The Western Sahara Sand Trap

Sand Berm, Western Sahara
Photo: AFP
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The world has changed in many ways in the past 50 years. Global population has doubled, and well over half of the people alive in the world today were born after the United Nations requested, in 1965, that Spain de-colonise the territory of Western Sahara, which it had occupied since the late 19th century. But Spain would not relinquish the last colonial country in Africa so readily, and for the next 7 years the request for Spain to organise a referendum to establish the will of the people with regard to the future of Western Sahara was an annual fixture on the UN agenda.

To break out of this state of political limbo required more than a yearly repetition of the referendum request. The POLISARIO (Frente Para la Liberación de Saguia Al Hamra y Rio de Oro) was established in 1973 to force a change in tempo, by voicing the demands of the Saharawi and confronting the Spanish military. The initial impact seemed promising: the following year the first census was conducted and hopes began to rise that a lasting solution for independence was at hand. Those hopes evaporated as neighbouring Mauritania and Morocco replaced Spain as occupiers in 1976, and began a military pincer movement against the Saharwi. Increasingly, local inhabitants were driven into desert regions or to Algeria as refugees, victims of ambitious geopolitical competition between Morocco, which continues to uphold its territorial claims, and Mauritania, which eventually relinquished and withdrew.

Sand Berm, Western Sahara Photo: AFP

Sand Berm, Western Sahara
Photo: AFP

And that is where we find the Saharwi today. Trapped in the sand behind a gigantic berm 2,700 kilometers long, laced with unknown thousands of landmines, heavily guarded by an estimated 100,000 Moroccan troops, with UN peacekeeping force MINURSO deployed to ensure the 1991 ceasefire agreement is upheld. Despite voting in favour of it, the Kingdom of Morocco has still not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty and, while both sides have agreed to cooperate with MINURSO to identify and remove mines and other unexploded ordnance, the berm is not included in the agreement. All major settlements, including the capital, are on the side occupied by Morocco, which encourages settlers and enters into trading agreements for Western Saharan resources such as phosphates, oil, fisheries, and even the sand. Goods produced in the occupied territory are regularly discovered being mislabelled “Made in Morocco”. All of these infractions are vigorously denounced by activists, with some notable successes in recent years.

Photo: canariasahora.es

Saharwi Refugees
Photo: canariasahora.es

On the other side of this monstrous wall the Saharwi wait to reclaim their rights, while their resources are plundered. They live on the goodwill of others, humanitarian assistance and charitable donations, while the wealth of their land lines the coffers of Morocco. It is estimated that between 90,000 and 165,000 people are living in the 5 camps they created over thirty years ago, when they fled the fighting. A reliable population census would facilitate the referendum these people were promised, which explains the wide gap between the lower estimate from Morocco and the upper estimate from the Saharwi. They didn’t expect to be living in these camps for so many years, decades even. Some of them have family on the other side of the barrier they have not seen for 30 years. MINURSO tries to arrange reunions, but the list is long and only a few people at a time can be granted this brief respite.

Gdeim Izik camp destroyed by military to crush 2010 protests

Gdeim Izik camp destroyed by military to crush 2010 protests

The record of human rights abuse against the Saharwi is appalling, including aerial bombardment, the use of white phosphorous, arbitrary detention, torture, persecution, and rape.  Although this situation has existed for many years, the UN envoy requested an extension of MINURSO’s mandate after the brutal repression of a mass demonstration and sit-in at Laayoune on 10 November 2010. Some keen-eyed observers have labeled this event as the true beginning of the uprisings that have engulfed the region since then, the so-called “Arab Spring”.  After a two-year delay, Saharwi activists were given sentences ranging between 20 years and life in a military trial, condemned by Amnesty International as “flawed from the outset.” The protests, and the military repression against them, continue. The UN mission is not documenting human rights abuses in Western Sahara, so activists have created their own crowdsource space to gather reports and evidence.

