Morocco/Western Sahara: Whether the Polisario Front is active in El Ayoun and other cities in Western Sahara; whether the Polisario recruits young Sahrawis or Moroccans in El Ayoun and other cities; if so, whether the Polisario would resort to intimidation and harassment in the process of recruiting
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||20 September 2000|
|Citation / Document Symbol||ZZZ35230.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Morocco/Western Sahara: Whether the Polisario Front is active in El Ayoun and other cities in Western Sahara; whether the Polisario recruits young Sahrawis or Moroccans in El Ayoun and other cities; if so, whether the Polisario would resort to intimidation and harassment in the process of recruiting, 20 September 2000, ZZZ35230.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4bed11c.html [accessed 18 December 2014]|
In a 1 September 2000 telephone interview, the Polisario representative in Washington DC stated that the Polisario is present in the cities of Western Sahara but operates in the underground. The Polisario does not seek recruitment of young Sahraouis in the Western Saharan cities. Rather, young Sahraouis usually seek the Polisario and join the Polisario of their own will (ibid.). The whole territory of Western Sahara is sealed by the Moroccan armed forces and the police (ibid.). There are currently 150,000 Moroccan soldiers in Western Sahara, and the Moroccan paramilitary units and police are omnipresent (ibid.).
A 9 March 2000 Sahara Press Service (SPS) report quotes Madrid daily El Pais as saying that, following renewed Sahraouis protests in Western Sahara in early March 2000, the presence of Moroccan troops in El Ayoun was massive, that military patrols controlled identity papers, that truckloads of Moroccan soldiers were located in strategic areas in the city and that the Moroccan police had stepped up controls on the roads leading to the city of Smara and to the sea.
Country Reports 1999 states that:
Freedom of movement within 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.
Unofficial sources estimate that 70 per cent of El Ayoun's population is Morrocan (The Guardian Weekly/Le Monde 4 Nov. 1999).
No further information on the activities of the Polisario nor on the extent of Moroccan presence in Western Sahara could be found among the sources consulted 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 sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 1999. February 2000. United States Department of State. Washington, DC.
The Guardian Weekly [London]. 4 November 1999. Jean-Pierre Turquoi. "Intifada in El Ayoun."
La Lettre de la Fédération Internationale des droits de l'homme (FIDH) [Paris]. 1998-2000
Polisario Front. 1 September 2000. Telephone interview with representative in Washington, DC.
Sahara Press Service (SPS). 9 March 2000. "Le journal 'El Pais' réaffirme que la présence de l'armée marocaine a El Aaiun "demeure massive."
Additional Sources Consulted
Internet Sources including:
Amnesty International. Search facility
Fédération Internationale des droits del'Homme. Reports.
Human Rights Watch (HRW). Search facility
World News Connection (WNC). Search facility
Association marocaine des droits de l'homme (AMDH)
One oral sources could not provide information within the research deadlines.