A panoramic view of the Saharawi refugee camp of Smara. Algeria
Since 1975 Saharawis have been settled in refugee camps located in the Hammada Desert (Algeria), one of the hardest places on earth. As soon as the Moroccan occupation of the Western Sahara started and the vicious and bloody war diffused, more than 100,000 Saharawis made their way across the desert, under aerial bombardment, to Algeria, where they settled in five camps under the control of the Polisario Front (the Sahawaris’ national liberation movement), which had been created two years earlier to overthrow the Spanish colonial rule. Algeria effectively ceded control of the region to Polisario, allowing it to be run as a semi- autonomous province near the military town of Tindouf. 40 years passed, Saharawis still live in refugee camps with no real perspectives to return to their homeland, due to the passivity of the international community.