Most fascinating, that  in this desert wilderness against a backdrop of despair, democracy has bloomed. The POLISARIO has a functioning government supported by local committees, and a refreshingly progressive attitude towards equality and discrimination on gender, education, disability, and religion. Communities had no choice but to adapt to develop, improving in stages with each successive generation of these fiercely independent and strong-willed people. As often happens under extreme hardship and oppression, creative pursuits, especially music and community events, play a very important role in Saharwi culture. One of the best-known musical artists, Mariem Hassan, is welcomed around the world. This October, a repeat of the hugely successful FiSahara Film Festival is planned. The project is run by the Spanish Network of Organizations in Solidarity with the Western Sahara (CEAS), a non-profit NGO based in Spain with humanitarian projects in the Saharwi refugee camps. Organisers are currently processing registrations, and making arrangements to house visitors with refugee families from 8 to 13 October in the Tindouf camp. They are looking for volunteers to help with everything from maintaining the website to promoting the event.

Photo: festivalsahara.com

Photo: festivalsahara.com

How much longer can this situation endure? With the increasing availability of the internet facilitating information sharing, and the development of online social and support networks, the story of the Saharwi is beginning to spread despite these long years of ignorance, and Morocco’s determination to suppress information. Those monitoring the situation in Mali also have a wary eye on Western Sahara, and some analysts probe the possible dynamics of relationships between the POLISARIO rebels, the MNLA, and sundry Islamist groups currently occupying large areas of northern Mali, especially as the 3 aid workers kidnapped from the Tindouf camp in October 2011 were in the hands of such groups.  As Saharwi youth become increasingly frustrated with the status quo, some feel the time is right for a change, even breaking the truce, if the UN can’t get its act together and force a referendum in the very near future. This makes them a choice target for recruitment by the rebel gangs who support their antics by trafficking people, drugs, contraband, and weapons across the Sahel region.

Human Rights Watch 2013 Report Morocco/Western Sahara

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Human rights conditions were decidedly mixed in Morocco, as a 2011 constitution containing strong human rights provisions did not translate into improved practices. While Moroccans exercised their right to protest in the streets, the police often dispersed them violently, and protest leaders and dissidents risked imprisonment after unfair trials, sometimes based on the many laws repressing speech that have yet to be revised in light of the new constitution.

In January 2012, for the first time, an Islamist became prime minister, after the Hizb al-Adalah wal-Tanmiya (Justiceand Development) party won a plurality of seats in legislative elections. Moustapha Ramid, a well-known human rights lawyer, became justice minister. On July 31, Ramid declared in a television interview that among Morocco’s 65,000 prisoners there were no “prisoners of opinion,” a statement contradicted by the incarceration of rapper al-Haqed and student Abdessamad Haydour for their peaceful speech.

Freedom of Assembly, Association, and Expression

Inspired by popular protests elsewhere in the region, Moroccans have since February 2011 held periodic marches and rallies to demand sweeping political reforms .The police tolerated many of these protests, spearheaded by the youthful, loosely organized February 20 Movement for Change, but on some occasions attacked and beat protesters severely.

Seddik Kebbouri, president of the Bouarfa section of the independent Moroccan Association for Human Rights, served eight months in prison following his conviction in an unfair trial for his alleged role in a May 2011 demonstration that ended in rock-throwing and property damage. A royal pardon freed Kebbouri and nine co-defendants on February 4, 2012. A Casablanca court on September 12 sentenced five protesters to between eight and ten months in prison on charges they assaulted police at a street protest on July 22, even though the court relied on confessions that the defendants claimed had been beaten out of them.

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Hundreds of suspected Islamist extremists arrested in the aftermath of the Casablanca bombings of May 2003 remain in prison. Many were convicted in unfair trials after being held in secret detention and subjected to mistreatment and sometimes torture. Since further terrorist attacks in 2007, police have arrested hundreds more suspected militants, many of whom were convicted and imprisoned, not for having committed acts of terrorism, but for belonging to a “terrorist network” or preparing to join the jihad in Iraq or elsewhere.

Police Conduct, Torture, and the Criminal Justice System

Moroccan courts continue to impose the death penalty, but Morocco has not executed anyone since the early 1990s.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez stated he was granted unimpeded access to prisons and prisoners. He noted the “political will” among authorities “to build up an institutional culture that prohibits and prevents torture and ill-treatment.” However he also stated he had received“credible reports of beatings [by police] (with fists and sticks), application of electric shocks, and cigarette burns.” Mendez concluded: “In practice, the safeguards against torture do not effectively operate because ‘there is no evidence’ torture has happened and so the confession or declaration remains on the record and no serious effort is made to investigate, prosecute, and punish perpetrators.”

Courts deprived defendants in political cases of the right to fair trials and in a number of cases ignored their requests for medical examinations following their allegations of torture, refused to summon exculpatory witnesses, and convicted defendants based on apparently coerced confessions.

