Western Sahara

Morocco has occupied Western Sahara since 1975. Decades later, tens of thousands of Saharawi people are still living in a state of siege and face appalling human rights abuses and repression.

In addition 165,000 refugees live on an inhospitable plain in the Sahara desert. Temperatures range from the scorching to the freezing, water is scarce, access to the outside world is difficult. The people of Western Sahara have been forced to live here, struggling to return to a homeland where they can determine their own future.

On 31 October 1975, Morocco and Mauritania invaded Western Sahara as Spain (the former colonial power) looked on. The Saharawi people were expelled from their homes by force, including the use of napalm. Most fled to the Algerian desert.

Mauritania withdrew its claim to Western Sahara in 1979 and left. But Morocco stayed. The Saharawi people declared their own Republic in exile, which is now recognised by 60 other states. Yet the world still refuses to uphold international law and bring the Occupation to an end.

We are campaigning for self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.

We urge the UK government to:

  • press the Moroccan government to accept international law and repeated UN Security Council resolutions enabling the Saharawi people to vote on the independence of Western Sahara
  • press the Moroccan government to respect human rights in the occupied territories of Western Sahara
  • provide a clear and positive lead in the UN Security Council in support of the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination
  • stop all arms sales to Morocco, until there is a sustainable peace agreement for Western Sahara.

Latest news

Reaction: UK abstention from UN vote on Protection of Palestinian Civilians

18 June 2018 - 11:15am
Responding to the UK's abstention from the UN General Assembly vote on the Protection of the Palestinian Civilian Population, War on Want's senior campaigner on militarism and security Ryvka Barnard, said: 
 
Read more

Press Comment: Pimlico Plumbers Supreme Court Ruling

13 June 2018 - 2:30pm
Responding to the Supreme Court judgement on the Pimlico Plumbers case, Owen Espley, labour rights campaigner at War on Want, says:
 
“New technology does not mean no rights. This is a victory for common sense and will benefit ordinary people all over the country who are denied basic rights such as holiday and sick pay. 
 
It is a stinging rebuke to the government for failing to uphold the law and forcing people to fight for their rights.
 
Read more

Join the conversation

Help workers win a stronger voice at work - support the by telling to recognise their union! https://t.co/KMHVOKLYEg 1 day 8 min ago
Stand up for Palestinian rights today: use our resources to learn and speak about the UK-Israel arms trade & what j… https://t.co/RWxCvS5L4v 1 day 19 hours ago
During the past 30 yrs of BP operations in Casanare, , 3000 trade union and community leaders – many voca… https://t.co/b6Vi36tir4 2 days 1 hour ago