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Morocco: Whether a person can travel from Western Sahara to the northern part of Morocco; whether documents are necessary; if so, what documents; whether there are roadblocks and a military or police presence on the "border" between Western Sahara and Morocco; whether one can travel from and to Western Sahara and avoid the roadblocks; whether there is a Polisario Front presence on the "border" between Western Sahara and the northern part of Morocco; if so, whether it exists permanently in the form of roadblocks; whether a person can avoid such roadblocks; whether it is difficult for a Sahrawi to travel from Western Sahara to the northern part of Morocco

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 11 June 2001
Citation / Document Symbol MAR36888.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Morocco: Whether a person can travel from Western Sahara to the northern part of Morocco; whether documents are necessary; if so, what documents; whether there are roadblocks and a military or police presence on the "border" between Western Sahara and Morocco; whether one can travel from and to Western Sahara and avoid the roadblocks; whether there is a Polisario Front presence on the "border" between Western Sahara and the northern part of Morocco; if so, whether it exists permanently in the form of roadblocks; whether a person can avoid such roadblocks; whether it is difficult for a Sahrawi to travel from Western Sahara to the northern part of Morocco, 11 June 2001, MAR36888.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be6628.html [accessed 22 October 2014]
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.

The Lonely Planet guide to Morocco gives the following information about travelling from the nothern part of Morocco to the Western Sahara: "Apart from the endless police roadblocks and checks, going south to Dakhla [south of Western Sahara] is now a routine affair" ( 1998, 448).

The following information on the freedom of movement can be found in the Country Reports for 2000.

Freedom of movement within the Western Sahara is limited in militarily sensitive areas, both within the area controlled by the Government of Morocco and the area controlled by the Polisario. Both Moroccan and Polisario security forces sometimes subject travelers to arbitrary questioning. There were no reports of detention for prolonged periods during the year (2001).

In 1999, a journalist from the left-leaning French newspaper l'Humanité stated that since 1975, Morocco had brought 200 000 members of the Moroccon security forces to Western Sahara (25 Nov. 1999). According to the same article, Laayoune is a city "under siege": there are frequent checks by the police and the military of all cars and trucks (ibid.). An "S" appears on the national identity card of the Sahrawis (ibid.). Most of the Sahrawis do not have passports as it is issued to them only on very special occasions (ibid.). L'Humanité states as well that it is very risky for Sahrawis to leave Western Sahara (ibid.). The newspaper does not give more details on this topic.

No information on whether you can avoid these roadblocks, on the presence of the Polisario Front at the "border" between Western Sahara and the northern part of Morocco could be found by the Research Directorate.

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 find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999. 2000. United States Department of State. Washington, DC. [Accessed 1 June 2001]

Lonely Planet. 1998. Gordon Frances Linzee and alt. Morocco. Hawthorn, Australia: Lonely Planet.

L'Humanité [Paris]. 29 November 1999. "Enquête. Le Sahara occidental à la veille du référendum d'autodétarmination sous l'égide de l'ONU." [Accessed 1 June 2001]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases

The Middle East [London].

Middle East International [London/New York].

Middle East Report [Washington].

Mideast Mirror [London].

Monde arabe Maghreb-Machrek [Paris].

Two oral sources did not have information on the topic.

Three sources did not respond to information request.

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Arso-Association de soutien à un référendum libre et régulier au Sahara occidental

Association marocaine des droits de l'homme

Centre Europe Tiers-monde

FIDH

Home Office-Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Human Rights Watch

Index on Africa: Western Sahara

Le Courrier international

Le Monde diplomatique

Lonely Planet

News/Middle East News Online

Sahara Press Service

Washingtonpost.com

Western Sahara Travel Guide

Western Sahara Weekly

Western Sahara/Sahara occidental

Search engines including:

Google

Metacrawler

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 http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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