Twenty-five Sahrawi civilians faced a trial before a Rabat military court for their alleged role in clashes that caused fatalities on both sides in and around El-Ayoun in November 2010 between security forces and Sahrawis. At this writing, the trial had yet to begin, even though 22 of the defendants had spent nearly 2 years in pretrial custody.

Prison conditions were reportedly harsh, due in large part to severe overcrowding, a problem aggravated by the frequent resort to pretrial detention by judges, as documented by recent reports on prison conditions. Conditions for Islamist prisoners at the high-security Sale 2 prison improved compared to the inhumane and highly restrictive conditions that they faced in 2011, ex-prisoners told Human Rights Watch.

The National Council of Human Rights, a state-funded body that reports to the king, issued a pioneering report in September on mental hospitals, criticizing the inadequacies of existing facilities. In November, the council issued a report on prison conditions that cited a pattern of beatings, abusive policies on punishment and transfers, and excessive use of preventive detention by judges.

In 2012, there were several reports of police abuse of sub-Saharan migrants, many of whom live in precarious conditions along the Mediterranean coast. For example, on August 24, police reportedly raided an abandoned house inhabited by migrants on the outskirts of Nador, destroying or confiscating property, and putting migrants on buses and dumping many of them at the Algerian border without formally verifying their status. Generally, Morocco has refrained from expelling migrants who have documents proving that they have applied for or received recognition as refugees from the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Freedom of Association

The 2011 constitution protects for the first time the right to create an association. However, officials continued to arbitrarily impede the legalization of many associations, undermining their freedom to operate. Groups affected include some that defend the rights of Sahrawis, Amazighs (Berbers), sub-Saharan migrants, and the unemployed, as well as charitable, cultural, and educational associations whose leadership includes members of al-Adl wal-Ihsan (Justice and Spirituality), a well-entrenched, nationwide movement that advocates for an Islamicstate and questions the king’s spiritual authority. The government, which does not recognize Justice and Spirituality as a legal association, tolerated many of its activities, but prevented others. In Western Sahara, authorities withheld legal recognition for all local human rights organizations whose leadership supports independence for that territory, even associations that won administrative court rulings that they had wrongfully been denied recognition.

Women’s Rights

The new constitution guarantees equality for women, “while respecting the provisions of the Constitution, and the laws and permanent characteristics of the Kingdom.” Major reforms to the Family Code in 2004 raised the age of marriage from 15 to 18 and improved women’s rights in divorce and child custody. However, the new code preserved discriminatory provisions with regards to inheritance and the right of husbands to unilaterally divorce their wives.

On March 10, 16-year-old Amina Filali apparently took her own life after enduring beatings from her husband, according to her family. Filali’s parents, who live near Larache, northern Morocco, had filed a complaint in 2011 stating that their daughter’s future husband had raped her; later they petitioned the court successfully to allow the two to marry. The case focused attention on article 475 of the penal code, which provides a prison term for a person who “abducts or deceives” a minor, but prevents the prosecutor from charging him if he then marries the minor. That clause, say women’s rights activists, effectively allows rapists to escape prosecution.

Domestic Workers

Despite laws prohibiting the employment of children under the age of 15, thousands of children under that age—predominantly girls—are believed to work as domestic workers. According to the UN, nongovernmental organization, and government sources, the number of child domestic workers has declined in recent years, but girls as young as 8 years old continue to work in private homes for up to 12 hours a day for as little as US$11 per month. In some cases, employers beat and verbally abused the girls, denied them an education, and refused them adequate food. In 2012, an appeals court sentenced a woman to 10 years in prison for beating a 10-year-old domestic worker, leading to the child’s death.

Morocco’s labor law excludes domestic workers from its protections, including a minimum wage, limits to work hours, and a weekly rest day. In 2006, authorities presented a draft law to regulate domestic work and reinforce existing prohibitions on under-15 domestic workers. The draft had been modified but not adopted at this writing.

Freedom of Expression

Morocco’s independent print and online media investigate and criticize government officials and policies, but face prosecution and harassment when they cross certain lines. The press law includes prison terms for “maliciously” spreading “false information” likely to disturb the public order or for speech that is defamatory, offensive to members of the royal family; or that undermines “Islam, the institution of the monarchy, or territorial integrity,” that is, Morocco’s claim on Western Sahara.

