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The Sahrawis of Western Sahara

1 January 1984

The Sahrawi people is fighting for its survival, working to reverse the illegal sale of its territory, in 1975, by the previous colonial power, Spain, to Morocco and Mauritania. The new forces of occupation are opposed by the Algerian-backed Sahrawi army. The greater part of the Sahrawi civilian population has fled to refugee camps in Algeria, and the rest are in the war zone – each group living in conditions of extreme hardship. The Sahrawi case has the support of major international and humanitarian agencies. Nevertheless, the course of events has depended less on justice for a suffering people than on enmities and calculating a political interplay of several nations with ideological and economic interests in the territory.

Please note that the terminology in the fields of minority rights and indigenous peoples’ rights has changed over time. MRG strives to reflect these changes as well as respect the right to self-identification on the part of minorities and indigenous peoples. At the same time, after over 50 years’ work, we know that our archive is of considerable interest to activists and researchers. Therefore, we make available as much of our back catalogue as possible, while being aware that the language used may not reflect current thinking on these issues.

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John Mercer