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Sahrawi Dreams: The Western Sahara's ...
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

Sun, sand and patience abound for natives of the Western Sahara, many of whom have survived the last 38 years in the Algerian hamada thanks to international aid. In 1976, the independence movement, the Polisario Front, proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (RASD) in what is today called the Western Sahara just as Spain, the former colonial power, withdrew from the territory. This land has since been the subject of dispute between Mauritania and Morocco, the country which occupies almost all of it to date.

On 12 January 2007, Nicaragua joined the African Union and the 45 world nations which recognise the sovereignty of RASD. No European country either recognises the RASD as a sovereign entity, or the annexation carried out by Morocco. Meanwhile, 260,000 inhabitants of the Western Sahara are currently living in an effective no-man’s land claimed by Morocco. There, local institutions have no power and are not given any public assistance.

Neighbouring Algeria, a firm defender of Western Saharan independence, provides refuge to 160,000 Sahrawis in the desert surrounding the Algerian province of Tindouf. Isolated from the rest of the world, they depend on what the European NGO lorries take from the port of Oran to the south of the country. Here, a generation raised abroad is beginning to question how long it will be before a referendum is held. Many of these young men do not rule out returning to arms.

ARTICLE UPON REQUEST

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Saharawi Dreams 01
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

A Sahrawi woman looks through the gate of the 27th of February camp in Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 02
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

A woman walks through poat pens at the February 27th refugee camp in Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 03
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

Two woman cook a family meal at a Sahrawi refugee camp in Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 04
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

A man works at a construction site at sunset in Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 05
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

A woman prepares tea at the 27th of February camp, in Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 06
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

A woman prays at the Auserd refugee camp Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 07
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

A young man walks through the graveyard in the Esmara camp, Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 08
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

A man stands in front of his small shop in Esmara refugee camp, Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 09
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

A child plays near an acacia tree at Dajla camp, Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 10
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

Sahrawi men in a Land Rover in El Aaiún camp, Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 11
Western Sahara
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

Landscape near Tifariti in the Western Sahara, currently claimed as part of the 'buffer zone' by Morocco.

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Saharawi Dreams 12
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

Families from the refugee camps meet with other families from what they consider occupied territories in the Esmara camp in Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 13
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

A cemetery lies on the outskirts of Esmara refugee camp, Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 14
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

A man mutilated by war prepares tea in the room where he lives in the Rabuni refugee camp hospital in Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 15
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

A Sahrawi woman lives in the 27th of February camp in Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 16
Western Sahara
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

Haimas in Tifariti, in the Western Sahara, currently claimed as part of the 'buffer zone' by Morocco.

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Saharawi Dreams 17
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

Landscape near El Aaiun camp, Tindouf, Western Sahara.

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Saharawi Dreams 18
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

Tomatoes are grown in one of the greenhouses in the Dajla camp, Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 19
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

Young people talk across the fence at the Dajla camp in Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 20
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

A Sahrawi sits with is camel near the February 27th camp in Tindouf, Algeria.

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Saharawi Dreams 21
Tindouf, Algeria
By Ferran Garcia
24 Feb 2015

Young women walk around the February 27th camp in Tindouf, Algeria.

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Western Sahara 12
Tifariti, Morocco
By tclava
28 Nov 2014

Soldiers line up in rank and file near Tifariti, in the Moroccan "buffer zone."

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Western Sahara 18
Bir Lehlu, Morocco
By tclava
28 Nov 2014

Bir Lehlu is a village in the part of the Western Sahara claimed by Morocco.

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Western Sahara 11
Bir Lehlu, Morocco
By tclava
27 Nov 2014

A soldier waves back to his colleagues during a counter terrorism patrol in the Western Sahara desert.

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Western Sahara 13
Tifariti, Morocco
By tclava
27 Nov 2014

Counter terrorism patrols are carried out regularly in the areas of the Western Sahara where Moroccan-claimed land borders Algeria and Mauritania.

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Western Sahara 20
Bir Lehlu, Morocco
By tclava
27 Nov 2014

A decorative light in the shape of the Western Sahara hangs in the desert near Bir Lehlu.

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Western Sahara 09
Tindouf, Algeria
By tclava
26 Nov 2014

Containers full of aid are lined up in the desert near the Rabouni refugee camp.

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Western Sahara 17
Tindouf, Algeria
By tclava
26 Nov 2014

A man stands beside his broken-down car in the Rabouni camp.

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Western Sahara 19
Tindouf, Algeria
By tclava
25 Nov 2014

A woman dresses in festive attire and waves a Western Sahara flag during a rally for the independence of the Western Sahara.

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Western Sahara 03
Tindouf, Algeria
By tclava
25 Nov 2014

A Saharawi military parade is under way in the desert near the 27 February refugee camp.

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Western Sahara 04
Tindouf, Algeria
By tclava
25 Nov 2014

Women join the parade in support of independence for the Western Sahara.

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Western Sahara 05
Tindouf, Algeria
By tclava
25 Nov 2014

A soldier carries a SPLA flag near the Rabouni camp near Tindouf, Algeria.

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Western Sahara 01
Tindouf, Algeria
By tclava
24 Nov 2014

The Smara refugee camp in southern Algeria is home to thousands of Western Saharan refugees.

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Western Sahara 02
Tindouf, Algeria
By tclava
24 Nov 2014

Women sift through clothing at a street market in the Smara refugee camp.

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POLISARIO Soldier
Liberated Territories, Western Sahara
By Docphot
11 May 2011

This POLISARIO Solider stands in front of a converted Landcruiser which has been fitted with a heavy machine gun.