This project was undertaken to achieve two goals:

  1. To capture the institutional and experiential memory of the UNHCR’s Confidence Building Measures programming for Sahrawi refugees that had not previously been systematically recorded.
  2. To explore the interests for humanitarian programming of refugees and regional stakeholders since the family visit flight program ended in 2014.

The project has three components, each designed to give a different perspective on Sahrawi refugees:

  • “A Frozen Conflict and a Humanitarian Program that Works” gives a technical background on the Sahrawi refugee context, and an overview of the programming conducted by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee’s (UNHCR) Confidence Building Measures (CBM) in the region.
  • “Flights Above the Fray” gives a human perspective for the experiences and personal impact that CBM’s family visit flights program had on Sahrawi refugees.
  • The video gives voice to refugees and UNHCR staff who participated in CBM’s family visit flights program, and gives a brief visual introduction to the Sahrawi people and places where they reside.
A frozen conflict and a humanitarian program that works: UNHCR’s confidence building measures in Western Sahara
Western Sahara Conflict humanitarian intervention
By Karen Jacobsen | November 2017

This report describes a relatively unknown humanitarian program that has addressed one of the saddest aspects of displacement – the separation of families. Between 2004 and 2014, UNHCR’s Confidence Building Measures...

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Flights Above the Fray: The experiences and uncertain future of UNHCR’s family visit program for Sahrawi refugees

Between 2004 and 2014, UNHCR’s Confidence Building Measures (CBM) program helped more than 20,000 refugees in the Tindouf desert camps of Algeria to visit their families. This report gives a human perspective of the experiences of Sahrawi refugees and their families.

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Reuniting Sahrawi Families
February 2018

When war over Western Sahara broke out in 1975, thousands of Sahrawi fled across the border to Algeria. Since then, the Sahrawi have lived in refugee camps outside Tindouf, Algeria...