The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, the Art of Resistance and How to Constitute a Country While Under Occupation


Isabel Lourenço, Jorge Teixeira


The Frente POLISARIO, a liberation movement that aimed to achieve freedom of the then Spanish Sahara, was funded in 1973. In 1976, one year after the invasion of Morocco and Mauritania of Western Sahara, POLISARIO proclaimed, in the name of the Saharawi People, the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Western Sahara has been on the United Nations’ list of Non-Self-Governing Territories under Chapter XI of the UN Charter, since 1963. Forty-seven years later, the fight for the future of Western Sahara still ensues. Despite all judicial decisions against its claim, Morocco still occupies Western Sahara and proclaims it is part of its national territory. On the other side, Frente POLISARIO, adhering to International Law and their legitimate rights to Self-Determination, still fights. Morocco resorts to a mix of tactics: war, propaganda, fake news, defamation, imprisonment of dissidents, human rights violations, and Geopolitical Alliances.

In 1991, under the auspices of the UN and AU, an agreement on a Referendum to determine the Liberation of Western Sahara or the Annexation into the Kingdom of Morocco was achieved, but was never materialized. A UN Mission, Misión de las Naciones Unidas para la Organización de un Referéndum en el Sáhara Occidental (MINURSO), was established. Morocco, however, did not respect the terms of the agreement, boycotting the referendum. Between 1991 and 2020, a cease-fire was in place. In November 2020, a Moroccan military assault against a peaceful protest of Saharawi civilians against a new breach of Military Agreement No. 1 triggered Frente POLISARIO to declare the cease-fire null and void and to resume military action.

In this paper, we will try to clarify what the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic is and what Frente POLISARIO is. To achieve our goals, we have examined the SADR Constitution and how the political actors implement the ideas and ideals of the Constitution reflected on Frente POLISARIO. Our analysis has found a country ready and able to implement the structure of a functioning Modern Democratic State with the necessary prepared human resources.


Western Sahara, POLISARIO, SADR, War, Freedom, Morocco, Modern Democratic State, SADR Constitution




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