The Sahrawi Republic (/səˈrɑːwi/), officially the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR; also romanized with Saharawi; Spanish: República Árabe Saharaui Democrática; Arabic: الجمهورية العربية الصحراوية الديمقراطية al-Jumhūrīyah al-'Arabīyah aṣ-Ṣaḥrāwīyah ad-Dīmuqrāṭīyah), is a partially recognized state that claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara, but controls only the easternmost one-fifth of that territory. Until 1976, Western Sahara was known as Spanish Sahara, a Spanish colony (later an overseas province).
SADR was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on February 27, 1976, in Bir Lehlou, Western Sahara, a former socialist liberation force which has since reformed its ideological and political views. 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 its Southern 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. The claimed capital of the SADR is former Western Sahara capital El-Aaiún, while the temporary capital moved from Bir Lehlou to Tifariti in 2008.
The Sahrawi Republic maintains diplomatic relations with 40 UN states, and is a full member of the African Union.
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
Motto: الحرية والديمقراطية والوحدة
"Libertad, Democracia, Unidad" (Spanish)
"Liberté, Démocratie, Unité" (French)
"Liberty, Democracy, Unity"
Anthem: Yā Banīy As-Saharā
¡Oh hijos del Sáhara! (Spanish)
O fils du Sahara! (French)
Oh Sons of the Sahara
Areas controlled by the SADR in dark green, claimed but uncontrolled areas in light green
|Government||One-party semi-presidential republic|
|Mohamed Wali Akeik|
|Legislature||Sahrawi National Council|
|Sovereignty disputed with Morocco|
|November 14, 1975|
• Republic declared
|February 27, 1976|
|266,000 km2 (103,000 sq mi) (83rd)|
• Water (%)
• September 2010 estimate
|100,000 or 502,585c (182nd)|
|0.37 or 1.9/km2 (1.0 or 4.9/sq mi) (236th)|
• Per capita
The name Sahrawi derives from the romanization of the Arabic word Ṣaḥrāwī صحراوي, meaning "Inhabitant of the Desert". The word Ṣaḥrāwī صحراوي then is derived from the Arabic word Ṣaḥrā' (صحراء), meaning desert itself.
Following the Spanish evacuation, Spain, Morocco, and Mauritania signed the Madrid Accords on November 14, 1975, leading to both Morocco and Mauritania moving in to annex the territory of Western Sahara. On 26 February 1976, Spain informed the United Nations that as of that date it had terminated its presence in Western Sahara and relinquished its responsibilities, leaving no Administering Power. Neither Morocco nor Mauritania gained international recognition, and war ensued with the independence-seeking Polisario Front. The United Nations considers the Polisario Front to be the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people, and maintains that the people of Western Sahara have a right to "self-determination and independence".
The creation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic was proclaimed on February 27, 1976, as the Polisario declared the need for a new entity to fill what they considered a political void left by the departing Spanish colonizers. While the claimed capital is the former Western Sahara capital El-Aaiún, in Moroccan-controlled territory, the proclamation was made in the government-in-exile's provisional capital, Bir Lehlou, which remained in Polisario-held territory under the 1991 cease-fire (see Settlement Plan). On February 27, 2008, the provisional capital was formally moved to Tifariti. Day-to-day business, however, is conducted in the Tindouf refugee camps in Algeria, which house most of the Sahrawi exile community.
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.
Since August 1982, the highest office of the republic is the President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, a post held by the secretary-general of the Polisario, presently Brahim Ghali, who appoints the Prime Minister, presently Mohamed Wali Akeik. The SADR's government structure consists of a Council of Ministers (a cabinet led by the Prime Minister), a judicial branch (with judges appointed by the President) and the parliamentary Sahrawi National Council (SNC, present speaker is Kathri Aduh). Since its inception in 1976, the various constitutional revisions have transformed the republic from an ad hoc managerial structure into something approaching an actual governing apparatus. From the late 1980s the parliament began to take steps to institute a division of powers and disentangle the republic's structures from those of the Polisario party, although without clear effect to date.
Its various ministries are responsible for a variety of services and functions. The judiciary, complete with trial courts, appeals courts and a supreme court, operates in the same areas. As a government-in-exile, many branches of government do not fully function, and has affected the constitutional roles of the institutions. Institutions parallel to government structures also have arisen within the Polisario Front, which is fused with the SADR's governing apparatus, and with operational competences overlapping between these party and governmental institutions and offices. A 2012 report mentioned the existence of the Sahrawi Bar Association. In 2016, the bar association (going by the name Union of Sahrawi Lawyers) issued a report calling for the implementation of political and civil rights. Unfortunately, there is no clear indication as to certain demographic groups, such as women, have fared in the legal field.
