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Algeria: Citizenship of persons born in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf; whether they have identity documents and/or a birth certificate; whether and how a person can leave Tindouf

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 18 July 2000
Citation / Document Symbol DZA34601.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Algeria: Citizenship of persons born in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf; whether they have identity documents and/or a birth certificate; whether and how a person can leave Tindouf, 18 July 2000, DZA34601.E, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

In a 8 June 2000 interview, a representative of the Polisario Front in Washington stated that Sahrawi people can get a birth certificate from the Sahrawi Ministry of Interior. Most Sahrawis (99 %) are born in the camps and very few in Tindouf. Every Sahrawi from the age of 18 has an identity card. He added that Sahrawis can travel with a Sahrawi passport in the countries which recognize the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). They can also get a courtesy passport from Algeria (ibid.).

The Association de soutien à un référendum libre et régulier au Sahara occidental (ARSO), an organisation based in Switzerland, stated that Sahrawis who are under the administration of the SADR receive all identity documents (11 June 2000).

ARSO explained as well that when a Sahrawi leaves the refugee camps, he is in Algerian territory. Since the area of Tindouf in Algeria is a military zone, the person will need permission from Algerian authorities to go to Béchar by air or by car (ibid.).

The representative of the Polisario explained that Tindouf is about 1,000 kms from Béchar. He could not see a good reason why a Sahrawi would go to Béchar. People would go to Algiers first (8 June 2000).

An article published in the Algerian newspaper Le Matin stresses the difficulties of travelling in the area of Tindouf. The national road 54 which links Tindouf to Béchar is deteriorated: 150 kms out of 800 would need to be repaired (6 June 2000).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please see below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this information request.

Association de soutien à un referendum libre et régulier (ARSO), Delemont, Switzerland. 11 June 2000. Correspondance.

Le Matin [Algiers]. 1 June 2000. S. I. "Tindouf, visite du ministre de la Pêche : les difficiles conditions du Sud". [Accessed 1 June 2000]

Representative of the Polisario Front, Washington. 8 June 2000. Telephone interview.

Additional Sources Consulted

Three oral sources were contacted but did not respond.

Internet sites including: (Maghreb Weekly Monitor) (Collectif d'initiatives pour la connaissance du Sahara Occidental) (Afapredesa site in Spanish) Lawyers Association for International Human Rights - Western Sahara)

Search engines including:

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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