The conflict in Western Sahara or Polisario Front “Dispute for Independence” continues. The main protagonists are the Polisario Front of the Sahrawi People and State of Morocco. This dispute is a continuation of the previous rebellion against Spain from 1973 -1975 and ensuing Western Sahara War between Polisario and Morocco from 1975 -1991. At present, the discord is dominated by unarmed civil movements of the Polisario Front and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) state to obtain full independence for Western Sahara.
The United Nations Secretary-General has already renewed the international body’s appeals for continuous monitoring in the challenged territory of Western Sahara in Northern Africa. Sec-Gen. Ban Ki-Moon has warned against the possible unfair exploitation of the country’s natural resources. Meanwhile, the UN has welcomed the willingness of Morocco to allow its special investigators from the Human Rights Council to visit Western Sahara and Polisario Front’s compliance in working with the UN. According to the UN Refugee Agency, the persistent unrest in this region has cast a negative impact on the protection conditions with increasing arrests and detention of refugees and people seeking asylum from the Sub-Saharan Africa.
Western Sahara used to be a Spanish Colony (Spanish Sahara). It is a disputed territory being claimed by the Polisario Front and Kingdom of Morocco. It has been listed by the United Nations as a “non-decolonized” territory and included in the UN List of Non-Self Governing Territories. The country’s traditional economy is confined to the raising of sheep, goats, coastal fishing, and camel as well as cultivation of Date Palms. The region has a poor transportation infrastructure with major seaports in Dakhla and Laayoune. Western Sahara also exports phosphates and import food and fuel from trading partners. It has trading relations with South Africa, Cambodia, Thailand, Mexico, Japan, China, and South Korea.
Population. Ranked 171st in 2013.