The SNC is weak in its legislative role, having been instituted as a mainly consultative and consensus-building institution, but it has strengthened its theoretical legislative and controlling powers during later constitutional revisions. Among other things, it has added a ban on the death penalty to the constitution, and brought down the government in 1999 through a vote of no-confidence.
The composition of the Sahrawi National Council is as follows:
|Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro||53|
The SADR acted as a government administration in the Sahrawi refugee camps located in the Tindouf Province of western Algeria. It is headquartered in Camp Rabouni, south of Tindouf, although some official events have taken place in towns in the Free Zone, including the provisional capitals, first Bir Lehlou until 2008, then Tifariti. The government of the SADR claims sovereignty over all of the Western Sahara territory, but has control only within the Free Zone. Several foreign aid agencies, including the UN High Commission for Refugees, and nongovernmental organizations are continually active in the camps.
As of 2018, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic has been recognized by 85 states. Of these, 40 have since "frozen" or "withdrawn" recognition for a number of reasons. A total of 40 UN states maintain diplomatic relations with the SADR, while a further 7 also recognise the state. Sahrawi embassies exist in 18 states.
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 1982. Morocco withdrew from the OAU in protest during 1984 and was the only African United Nations member not a member of the AU since South Africa's admittance in 1994 until it was readmitted on 30 January 2017. The SADR participates as guest on meetings of the Non-Aligned Movement or the New Asian–African Strategic Partnership, over Moroccan objections to SADR participation. On the other hand, Morocco's claim to Western Sahara is supported by the Arab League.
The SADR also participated in a conference of the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of the Latin American and the Caribbean (COPPPAL), 2006, the SADR ambassador to Nicaragua participated in the opening conference of the Central American Parliament, 2010, and SADR delegation participated in meeting of COPPPAL and International Conference of Asian Political Parties in Mexico City, 2012.
On 27 February 2011, the 35th anniversary of the proclamation of SADR was held in Tifariti, Western Sahara. Delegations, including parliamentarians, ambassadors, NGOs and activists from many countries participated in this event.
Under the Baker Plan created by James Baker, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's personal envoy to Western Sahara, the SADR would have been replaced with a five-year transitional Western Sahara Authority (WSA), a non-sovereign autonomous region supervised by Morocco, to be followed by a referendum on independence. It was endorsed by the UN in 2003. However, as Morocco has declined to participate, the plan appears dead.
In April 2007, the government of Morocco suggested that a self-governing entity, through the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS), should govern the territory with some degree of autonomy for Western Sahara. The project was presented to the United Nations Security Council in mid-April 2007. A stalemate over the Moroccan proposal led the UN in an April 2007 "Report of the UN Secretary-General" to ask the parties to enter into direct and unconditional negotiations to reach a mutually accepted political solution.
|Date||Name||Original event / Notes|
|February 27||Independence Day||Proclamation of the SADR in Bir Lehlou, 1976|
|May 10||Foundation of the Polisario Front||Founded 1973|
|May 20||May 20 Revolution||Start of the armed struggle against Spain in 1973|
|June 5||Day of the Disappeared||Remembering missing Sahrawis|
|June 9||Day of the Martyrs||Day on which El-Ouali died in 1976|
|June 17||Zemla Intifada||Harakat Tahrir riots in El-Aaiun, 1970|
|October 12||Day of National Unity||Celebrating the Ain Ben Tili Conference, 1975|
|Dhul Hijja 10||Eid al-Adha||Sacrifice feast|
|Shawwal 1||Eid al-Fitr||End of Ramadan|
|Rabi' al-awwal 12||Mawlid||Birth of Muhammad|
Algeria–Sahrawi Republic relations refers to the current and historical relations between the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
On 27 February 1976, the Polisario Front proclaimed the formation of the SADR. On 6 March 1976, Algeria recognized the SADR, the third country to do so, and formal diplomatic relations were established soon after. A Sahrawi embassy was opened in Algiers that year. Algeria rejects claims by Morocco to Western Sahara territory, all of which is claimed by the SADR.Coat of arms of Western Sahara
The Coat of arms of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is a symbol created by the Polisario Front, the national liberation movement of Western Sahara. The Polisario Front proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic on February 27, 1976, and both the flag and the coat of arms were adopted as state symbols.
The territory of Western Sahara is a disputed territory, claimed by:
Morocco, which controls and administers about 80% of the territory. Currently, the coats of arms of the Moroccan regions of Western Sahara are used in this part of Western Sahara.
