The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was established by Security Council resolution 690 of 29 April 1991 in accordance with settlement proposals accepted on 30 August 1988 by Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Río de Oro (Frente POLISARIO).
The settlement plan, as approved by the Security Council, provided for a transitional period for the preparation of a referendum in which the people of Western Sahara would choose between independence and integration with Morocco.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General was to have sole and exclusive responsibility over matters relating to the referendum and was to be assisted in his tasks by an integrated group of civilian, military and civilian police personnel, to be known as the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara.
MINURSO was originally mandated in accordance with the settlement plan to:
While the organisation of the referendum has not been possible to date, other requirements of the mandate have been pursued successfully. MINURSO continues to perform the following tasks:
On an exceptional basis, MINURSO has been involved in providing assistance to irregular migrants as well as humanitarian help in case of natural disasters.