, the Moroccan government is devoted to destroy the footprints of the Sahrawi history before the Moroccan occupation.