Morocco's Proposed Formula For Sahara Could Be A Way Forward For Human Rights In MENA (Chatham House)
Chatham House, home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, lauded the approach based on building economic and social progress put forward by Morocco to settle the Sahara issue, stressing that it "could be a way forward for human rights in the Middle East and North Africa."
Describing this formula as "innovative", the British institute recalls that HM "the King proposed giving new impetus to a large-scale plan of ‘megaprojects’ in the Sahara to invest in jobs, equal access to resources and better infrastructure as a means of improving human rights through socio-economic means.
"This is consistent with regional autonomy plans proposed in 2011 for the whole of Morocco; for the Sahara", writes Head, Middle East and North Africa Programme expert , Claire Spencer
The expert argues that focusing on improvements to local living standards, if accompanied by improvements in policing and local judicial processes, "might also keep the Sahara’s youthful population from becoming embroiled in the new regional security threats emerging from the Mali crisis and the terrorist attack on the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria in early 2013."
She also notes that "if Morocco’s leaders were encouraged to address the economic and social needs of the Saharan population prior to moving towards a more balanced political process, then this could provide the US and Europe with a new set of incentives to break out of current UN deadlocks over Western Sahara’s legal status."
"Above all, she goes on, it would link developments on the ground with the realization of UN-sanctioned objectives to improve conditions in the territory, and would situate these developments within the context of wider regional security concerns."