The Sahara’s Forgotten War
In 1975 the country of Spain withdrew from a 91 year long occupation of the Arab state of Western Sahara. The armies of Morocco and Mauritania then invaded the country. The mainly Bedouin population was forced into exile within the Algerian desert. For decades the Saharawi people have existed as a people under occupation who’s cultural exist is under thread from an internationally supported government, which openly displays a violent prejudice towards the Saharawi and their right for a free democratic state.
After decades in exile an infrastructure has developed that leads the world as a model of humanitarian aid distribution, open government and healthcare. The Saharawi are considered as Refugee status by the United Nations and are therefore provided with basic humanitarian aid by the international community. The camps operation is so effective that they are used a training ground for refugee management by a number of international NGOs.
80 Kilometres across the desert the war is in stalemate, although a ceasefire has been in place since 1991 troops on both side still man the sand wall boarder known as the Berm. The camps provide support for the soldiers and their families. Unable to return to their land the Saharawi have adapted to life in the desert and have created tented cities sharing the name of cities that remain under occupation.