Archives show Sahrawis were masters of their territory

Boumerdes, August 13, 2018 (SPS) -The Spanish colonization archives on Western Sahara bear "irrefutable testimony" that the Sahrawis were masters of their territory, said Monday Teacher-researcher and legal expert in archives, Achour Sellal.

Speaking in a conference at the Summer University of the executives of the Polisario Front and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Sellal assured that these documents showed that the Sahrawis had the right to self-determination in accordance with the UN resolution 1514 of 1960.

“Dating back to the period before or after the Spanish colonization, these records are important for the Sahrawi State and UN institutions,” said the speaker.

In an exposé themed “SADR archives: Active and reactive memory,” Sellal stressed that “all these archives, notably those related to the Sahrawi population census, can be used as proofs in the country and abroad by the UN and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).” 

While calling on SADR leaders to defend and protect their territory, their history and their economic interests through these documents, Sellal stressed that "the Sahrawi archives kept in Spain could be the subject of international archival litigation."

In the same vein, he stated that Sahrawi authorities could demand from the international bodies concerned the legal and legitimate return of these written records.

Besides, the speaker stressed the need to reactivate these historical documents as they can be valuable "informational" resources in several areas.

In diplomacy for instance, Sellal said that Resolution 1514 of the UN General Assembly of 14 December 1960 allowed the use of archival documents relating to the colonial era.

In this regard, he assured that Sahrawi officials can have access to a series of archives including those on the census of Sahrawi populations conducted by the Spanish authorities in 1974 and all related data.

As regards economy, there are maps and plans on the exploitation of the mining industry and fishery resources during the Spanish colonial presence. They can be reactivated for economic and political purposes given that the Sahrawi territory contains coveted natural resources, he assured.

Studies showing that written records on the urbanization of the Sahrawi territory have existed for a very long time, recalled Sellal. (SPS)