The International Observatory on Statelessness


Between the Spanish withdrawal in 1976 and the Moroccan annexation of Western Sahara in 1979, an estimated 110,000-155,000 Sahrawis sought refuge in Algeria. Most of these individuals continue to reside in four camps near Tindouf, a historic oasis town in southern Algeria. They have been stateless for about 32 years, and Morocco, which continues to occupy the territory, has prevented efforts by the United Nations to allow the Sahrawis to participate in an independence referendum. Furthermore, because Algerian citizenship is derived exclusively from the father, children of an Algerian mother and a refugee father are not eligible for Algerian citizenship.