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International Law's Objects$
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Jessie Hohmann and Daniel Joyce

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198798200

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198798200.001.0001

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Western Sahara Boundary Marker

Western Sahara Boundary Marker

(p.529) 39 Western Sahara Boundary Marker
International Law's Objects

Jeffrey J Smith

Oxford University Press

In a remote part of Africa, a boundary marker can be found where the frontiers of Algeria, Mauritania, and Western Sahara meet. It marks the entry to the liberated zone of the Saharawi people’s homeland and presumptive state. The marker is a reminder of the role of territory in modern international law and law’s unfinished business of the self-determination of colonized peoples. The role of territory and boundaries in international law is considered. The paradoxes in law of the particular circumstances of a partly occupied Western Sahara, where its people constitute themselves both as national liberation movement and state, are addressed. The idea of national identity informing a desired marking of terrestrial space with certainty is explored. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the role of the border in a Westphalian system of law.

Keywords:   territory, sovereignty, boundary, frontier, Western Sahara, international law, symbol, Westphalian system, Saharawi

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