The Mozambique representative to the United Nations, Antonio Gumende called for concrete actions by the United Nations (UN) to enable the Saharawi people to exercise their right to self-determination. Speaking before the UN 4th Committee, he said that “the right to self-determination is an inalienable part of universal human rights. Denying the colonized is contrary to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and represents an obstacle to world peace, stability, cooperation and respect for human rights.”
He also regretted the existence of certain territories under foreign occupation, including Western Sahara, calling for “concrete actions on the part of the United Nations to allow the Sahrawi people to exercise their right to self-determination”.
“Mozambique supports the efforts of the international community, and in particular those of the African Union designed to hold the referendum on self-determination of the Sahrawi people postponed for so long,” he said.
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is a partially recognized state that controls a thin strip of 102,703 sq mi area in the Western Sahara region and claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. SADR was proclaimed on February 27, 1976, in Bir Lehlou, Western Sahara. The Saharawis are ethnically mixed descendants of Berbers, Arabs, and Black Africans. They speak an Arabic dialect called Hassaniya and have practiced Sunni Islam since the late 7th century.
The SADR government controls about 20–25% of the territory it claims which inhabits 502,585 people. It calls the territories under its control the Liberated Territories or the Free Zone. Morocco controls and administers the rest of the disputed territory and calls these lands its Southern Provinces. The SADR government considers the Moroccan-held territory to be occupied territory, while Morocco considers the much smaller SADR-held territory to be a buffer zone. The claimed capital of the SADR is El Aaiún, while the temporary capital (due to the placing of its government) is Tifariti.