A territory lying in North-Western Africa, Western Sahara borders Morocco in the north, Algeria in the north-east, Mauritania in the east and in the south, and its north-western coast borders the Atlantic Ocean. After World War 2, it was a Spanish province and when it won independence in 1956, Morocco demanded that Western Sahara should be “liberated”. In 1963, following the passing of the information by Spain, on the basis of Article 73 of the Charter of the United Nations, the UN entered Western Sahara in the list of areas which were not governed independently.
Western Sahara has remained entered on the UN list of dependent (non-self governing) territories since 1963, that is in the understanding of Article 73 of the Charter of the United Nations, according to which:
“Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories”.
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was proclaimed on 27 February 1976 to fill the legal vacuum in the context of Spain’s unfulfilled obligation to lead the territory of Western Sahara to its decolonisation, and the withdrawal of the Spanish administration from the territory. Following Spain’s withdrawal, Western Sahara was invaded militarily by Morocco and Mauritania.