Sahrawi women hold Polisario Front's flags Farouk Batiche/AFP/Getty Images

Décoloniser le Sahara occidental

BIR LAHLOU, SAHARA OCCIDENTAL – Au moment de son annexion par le Maroc en 1975, le Sahara occidental était sous le contrôle de l’Espagne depuis près d’un siècle. Mais alors que son emprise faiblissait dans les derniers jours de la dictature de Franco, et au lieu de permettre un processus de décolonisation, l’Espagne a signé un accord tripartite, les Accords de Madrid, avec le Maroc et la Mauritanie qui se sont empressés d’annexer le territoire. En 1979, la Mauritanie a renoncé à toute prétention sur le Sahara Occidental, contrairement au Maroc.

Le statut juridique du Sahara occidental est sans équivoque. En 1963, il a été reconnu comme un Territoire non autonome par l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies conformément aux principes énoncés dans la Charte des Nations unies – un statut qu’il conserve aujourd’hui. Le Sahara occidental est, en bref, la dernière colonie en Afrique. En 1975, la Cour internationale de justice (CIJ) a affirmé le droit du peuple sahraoui à l’autodétermination et n’a retenu aucun lien de souveraineté territoriale entre le Maroc et le Sahara occidental.

Le Maroc continue pourtant d’occuper en toute impunité le Sahara occidental depuis plus de 40 ans. Et comme souvent dans le cas d’une occupation militaire étrangère, le Maroc a fait valoir ses revendications territoriales au moyen d’une répression cruelle, du déni systématique des droits humains fondamentaux et de tentatives de modification de l’équilibre démographique – tout en pillant les ressources naturelles du Sahara occidental.

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