The Western Sahara conflict: the role of natural resources in decolonization

The Western Sahara conflict: the role of natural resources in decolonization

A case for the independence of Western Sahara

This collection of articles looks at the role of natural resources in Western Sahara and outlines the framework for Western Sahara’s independence from Morocco.

There is no doubt that the question of the natural resources of Western Sahara such as fish, oil and phosphates has been the main reason for the interest in the area in question. As in so many places all over the globe the exploitation of natural resources including the job opportunities it creates for the occupiers makes states and people react selfishly and in conflict with international law.

This report presents:

  • a summary of the Western Sahara situation with comparisons with the similar case of Eastern Timor
  • an up-to-date picture of the situation with regard to natural resources in Western Sahara, and the way in which exploitation is taking place at present
  • the UN’s legal opinion on exploitation of the natural resources of a non-self-governing territory from 2002, emphasising that such exploitation is legal but should be to the benefit of the people of the territory
  • the Swedish Foreign Policy on the Western Sahara Conflict
  • a message from the President of the Intergroup on Western Sahara in the European Parliament

The authors argue that the ruling of the UN should form the first stepping- stone towards a future enduring peace in the region which allows for self-determination for the whole of Western Sahara. In the long run such a solution is best for all parties, for the Sahrawis as well as for Morocco.

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