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Western Sahara Seeks to Expand UN Peacekeeping Mandate

While Morocco, backed by France, continues to fight the Sahrawi people’s struggle for greater self-determination, efforts are growing to monitor human rights in Western Sahara, writes Kaci Racelma.
A protester argues with police officers as he protests against U.S.-backed plans to broaden the mandate of UN peacekeepers in the disputed Western Sahara, in Casablanca April 22, 2013.   REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal (MOROCCO - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTXYW4L

The Kingdom of Morocco has been under significant pressure to expand the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, or MINURSO) to include a mechanism for monitoring human rights in Western Sahara. This initiative has dominated regional newspaper headlines, especially in Algeria, which has made it its new motto.

The MINURSO is first and foremost a UN-led peacekeeping operation in the region. It was established April 29, 1991, by UN Security Council resolution No. 690. At the time, the situation was hunky-dory, and things were great for Morocco.

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