The Polisario Front and the government-in-exile of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic or SADR claim the independence of the territory. The coat of arms of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic are used by these two bodies.Cuba–Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic relations
Cuba–Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic relations refers to the current and historical relations between the Republic of Cuba and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Cuba recognized the SADR on 20 January 1980, formal diplomatic relations were established on 30 January 1980. A Sahrawi embassy was opened in Havana in April 1980, and the Cuban embassy in Algiers was accredited to the SADR.Cuba collaborates with the Sahrawi Republic forming Sahrawi students (mostly on health-related careers), and sending Cuban medical brigades to the Sahrawi refugee camps. Nearly 4,000 Sahrawi students had graduated from Cuban schools since 1977.Demographics of Western Sahara
All data about demographic information regarding Western Sahara is extremely error prone, regardless of source. Most countries take censuses every ten years, and some every five in order to stay abreast of change and miscounts; the last count was conducted in 1970, and even that data by colonial Spain is considered unreliable due to large nomadic populations.
Following the 1975 Green March, the Moroccan state has sponsored settlement schemes enticing thousands of Moroccans to move into the Moroccan-occupied part of Western Sahara (80% of the territory). By 2015, it was estimated that Moroccan settlers made up at least two thirds of the 500,000 inhabitants.Elections in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
Elections in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic gives information on election and election results in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic claims the Western Sahara, a territory largely administered by Morocco since Spain abandoned it in 1975. The sovereignty over Western Sahara is unresolved: the territory is contested by Morocco and Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro), which in February 1976 formally proclaimed a government-in-exile of the SADR. The United Nations, which considers Western Sahara a non-decolonized territory, is attempting to hold a referendum on the issue through the mission Minurso. The UN-administered cease-fire has been in effect since September 1991.
The SADR elects a legislature, the Sahrawi National Council (SNC), on a national level. The SNC, which is also referred to as the republic's parliament, has 51 members, elected after the General Popular Congress (GPC) of the Polisario Front. The 2012 election for the Sahrawi National Council took place between 19 February and 21 February 2012, with Khatri Addouh being reelected Speaker of the Council on 28 February. Elections take place within the framework of the Polisario Front, candidates are elected individually and no political parties are allowed. The 13th GPC was held in Tifariti in the so-called Free Zone between 15 December and 22 December 2011. The GPC also elects the National Secretariat, an executive organ of the Polisario, and its Secretary-General, who then becomes President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Present Secretary-General is Brahim Gali. Local and regional officials, and delegates to the GPC, are elected at biannual Popular Congresses (or Popular Base Congresses) in the refugee camps in Tindouf Province, Algeria.
The constitution of the SADR, proclaimed in 1976 and last amended in 1996, stipulates that the above-described system is an emergency mechanism that will be in place only for as long as Western Sahara is non-sovereign. After the creation of an independent Western Saharan state, a transformational period defined in the constitution will begin, ending with the installment of a multi-party system on European lines. The Polisario will then be dissolved or transformed into an ordinary political party.Flag of Western Sahara
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, commonly known as Western Sahara, uses a national flag consisting of a black, white and green horizontal tricolor charged with a red star and crescent in the center stripe and a red chevron at the hoist. It is used on Polisario-controlled areas, while the Moroccan flag is used on the rest of the occupied territory.
The flag is a combination of the Pan-Arab colors of black, green, white, and red, and the Islamic symbol of the star and crescent. On 27 February 1976 the flag was adopted as the official flag of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). It was slightly modified in June 1991. It is said to be designed by El Uali Mustapha Sayed, the first president of the SADR. This flag is commonly referred to as the "flag of Western Sahara".Islam in Western Sahara
According to the CIA World Factbook, Muslims make up almost 100 percent of the population of the Western Sahara.Kenya–Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic relations
Kenya–Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic relations are bilateral relations between the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and Kenya.Mexico–Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic relations
Mexico–Sahrawi Republic relations refers to the current and historical relations between Mexico and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Mexico recognized the SADR on 8 September 1979.Outline of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic:
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) – 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 its Southern Provinces. The SADR government considers the Moroccan-held territory to be an occupied territory.Palestine–Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic relations
Palestine and SADR do not exist official relations between two countries. Despite this, they have enjoyed a relatively fondness due to common struggles in both sides.Politics of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
The politics of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic refers to politics of the Polisario Front's proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic - an unrecognized country in North Africa, controlling parts of the Western Sahara region.
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic claims the whole Western Sahara, a territory most of which is currently administered by Morocco as the Southern Provinces. SADR control some part of the territory, called the Free Zone. Its government seats in Tindouf, Algeria.According to its constitution, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is a form of one-party state, as long as it is not in control of its territory. The organization backing the republic is the Polisario Front, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro (Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro), but it has declared that it will either transform into a normal political party among others, or split into several parties in the eventuality of an independent Western Sahara.President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
The President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is the head of state of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), a government in exile based in the Sahrawi refugee camps of Tindouf, Algeria.
