The situation of unemployed Saharawis is a ticking time bomb.

This is what the unemployed who belong to the United Coordination of Unemployed Saharawis in Dakhla state in a press release. On 2 February 2023, fifteen unemployed started to move to the outskirts to demonstrate against marginalization. The Coordination’s spokesman explained in a video for a local website in Dakhla that after a year of dialogue with the authorities, which he described as a “rubber stamp dialogue”, they have only obtained a postponement of the problem.

 The unemployed want dialogue on a realistic basis in order to integrate into the labour market. The spokesman criticized Morocco’s policy in the Dakhla region.

Morocco has increased employment in the region to cope with the construction of the new port, “the port of the Atlantic”, but the new workers are settlers from the north while Saharawis are prevented from working.

On their banner is the slogan of the unemployed: “Dakhla, wealth, money, unemployment and negligence”. The unemployed wanted to settle outside the city and tried to set up a tent. The rally lasted only 24 hours. The police and auxiliary units intervened with force, dismantled the tent, and forced the unemployed to leave. They had previously fenced them in so that no one could reach them, but thus also preventing themselves from receiving food supplies.

On 6 February, the unemployed went to the local headquarters of the Regional Commission of the NHRC, the National Human Rights Council, to present their case to the President of the Commission, who listened to their complaints and testimonies, as well as details of their petitions.

The Coordination explained in a statement the racist policies, by which the rights of Saharawis are eliminated, as practised against the unemployed for years and for which there is no solution: the authorities refuse to discuss or positively welcome the issue. Therefore, the Coordination demands that their right to freedom of peaceful demonstration without intimidation and repression be respected. They are prepared to start a hunger strike at the NHRC Commission premises in Dakhla.

The unemployed do not want to politicize the issue but ask those responsible to solve their unemployment problem.

The NHRC president asked them for a week to convey her message. On 16 February, she requested through a representative of hers to extend the deadline by one month.


Such protests against the marginalization of the Saharawis by the occupying authorities also took place a few months ago in Smara.

On 21 September, a group of unemployed Saharawis from Smara went to the Sidahmed Laroussi neighbourhood, some 30 km from Smara, to stage a sit-in at the well of the very same name – Sidahmed Laroussi – which is 20 m deep. They have exhausted all means, in despair at the lies and false promises of the occupiers’ authorities. They protest against the marginalization of Saharawis and demand their right to work and housing.

These unemployed represent different sectors of society. The “cartilla”, an unemployment allowance, has been frozen by the authorities. The protesters also demand the return of blocked amounts.

Equipe Média, Occupied Western Sahara

El Aaiun, February 23, 2023

+ 212 658 202 554

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