5 March 2016 – Calling to alleviate the plight of Sahrawi refugees in Algeria who are dealing with an “unacceptable situation,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said the parties to the Western Sahara conflict have not made any real progress in the negotiations towards a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution.
“What really moved and, even, saddened me was the anger. Many people expressed their anger –people who for more than forty years have lived in the harshest conditions and who feel their plight and their cause have been forgotten by the world,” Mr. Ban told the press after meeting with refugees and youth representatives at Smara camp, and later with the Polisario Front’s Secretary-General Mohamed Abdelaziz.
Fighting broke out between Morocco and the Polisario Front following the end of Spain’s colonial administration of Western Sahara in 1976. A ceasefire was reached in September 1991, and a UN mission—known as MINURSO—has been tasked with monitoring this ceasefire and organizing a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara, which the Security Council has been requesting since 2004.