From the declaration of independence on February 27, 1976 to August 1982, the head of state of the SADR was known as the Chairman of the Revolutionary Council. The office of the President of the SADR was established in August 1982, after a change in the constitution made by the fifth general congress of the Polisario Front, where it was decided the post were to be held by the Secretary-General of the Polisario. The first President was Mohamed Abdelaziz from August 1982 until his death in 2016.The powers of the presidency are extensive, and they have been subject to modification in various constitutional amendments, the last occurring in 1995.Prime Minister of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
The Prime Minister of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is the head of government of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), a government in exile based in the Sahrawi refugee camps of Tindouf, Algeria. The post of the prime minister has been held by Mohamed Wali Akeik since February 2018.Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic–Spain relations
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic–Spain relations refers to the current and historical relationship between the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (also known as Western Sahara) and Spain.Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic–Syria relations
The relationship between Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and Arab Republic of Syria is regarded as a close-range relations between two countries.Sahrawi National Council
The Sahrawi National Council (SNC) or Sahrawi Parliament is the legislature of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Its structure and competences are guided by the Constitution of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). The present speaker since 2010 is Khatri Addouh.It was first created by Polisario Front members and Sahrawi tribal notables as the Provisionary National Council in April or November 1975, after the proclamation of Guelta Zemmur. On February 27, 1976, POLISARIO leader El-Ouali Mustapha Sayed announced that the Council had declared the creation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, of which it became the first parliament. On the POLISARIO's III General Popular Congress (August 26–30, 1976), a newly elected membership was formally installed as the Sahrawi National Council.
The SNC is a unicameral body, with 53 seats, elected every two years (since the XIII POLISARIO Congress) at the General Popular Congresses by delegates from the Sahrawi refugee camps at Tindouf province, Algeria, supplemented by representatives of the Sahrawi People's Liberation Army and the civil society organizations (UJSARIO, UNMS, UGTSARIO). In the last election (2012), 35% of the parliamentarians were women. It usually convenes in Tifariti, at the Liberated Territories of Western Sahara, but on occasion also in the refugee camps.
Among the reforms enacted by the SNC is the abolishment of death penalty. In 1999, the SNC caused the fall of then Prime Ministers Mahfoud Ali Beiba government through a motion of no-confidence. The powers of the SNC were substantially expanded in the 1991 constitutional reforms of the SADR, and has since been further enhanced (last in 1999).
In its last election (2012), 158 candidates competed for 52 seats in 11 constituencies.Telecommunications in Western Sahara
Telecommunications in Western Sahara include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet.
Morocco claims the Western Sahara territory and administers Moroccan law through Moroccan institutions in the estimated 85 percent of the territory it controls. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario), an organization that has sought independence for the former Spanish territory since 1973, disputes Morocco’s claim to sovereignty over the territory. Because of this long running dispute, many traditional telecommunication statistics are not reported separately for the Western Sahara.Transport in Western Sahara
Transport in Western Sahara is very limited by sea, road and air with camels being the primary means of transport in the desert area. Road transport by buses remain the major mode of transportation. The longest conveyor belt in the world is 100 kilometres (62 mi) long, from the phosphate mines of Bu Craa to the coast south of Laayoune. The belt moves about 2,000 metric tons of rock containing phosphate every hour from the mines to El-Aaiun, where it is loaded and shipped.
Portions of Western Sahara were a Spanish Colony till 1975 as the last colonial province in Africa. A war erupted between those countries and the Sahrawi national liberation movement, the Polisario Front, which proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) with a government in exile in Tindouf, Algeria. Mauritania withdrew in 1979, and Morocco eventually secured control of most of the territory, including all the major cities and natural resources. With UN efforts ceasefire was implemented from 1997 between Polisario and Moroccan forces.
The world's longest cargo train, the Mauritania Railway cargo train, passes through Western Sahara for a small distance on the North eastern corner of Western Sahara to end at Nouadhibou. The transport through Western Sahara was seriously disrupted during the wars till 1997 between Polisaro and Moroccan forces, when ceasefire was established with UN effort.
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic articles
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Municipalities
|Municipalities of the |
Western Sahara articles
Countries and territories of North Africa
|Partially recognized state|
1Entirely claimed by both Morocco and the SADR. 2Spanish exclaves claimed by Morocco. 3Portuguese archipelago claimed by Spain. 4Disputed between Sudan and Egypt. 5Terra nullius located between Egypt and Sudan. 6Disputed between Sudan and South Sudan. 7Part of Chad, formerly claimed by Libya. 8Disputed between Morocco and Spain
|UN member states|
|UN observer states|
1 Unclear sovereignty.