Western Sahara – Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

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The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)

(Arabic: الجمهورية العربية الصحراوية الديمقراطية‎ Al-Jumhūrīyyah Al-`Arabīyyah Aṣ-Ṣaḥrāwīyyah Ad-Dīmuqrāṭīyyah,

Spanish: República Árabe Saharaui Democrática)

February 27 Independence Day Proclamation of the SADR in Bir Lehlou, 1976

 

SADR is a partially recognised state that claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. SADR was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on February 27, 1976, in Bir Lehlu, Western Sahara. The SADR government controls about 20-25% of the territory it claims.It calls the territories under its control the Liberated Territories or the Free Zone. Morocco controls and administers the rest of the disputed territory and calls these lands itsSouthern Provinces. The SADR government considers the Moroccan-held territory to be occupied territory, while Morocco considers the much smaller SADR-held territory to be a buffer zone.

A new 1999 Constitution of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic took a form similar to the parliamentary constitutions of many European states, but with some paragraphs suspended until the achievement of “full independence”. Among key points, the head of state is constitutionally the Secretary General of the Polisario Front during what is referred to as the “pre-independence phase,” with provision in the constitution that on independence, Polisario is supposed to be dismantled or separated completely from the government structure. Provisions are detailed for a transitory phase beginning with independence, in which the present SADR is supposed to act as Western Sahara’s government, ending with a constitutional reform and eventual establishment of a state along the lines specified in the constitution.

The broad guidelines laid down for an eventual Western Saharan state in the constitution include eventual multi-party democracy with a market economy.

The constitution also defines Sahrawis as a Muslim, African and Arab people,The Constitution also declares a commitment to the principles of human rights and to the concept of a Greater Maghreb, as a regional variant of Pan-Arabism.

Although it is not recognised by the United Nations, the SADR has held full membership of the African Union (AU, formerly the Organisation of African Unity, OAU) since 1984. Morocco withdrew from the OAU in protest and remains the only African nation not within the AU since South Africa’s admittance in 1994


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