The EU, Civil Society and Conflict Transformation in Western Sahara: The Failure of Disengagement

MICROCON Policy Working Paper No. 13

32 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2010

See all articles by Hakim Darbouche

Hakim Darbouche

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Silvia Colombo

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: June 29, 2010

Abstract

The protracted Western Sahara dispute, which has for over three decades pitted Morocco against the Sahrawi independentistas of the Polisario Front, epitomises the impotence of state-led conflict resolution efforts. The European Union (EU) has voluntarily remained withdrawn from the processes of transformation of this southern neighbourhood conflict, unable to surpass the politics of its inherent inter-governmentalism. This paper examines the alternative role played by local civil society organisations (CSO) in the transformation of the Western Sahara conflict. It analyses the input of a methodologically-informed selection of Moroccan and Sahrawi CSOs with a view to identifying the potential of more effectual EU involvement in the dispute, notably through cooperation with the relevant CSOs. The findings of this study point to the overwhelmingly fuelling role played by local CSOs in this particular conflict, but identify ways in which more peace-building civil actors could be empowered by the EU. These CSOs are often of grass-root origins with little or no links to the establishments on both sides of the conflict.

Suggested Citation

Darbouche, Hakim and Colombo, Silvia, The EU, Civil Society and Conflict Transformation in Western Sahara: The Failure of Disengagement (June 29, 2010). MICROCON Policy Working Paper No. 13, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1650607 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1650607

Hakim Darbouche (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Silvia Colombo

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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