Souvenirs from Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is a disputed region on the western coast of Africa, with ties to colonial Spain and Morocco. Its primary purpose is to serve as a form of government to the Sahrawi refugee camps in the western area of Algeria and to the Western Sahara territories. It was first declared in 1976 in the city of Bir Lehu in the Western Sahara. Currently, this government is in de facto control of about 25% of its claimed territory, and considers the land held by Morocco to be under occupation. Visitors looking for souvenirs from the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic will find many examples of handicrafts from Northern Africa, including beautiful silver tea sets, embroidered shawls and tribal weapons, such as spears, knives and shields. Of course, you will also find T-shirts, postcards, key chains and magnets printed with images and names of local towns and landmarks in the markets.
The Political Situation of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
58 countries currently recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as the sovereign government of the Western Sahara. These countries can mostly be found in Africa and in other developing areas of the world. It is also a part of the Asian-Africa Strategic Partnership formed in 2005. The government is not recognized by the United Nations, but it is a member of the African Union, an action that caused Morocco to leave the organization in protest. The Arab League, which supports the integrity of Morocco's borders, has called for a solution to the situation which takes the needs of both sides into account. Regardless of a full lack of international acceptance, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic has participated in many countries' ceremonial events, such as the Central American Parliament's opening conference in 2010 and the 2006 Permanent Conference of Political Parties of the Latin American and the Caribbean. The country maintains embassies in 15 different countries.