New PhD thesis: the role of Minurso in Western Sahara – Meriem Naïli
NAILI Meriem, Peacekeeping and International Human Rights Law: Interrogating United Nations Mechanisms through a Study of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, PhD Dissertation, defended on 5 May 2022, Supervisors : Dr Irene Fernandez-Molina & Dr Aurel Sari, University of Exeter
Abstract: The UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was created by UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 690 in 1991. This resolution provided for the appointment of a Special Representative, the declaration of a cease-fire and the organisation of a self-determination referendum on the status of the territory, i.e. independence or integration with Morocco, which had invaded it in 1975. Since then, the UNSC has extended MINURSO’s mandate 58 times without incorporating any human rights monitoring and/or reporting components nor any support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). As such, MINURSO stands out as the only post-Cold War multidimensional UN peacekeeping operation (PKO) deprived of a human rights dimension. To date, no referendum has been organised and the mission is still in place.
This research project examines whether a relationship exists between human rights components in UN peacekeeping, or the absence thereof, and conflict (ir)resolution with a focus on the case of a self-determination conflict such as Western Sahara. Besides shedding more light on the conflict in Western Sahara, the thesis aims to empirically explore the human rights protection-peacekeeping conflict resolution nexus in this deviant single case study. It further investigates a possible remedy using the relevant legal methodology tools and proposes final recommendations at policy level.