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Special Political and Decolonization Western Sahara - IDIA

Special Political and Decolonization Western Sahara - IDIA

Rutgers Model United

Rutgers Model United Nations 3 location of Morocco, supported Morocco’s actions despite the sanctity of selfdetermination. There have been two main solutions that have been proposed in order to address the conflict. The UN, since the end of Spanish colonial rule, has called for a referendum that will allow the Sahrawi people to vote on their fate. The POLISARIO have argued for the inclusion independence on the ballot, which Morocco is firmly against. Morocco in 2007 put forth its own plan that would provide for a high degree of self-government within Morocco for the “Sahara Autonomous Region.” 6 Chronology 1956: “Greater Morocco” Identity Morocco was willing to invade Western Sahara, and has occupied it for years, because of a post-colonial national identity. 7 The basis of this identity rested on the argument that both Spain and France excised large portions of the Moroccan territory during colonization. Allal al-Fasi, a Moroccan nationalist, asserted that colonization cut down the size of the Moroccan territory. In 1956, a map of the “Greater Morocco” appeared in the newspaper of al-Fasi’s Istiqlal (Independence) Party. The map showed Morocco with borders encompassing parts of Western Algeria, parts of Northern Mali, all of Mauritania, and Spanish Sahara. 8 Allal al-Fasi’s publication pushed the idea of Moroccan territorial integrity to the forefront with King Mohammed V declaring in 1958 that Morocco should work towards the “return of the Sahara in accordance with respect for our historic rights and the will of its inhabitants.” 9 Since 1956, the idea of “Greater Morocco” has remained crucial to the justification of Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara (although the lands claimed have shifted). 6 Spector, 128 7 Zunes and Mundy 8 Zunes and Mundy 9 Zunes and Mundy

Rutgers Model United Nations 4 14 December 1960: General Assembly Resolution 1514(XV) The passing of Resolution 1514(XV) was significant to the further elaboration of the principle of self-determination and the process of decolonization, as it contained the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries, which affirmed, “all people have the right to self-determination.” 10 Through the passing of the declaration, self-determination emerged as a right, rather than a principle, of international law. 11 Furthermore, the declaration outlined the decolonization process as it pertained to the granting of self-determination, stating that immediate steps should be taken to: transfer all powers to the peoples of those territories, without any conditions or reservations, in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire, without any distinction as to race, creed or colour, in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom. 12 Resolution 1514(XV) is of great importance to the Western Saharan conflict, as it established as a right for all groups of people to have a say in how they are governed. Central to the claims of the POLISARIO, since the decolonization of Western Sahara, the Sahrawi people have been denied their right to exercise self-determination. 8 May- 9 June 1975: UN Visiting Mission Between 8 May and 9 June 1975, the UN conducted a visiting mission to what was then referred to as Spanish Sahara. Throughout the mission UN officials traveled between Madrid, Morocco, Spanish Sahara, Algeria, and Mauritania, interviewing members of the population. The purpose of the mission was to secure “first hand information on the situation prevailing in the Territory, including information on political, economic, social, cultural, and educational conditions, as well as on the wishes and aspirations of the people.” 13 Through discussions with government leaders and the officials of political parties, the mission was able to conclude on the status of the political situation stating: 10 Omar, 42 11 Omar, 42 12 General Assembly, Fifteenth Session, Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (1514), 14 December 1960 (http://www.un-documents.net/a15r1514.htm) 13 Franck, Thomas M. “The Stealing of the Sahara,” The American Journal of International Law (1976): 707

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