Moroccan state television provides some room for investigative reporting but little for direct criticism of the government or dissent on key issues. In April, Rachid Nini, a popular columnist and editor of al-Masa’ daily, completed a one-year prison sentence on charges, based on his articles, of attempting to influence judicial decisions, showing contempt for judicial decisions, and falsely accusing public officials of crimes.

Morocco revoked the accreditation of Agence France-Presse journalist Omar Brouksy on October 5 because of an article in which he described a political party running candidates in a by-election that day as being close to the palace. In November, authorities announced that it would allow Al Jazeera television to re-open its bureau, two years after they closed it after criticizing its coverage of the Western Sahara conflict.

In May, a Casablanca court convicted and sentenced rap musician Mouad Belghouat (known as “al-Haqed”—the sullen one) to one year in prison for insulting the police in the lyrics of one of his songs. The conviction and sentence were upheld on appeal in July.

A Taza court in February sentenced Abdelsamad Haydour, 24, of Taza, to three years in prison for attacking the king by calling him a “dog,” “a murderer,” and “a dictator” in an online YouTube video; the penal code criminalizes “insults to the king.”

Key International Actors

In 2008, the European Union gave Morocco “advanced status,” placing it a notch above other members of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Morocco is the biggest Middle Eastern beneficiary of EU aid after the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with €580 million (US$757 million) earmarked for 2011 to 2013. In its 2012 ENP report, the EU urged Morocco to protect freedom of expression by, among other things, adopting a new press code, and to “put into effect the principles contained in the new constitution, notably the adoption of organic laws … and formulate a strategic plan for reforming the justice sector with a view toward consolidating its independence.”

France is Morocco’s leading trading partner and source of public development aid and private investment. France increased its Overseas Development Assistance to €600 million ($783 million) for 2010 to 2012. France rarely publicly criticized Morocco’s human rights practices and openly supported its autonomy plan for Western Sahara. On March 9, then-Foreign Minister Alain Juppé hailed Morocco’s “exemplary” progress toward democratization and called it “a model” during the Arab Spring. On May 24, King Mohamed VI became the first head of state to be received by François Hollande, president of France, after his election as president.

The United States provided financial aid to Morocco, a close ally, including a five-year $697 million grant beginning in 2008 from the Millennium Challenge Corporation to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth. On human rights, the US continued to publicly praise Morocco’s reform efforts. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a statement about Morocco at the first bilateral “strategic dialogue” on September 13, voiced no reservations on human rights.

The 2012 UN Security Council resolution renewing the mandate of the peacekeeping force for Western Sahara (MINURSO) did not enlarge the MINURSO mandate to include human rights monitoring, an enlargement that the Polisario supports and Morocco opposes. MINURSO is one of the only peacekeeping operations created since 1990 that has no human rights monitoring component. Resolution 2044 welcomed “the steps taken by Morocco to ensure unqualified and unimpeded access [to Western Sahara] to all Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council” visiting Morocco. In September, the UN special rapporteur on torture conducted a mission to Morocco and Western Sahara (see above).

hrw.org

#WesternSahara Video: Youth clash with police in El Aaiún

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Rare video shows an injured youth on the ground and angry crowd hurling rocks at a police vehicle before it drives away,  narrowly avoiding running people over.

Source

Source

This older video shows a vicious attack by a group of police on a youth who is fortunately able to escape, although he received a severe kicking and sacrificed his jacket in the process of getting away.

Western Sahara Under Mounting Pressure

Conflict is brewing in the Western Sahara. Credit: Karlos Zurutuza/IPS
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Heightened Security

“We’ve been building a lot of new walls lately,” says Polisario Front commander Ahmed Salem as he drives his 4 X 4 across Tindouf in Western Algeria. But the newly introduced security measures may not be enough to ensure the survival of the Western Sahrawis.

Salem Ahmed drives along the desert sand wall towards the entrance of Rabuni camp near Tindouf (about 700 km southeast of Moroccan capital Rabat). Rabuni is the nodal point for refugee camps in southern Algeria for the Sahrawis, as the local Western Sahara people are called.

Just a few yards from where an excavator that works day and night, we are waved in through a checkpoint manned by men in camouflage from the Polisario, which heads the Sahrawi independence movement. At only a few kilometres from the Mauritanian border, this sea of mud houses and corrugated iron roofs is “home” to over 200,000 individuals.

