Dakhla, Western Sahara. Editorial credit: Cesare Palma / Shutterstock.com

Western Sahara*

Morocco has claimed authority over Western Sahara since 1975, but the United Nations does not recognize Morocco’s control, calling Western Sahara a “non-self-governing territory.” Morocco controls the most populous area along the Atlantic coastline, more than three-quarters of the territory. While the United Nations brokered a cease-fire in 1991, a long-promised referendum on the territory’s status has yet to be held. The Moroccan-controlled area, which Morocco calls the “Southern Provinces,” is represented in the Moroccan parliament. However, civil liberties are severely restricted, particularly as they relate to independence activism.

FIW 2021 crop 2 cover photo

Freedom in the World — Western Sahara Territory Report

Western Sahara is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide. 

News & Perspectives on Western Sahara

* Indicates a territory as opposed to an independent country.