Visiting Algeria’s refugee community

BY Larisa Epatko  October 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM EST

Photo of Dakhla refugee camp by Elisa Santafe/AFP/Getty Images

Last winter, the PBS NewsHour went to Western Sahara, a disputed territory of Morocco in northern Africa, to learn about the slow-burning conflict that pits Moroccans against the Sahrawis seeking their independence.

The International Women’s Media Foundation arranged the trip for a group of U.S. journalists. This month, the journalists with the IWMF are going to the refugee camps in western Algeria where Sahrawis, who don’t want to be under Moroccan control, now live.

The camps in Algeria’s Tindouf province have been around since 1976 when Spain gave up its colonial claim on Western Sahara and the Moroccans and Sahrawis battled for control. Those wanting to escape the violence fled to the camps. The Polisario Front, which is in charge of the independence movement, governs them.

The group will be visiting Oct. 7-13 when the most isolated of the four camps, Dakhla, hosts an international film festival, called FiSahara. In its 10th year, the festival is meant to draw attention to the Sahrawis’ cause and bring a cultural experience to those living in such a remote place.


Updated: Read more about the film festival and life in the Polisario-run camps. See all of the reports in the Forgotten People series.