An Evaluation of Morocco's Claims to Spain's Remaining Territories in Africa
Vol 61 International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 861
25 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2012 Last revised: 26 Oct 2012
Date Written: 2012
Ceuta, Melilla, Vélez de la Gomera, Alhucemas and the Chafarinas Islands are Spanish territories that lie along Morocco’s northern coastline. Morocco has claimed the territories since its independence in 1956. The sovereignty of a further territory, the islet of Perejil, remains unresolved after a military confrontation between Morocco and Spain in 2002. The author examines the arguments in the ongoing sovereignty dispute. Morocco’s claim to Ceuta and Melilla is found to be weak. However, its claim to the remaining territories may be supported by the analogous case of São João Baptista de Ajudá, an unpopulated Portuguese fortress territory in Dahomey (Benin) that was singled out for ‘statutory decolonization’ by the UN.
Keywords: Alhucemas, Ceuta, Chafarinas Islands, colonial enclaves, irredentist claims, Melilla, Perejil/Parsley Island, territorial integrity, Vélez de la Gomera.
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