At least 173,600 Sahrawi refugees are living in the five camps located in Tindouf province. Most refugees arrived since the escalation of the conflict in Western Sahara  in 1975 or were born in the camps. 90,000 of them are considered particularly vulnerable by UNHCR due to their heavy reliance on humanitarian assistance. Livelihood opportunities are limited in the camps, located in a remote desert area where temperature often reach 40 degrees Celsius between June and September.? 

Algeria is also a destination and transit country for migrants from sub-Saharan countries. At least 25,000 migrants were deported from Algeria in 2018. There is limited information regarding the profile or needs of those migrants when they arrive to Algeria. Most transit through Mali or Niger to find work in Algeria. Conditions in detention centres and during deportation are leading to protection concerns. West African migrants are often rounded up and dropped off in the desert, some 15-25 kilometers from the border with Niger or Mali, and forced to walk through harsh terrain without food or water.? 

Latest Developments

No recent significant humanitarian developments. This country is being monitored by our analysis team. Last checked 25/03

Key priorities

Food and Livelihoods: The remote location of the camps and the limited access to resources constrain employment opportunities and render the refugees dependent on humanitarian activities. Around 77% of the refugees in the Sahrawi camps rely on aid to meet their food needs.

Protection: Cases of abuse, sexual violence, and torture have been reported by migrants detained in Algeria before being deported. Migrants are frequently reported to have died in the desert between Algeria, Mali, and Niger.

Information Gaps and needs

  • Lack of detailed information on the migrant population living in Algeria and limited access to the detention centres.
  • The data on Sahrawi refugees has not been updated since 2017 and only captures the refugees living inside the camp. There is no information on the out-of-camp population.