TOPICS:

A)The Situation in Western Sahara: An Issue of Sovereignty

B) The US – Saudi-Arabia – Iran Rivalry

A) The Situation in Western Sahara: An Issue of Sovereignty

While the majority of the African peninsula entered its post-colonial era in the 1950s and 60s, the wider Western Sahara area remained under the power of Spanish colonial forces until 1975, when a revolutionary movement started by a group of young Sahrawi students formed the Polisario Front and were recognized as the most powerful political force in the region by the United Nations.

When the Spanish lest, the region was annexed by Morocco. Since then it has been the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and the indigenous Saharawi people, whose interests are are represented by Polisario.

Nowadays, the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), as it was declared by the Polisario Front in 1976, has been recognised by many governments and has full membership in the African Union. Although the issue has reached the Security Council in the past, no definitive solution has been reached.

B) The US – Saudi-Arabia – Iran Rivalry

The status of the Western Sahara, which is disputed between Morocco and the Sahrawi Republic has been stagnant for decades. While the UN has formally backed the Sahrawi people and their right to self-determination, Morocco still occupies two thirds of the territory.

The Western Sahara is recognised by the UN as a Non-Self Governing Territory, the largest one in existence. There is a UN Peacekeeping mission in place (MINURSO: United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) but it has no mandate to monitor and report on human rights, making it the only UN mission without it. This is because its addition has been blocked by France, an ally of Morocco, on several occasions. This mission was established in 1991 with the aim of facilitating negotiations and a referendum, but no such referendum has taken place.

This is a somewhat obscure issue, but also full of potential, as many states have had territorial issues of their own: the annexation of Crimea by Russia, separatist struggles in the UK (Scotland), France (Corsica). Delegates will have to tread the fine line of defending the self-determination of the Sahrawi people without undermining their own national policies.

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Country list:

 Bolivia China  Ivory Coast  Equatorial Guinea
 Ethiopia  France*  Kazakhstan  Kuwait
 Netherlands  Peru  Poland  Russian Federation*
 Sweden  United Kingdom  United States of America*
    Observers:
Morocco / Saudi Arabia*  Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic /Iran*

* For experienced delegates only

CHAIRS: Ana Victoria Martin Corral & Jaqueline Wendel