Western Sahara Politics, Economy and Population
Since the country has no official status, it is treated as a “non-governmental country” by the United Nations. Morocco is a constitutional monarchy and therefore this status is often attributed to Western Sahara as well. The Moroccan government gives large subsidies to the development of the Moroccan parts of the Western Sahara, divided into provinces.
The SADR has only one political party, the Polisario Front, but the number of parties is expected to grow after the liberation. The party’s office is located in the Tindouf refugee camp in Algeria. It has declared the part east of the Moroccan part a “free zone” patrolled by UN units.
Western Sahara and Kosovo
As a country starting with letter W according to Countryaah, Western Sahara has recognized the Republic of Kosovo, but has expressed outrage that the world’s newest country is being recognized by so many countries and receiving so much media attention, while the African semi-state has not been recognized by any country for more than 15 years (with the exception of the 45s) and hardly any attention is paid to it.
Because of the conflict in Western Sahara, the human rights of the population are violated. Much of the native population of the former Spanish colony was evicted from the country and tens of thousands of Moroccans were also driven out of Algeria. During the years of the war (1975 – 1991), both sides in the conflict accused each other of violating human rights. Morocco accuses the “Front Polisario” of terrorist acts against the population and makes the USA, the EU and the UN accept the party as a terrorist organization, which never happened. The Polisario condemns Morocco for violence against the Sahrawis (the indigenous population of Western Sahara) by the Moroccan monarchy. It is this monarchy that also blames Algeria for its support of Western Sahara.
Many international human rights organizations have condemned Morocco’s actions in the “torn republic “. One of them is “Reporters without borders”. “Front Polisario” has been criticized by the French organization France Libertes.
Western Sahara is considered the territory of Morocco. The official name his government calls the country is the Southern Province. It is divided into 2 parts – Rio de Oro and Saguia al-Hamra. The “free zone”, which is considered SADR territory, is patrolled by UN and Moroccan troops.
The Polisario Congress and the Sahrawi National Committee hold their meetings in the “Free Zone”. During the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the founding of the SADR, UN forces were sent in in case of clashes. The daily demonstrations at the Moroccan Wall (separating SADR from the Moroccan Western Sahara) are mostly by Spaniards, Italians and other European nations under UN supervision.
Apart from phosphates and fish fauna, Western Sahara has almost no resources. The business is entirely controlled by Morocco, and the food is imported. There are suggestions that there are huge deposits of natural gas and oil along the coast, and some suggest that this is precisely the reason why Morocco does not want to “liberate” the country.
Western Sahara is one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world, consisting mainly of desert plains. The largest city is El Ayoun and it is home to the majority of the territory’s population. The Sahrawis are the main and indigenous population of the Western Sahara. There are also many nomadic Bedouins and Moors. The population as of 2004 is 267,000 people, of which 160,000 are from the Moroccan army, living here to maintain stability in the republic. The Moroccan government is sending many people to Western Sahara – the so-called “Moroccanization”. According to data from 2000year the population of Western Sahara grows by 2.29% every year. There are 16.11 deaths per 1,000 people, while births are 45.07 per thousand. The main languages spoken are Arabic, local languages and Spanish.
Cities in Western Sahara
|Translation||Arabic||1994 census||2004 census|
|Ел Аюн (The Laâyoune)||in Arabic : العيون||136,950||183,691|
|Dakhla||in Arabic : الداخلة||29 831||58 104|
|Smara (Semara)||in Arabic : السمارة||28 750||40 347|
|Cape Beaujadour (Cabo Beaujadour)||in Arabic : بو جدور||15 167||36 843|
|El Marsa||in Arabic : المرسى||4334||10 229|
|The country of Aargub||1374||5345|
|Boo Graa||No data||2519|
|Lemseid||No data||No data|
Communications in Western Sahara
Telephone posts – about 2000 (data from 1999)
Mobile phones – 0 (data from 1999)
Radio receivers – about 60,000 (data from 2000)
Television receivers – about 6000 (data from 1997)
The culture in Western Sahara is really diverse – each tribe has its own customs and traditions, but in general the country has “adopted” the Moroccan traditions and therefore part of the population professes Islam. In recent years, there have been large investments to the country from the Moroccan side for the development of culture, a large part of them going to El Ayoun for modernization and infrastructure projects.