World Refugee Day 2004: Algeria
In Tindouf, the celebration started in the morning of 20 June as refugees, representatives of implementing partners, UNHCR and local authorities gathered in the youth centre in L'auin camp. They then headed to the camp's farm to participate in the harvest of animal fodder.
In the evening, a final competition of football, basketball, volleyball and "Sega and Damma" enabled refugee youth to demonstrate their sports skills. This was followed by different exhibitions of handicrafts, drawings, sewing and wool work. Participants included the disabled as well as women and youth from several camps.
The Women's Centre, OLOF PALM, hosted the evening, which started with a speech by the governor who took the opportunity to express his people's gratitude to UNHCR and all aid agencies working with Sahrawi refugees. The Head of the Sahrawi Women Union (UNMS) also addressed the audience. Most of the speeches highlighted the plight and suffering of refugees in the world and gave thanks to the humanitarian assistance of UNHCR and its partners.
The speeches also expressed gratitude for the continued assistance and support received by the Algerian government. In a particular request, the Sahrawi refugees asked the UN agencies to assist them in finding a political solution to the conflict over Western Sahara so that they can return home in safety and dignity.
Refugee youth from L'auin, Awserd and Smarra camps gave musical performances.
Certificates were distributed to the graduates from L'auin youth centre. UNHCR also presented prizes to the winners of the various competitions, and honorary certificates to those who participated in organising the day.
In a gesture of recognition for UNHCR's work and assistance to the Sahrawi refugees, the governor presented an enormous wall painting depicting all the different UNHCR activities in the camp.
In Algiers, two TV programmes were broadcast, one about the refugee situation in the world and another on Palestinian refugees. A local newspaper also published an article citing the High Commissioner's message.