Special Political and Decolonization Western Sahara - IDIA
Rutgers Model United Nations 23 Conclusion The conflict surrounding the territory of Western Sahara and the fate of the Sahrawi people is an issue of self-determination. Morocco, seeking the vast amount of phosphate reserves, has routinely denied the people of Western Sahara to express their right to self-determination through a referendum that could allow the Sahrawi people to establish an independent state. The Polisario Front, the recognized voice of the Sahrawi people, have called for a referendum throughout the course of the conflict that would allow the people of Western Sahara to vote on their fate: independence, or integration with Morocco. During the decades long conflict, the UN has issued a number of resolutions reaffirming the right to the self-determination in the case of Western Sahara. Morocco, asserting historical claims to the territory, has defied and stalled in the calls for the referendum throughout the course of the conflict. Both the Moroccan government and the Polisario Front “have maintained positions that are mutually exclusive and neither has been willing to yield one inch.” 84 Without compromise, the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara will not express their right to self-determination, and issues resulting from the conflict, such as human rights abuses, will continue in the area. 84 United Nations Department of Political Affairs. “Interview With Christopher Ross, UN Envoy for Western Sahara.” http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/undpa/main/enewsletter/news0212_ross (Accessed 11 April 2012)
Rutgers Model United Nations 24 Discussion Questions • What is the right to self-determination? How has the international community historically gone about ensuring the right to self-determination? • Is a referendum necessary for the Sahrawi populace to exercise their right to selfdetermination? What can be done to ensure that a referendum vote represents the actual population of Western Sahara and not the interests of surrounding states? • What is your states position on the question of Western Sahara? Which side of the argument do you support?