Western Sahara was the victim of a decolonisation process interrupted in 1976, when Spain – its former colonial power since the late 19th century- left that barren land in the hands of Morocco and Mauritania. After a ceasefire agreement in 1991, most of the territory which is greater than the size of Britain -including the entire Atlantic coastline – is under the control of Morocco. A small, largely uninhabited and economically useless desert portion remains under Polisario rule, strongly backed by Algeria.

This is where the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (RASD) declared its independence in 1976. Since then, the Polisario has won formal recognition for the RASD from 82 nations.

“We are totally dependent on international aid, especially from Spain. We cannot let a repeat incident, like the one that happened before, or we’ll die of hunger and thirst in the desert,” says Ahmed Salem. Spanish aid workers Ainhoa Fernandez, Enric Gonyalons and Italian Rosella Urru were abducted from Rabuni’s international camp on Oct. 22, last year.

Many suggest that the first and only kidnapping in the territory, under the Polisario Front’s control, could trigger a conflict that has remained frozen for 37 years.

The abduction was claimed by a hitherto unknown armed group, and through unusual channels. Ahmed Mohamed Ali, a worker at the centre who was handcuffed during the attack told IPS that the attackers “were not from the region and most likely of Touareg origin.” The Touareg are Berber people inhabiting the Saharan interior of North Africa.

Some observers fear that conflict is brewing in the Western Sahara. Credit: Karlos Zurutuza/IPS

Increasing Isolation

The decrease in the number of foreign visitors is evident after the kidnapping. Rabuni camp has a capacity for 200 visitors; usually now there are just half a dozen.

“Any attack on foreigners, whether it’s a kidnapping, a roadside bomb, or any kind of assault can lead, in the short term, to unpredictable consequences for the future of refugees. It is certainly the most vulnerable side of the Saharawi people,” says Andoni Berriotxoa, coordinator of a project to build water wells in Bir-Lehlu, administrative capital of the Sahrawi territories under Polisario control.

The newly introduced security measures may look draconian to many: night curfew for foreigners starting at seven; compulsory military escort for any journey by road, and a network of earth and sand walls in which the Algerian army also joins with watchtowers and radars.

The Moroccan media will soon broadcast that we are restricting visits for foreigners, but this is for their safety,” says Salem. This military engineer who graduated in Cuba adds that it is Morocco that has built the world’s longest military wall: a French-designed project, over 2,500 kilometres in length, crisscrossing Western Sahara.

“It’s true that the number of visitors has dropped dramatically in the last seven months,” Salem Sehir, a Polisario executive member and district governor tells IPS. “There’s a big fear over new attacks, but we cannot forget that the financial crisis in Spain is also behind the fewer numbers. The number of our kids visiting Spain in summer was cut by half. Spanish families simply cannot afford it any longer.”

Political Stalemate

Back in Rabuni, Jatri Aduh, president of the Sahrawi Parliament and the Polisario leader in negotiations with Morocco, speaks of a conflict “that neither side is able to win.” The senior official openly admits his disappointment over the inaction of the former colonial power and of the UN, compounded by the unconditional support that Morocco gets from France.

“As a full member of the African Union, the RASD is committed to the security in the region and we will not spare any effort to implement it,” says the high-ranking official.

Aduh cannot hide his concern over the growing instability in the region, which is the only shelter for his entire people. In the inhospitable Algerian desert and halfway between the borders of Mali, Mauritania and the Western Sahara territory, this cluster of mud and corrugated iron houses lies on a crossroads for drug trafficking, and for Al-Qaeda fighters and Touareg rebels from Azawad – the newly self-proclaimed state in northern Mali.

“The challenges for the near future are so massive that we have even extended our hand to Morocco to liaise on common security issues. Unfortunately, we are still waiting for a response to our initiative.”

Norwegian Council for Africa.

Western Sahara: a South Sudan Suggestion

Peacekeeper stationed with MINURSO in Western Sahara
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The New York Bar Association has issued a document recommending that a referendum be held in Western Sahara which follows the same lines as the South Sudan referendum on independence, making references to international law and claiming that such a right to independence is covered by its terms.

The document issued by the New York Bar Association is called The Legal Issues Involved in the Western Sahara Dispute*. The document recommends that the UNO supports a process identical to the one in which South Sudan voted for independence (the Machakos Protocol), which would provide the Saharawi people with the right to vote in favour of autonomy within the occupying power, Morocco, or else go for full independence.

