U.N. asked to investigate violence in Western Sahara
BBC: Q&A: Western Sahara clashes
Morocco defends raid on Sahrawi camp
BBC: We Are Saharawis
Human Rights Report: Western Sahara
Examining the northwestern corner of Africa on a globe or map will reveal a country with a name that might seem curious: Western Sahara. Previously known as Spanish Sahara, the king of Morocco, Hassan II, moved the Moroccan army into the region in 1976, and Spain ceded its claims to the area. Conflict continued in the region for 16 more years, as the separatist Polisario movement fought the Moroccan government for control of Western Sahara, drawing on the support of the Algerian government. The people behind the Polisario movement continue to claim that the town of Laayoune should serve as the capital of the independent Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), much to the consternation of the Moroccan government. Things have become tense as of late, as Moroccan authorities bulldozed a temporary encampment last week that housed 12,000 to 20,000 Sahrawi protestors outside of Laayoune. Political talks are talking place in New York under the auspices of the United Nations regarding the situation in the region, and there is the hope that the UN will send a peacekeeping mission over to the Western Sahara to monitor human rights violations.
The first link will take visitors to a piece from The Economist which talks about the current state of affairs in Western Sahara. The second link leads to a piece from the Washington Post's Colum Lynch on the recent disputes between the Moroccan government and protestors in Laayoune. Moving on, the third link whisks users away to a helpful Q&A fact sheet from the BBC on recent activities in Western Sahara. The fourth link leads to a news article from this Tuesday's BBC Africa website that discusses Morocco's intent in their raid on the protest camp mentioned above. For those looking for a bit more insight into the world of the Saharawi people, the fifth link provides access to a 22-minute documentary on them, directed by Marta Fernandez. The last link leads to a 2009 human rights report on Western Sahara written up by the U.S. Department of State.