The 107-page legal report drawn up by the New York Bar Association, which has sent a copy to the US Congress, states: “After six years of negotiations on a settlement policy conflict, the people of South Sudan won the right to a referendum with the option of independence. A similar approach for Western Sahara would be supported by international law”.

The report goes further, claiming that international law supports the claim to a right for independence made by the Frente Polisario, representing the occupied Sahawari people: “The people of Western Sahara has clearly the right to self determination under international law. International law requires that the Sahrawis have the opportunity to determine their political status and that determination must include the option of independence”.

It continues: “any plan that eliminates the option of independence of the exercise of self-determination is illegal under international law clearly defined,” while calling on the international community to avoid “imposing” the Saharawi measures contrary to that point.

pravda.ru

Also of interest:

UNDRIP is the permanent solution to Western Sahara

extract from a note by rebuilding failed states on FaceBook

The Arab spring revolution and its ‘domino effect’ in North Africa lend urgency in the region to the United Nations’ efforts to resolve the long-festering problem of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara.   Since 1975, Morocco has asserted its sovereignty over Western Sahara, and for over 37 years, the indigenous peoples of Western Sahara have struggled for independence.

In 1991, the United Nations crafted a solution to the Western Saharan problem in the Minurso mandate. The Plan provided for a transitional period during which the Special Representative of the Secretary-General would have sole and exclusive responsibility over all matters relating to a referendum in which the people of Western Sahara would choose between independence and integration with Morocco. Furthermore, it is intended for the establishment of a long term comprehensive and a just resolution to the conflict with Morocco over its self-determination and full independence.

Full implementation of this mandate has been blocked in the Security Council by Morocco’s ally, France, thus depriving the indigenous peoples of Western Sahara of their basic human rights. Therefore, in order to achieve the lofty objectives of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is fundamentally necessary for the International community to come to a consensus on the question of Western Sahara and find a solution to this thirty seven year old stalemate. Western Sahara is recognized by the U.N and the ICJ as a territory which was inhabited by Indigenous people prior to the Spanish colonization; therefore it is not a terra nullius.  Then, it is necessary for the U.N to adhere the population of Western Sahara under the protection of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, so they too can enjoy the minimum human rights as prescribed by the universal declaration.

A POLISARIO demonstration for the independence...

A POLISARIO demonstration for the independence of Western Sahara, held in Madrid, November 11th 2006 (here: outside the Foreign Office). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The UDHR guarantees “the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. Yet, these basic human rights are denied to the indigenous people in the occupied territory of Western Sahara thanks to a succession of events, which involve Morocco’s political scheming in the region, and the influence of France in the Security Council.

While everything else has been tried to find a solution to the conflict to only reach a deadlock, it is imperative to add the population of Western Sahara to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, for the establishment of these rights.

There are three steps to this policy recommendation to prove why it is fundamental to adopt the principles of the UNDRIP in Western Sahara. First, it will be on the history of the territory. Then, it will discuss the argument of the ICJ concerning the status of Western Sahara and the illegal claim of Morocco over it; and thirdly it will find the appropriate definition from the many on indigenous people to be applied on the Sahrawi population, and will show which articles should be the basis to this argument.

When other people enjoy “the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” as mentioned in the Universal declaration of Human Rights, the said human rights are inexistent in the occupied territory of Western Sahara.

Morocco’s political scheming in the occupied territory and its strong hold on the media, which prevents the world from knowing about the suffering of the indigenous people of the last African colony, should be sanctioned. And the influence of its allies in the UN Security Council that tends to be problematic to the mechanism and the function of the Minurso mandate in the territory should be stopped.

Although Western Sahara is recognized by the U.N and the ICJ as a Non Res nullius territory which gives it a legal status; and recognizing the failure of the U.N mandate in implementing its fundamental goal for a referendum, which is intended for the establishment of a long term comprehensive and a just resolution to the conflict with Morocco over its self-determination and full independence, and which only ended in reaching a deadlock. Therefore, and in order to show a sign of good will attention, the U.N should include the population and the territory of Western Sahara under the protection of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, so they too can enjoy the minimum human rights as prescribed by the universal declaration. This solution should be acted upon, by the international community, as a rightful thing to do to show a sign of good will in finding a permanent resolution to the question of Western Sahara.