UN: Human Rights Violations in Tindouf Camps Condemned in New York

The blatant human rights violations in Tindouf camps, south-west Algeria, were strongly denounced at the regular session of the UN Committee of 24 (C24), held on June 11-21 in New York.

“Tindouf camps have become a brutal symbol of human suffering, where abuse, repression, extreme poverty and malnutrition are the norm rather than the exception,” said Khadija Ezaoui, a native of Laâyoune.

She noted that the humanitarian aid intended for the sequestered population in these camps is diverted to be sold on the markets of neighboring countries rather than being channeled to those who need it most, adding that the leaders of the "polisario" armed separatist movement engage in the systematic embezzlment of this aid with the active complicity of Algeria.

She cited the latest revelations from the World Food Programme (WFP) in its January 2023 report entitled "Summary report on the evaluation of the provisional strategic plan for Algeria (2019-2022)" and the 2015 report from the European Anti-Fraud Office. 

"The evidence provided by the WFP leaves no room for doubt, clearly establishing the embezzlment of essential foodstuffs, including cookies intended for children as part of humanitarian aid", she denounced, adding that these foodstuffs are sold on local markets in Tindouf, outside the camps and in neighboring countries.

Ezaoui pointed out that the WFP had highlighted the obstruction of the access of UN specialized agencies to Tindouf camps and the bias inherent in the distribution of humanitarian aid orchestrated by the armed group "polisario".

“This shocking situation is due to the fact that Algeria did not allow the UNHCR to register the population held hostage in Tindouf camps, in accordance with its mandate and the resolutions of the UN Security Council," she reported, noting that the sequestered population of these camps continue to live in a "zone of total anarchy", marked by multiple human rights violations, at a time when Algeria has delegated its authority over the camps to the "polisario".

On this matter, she pointed out that the UN Human Rights Committee had repeatedly expressed its serious concerns about this illegal delegation of powers, adding that these same concerns had been echoed by the UN Secretary-General in his report to the Security Council.

Ezaoui also condemned the abuses and exactions endured by the population sequestered in the Tindouf camps when they claim their legitimate rights, adding that cases of slavery have been denounced by several NGOs and media outlets.

“When the sequestered population dare to raise their voices against the exactions perpetrated by Algeria and the +polisario+, their legitimate demands are met with brutality and repression,” she said, citing the recent case of three individuals who were victims of arbitrary detention and torture at the hands of the "polisario".

She also pointed out that the same fate applies to women who are subjected to various forms of violence by Algeria and its "polisario" puppet, stressing that this situation calls for an immediate international response.

She called on the international community "to act swiftly and decisively to put an end to this humanitarian catastrophe, and to hold Algeria to account for its refusal to respond to the urgent and forceful calls of Security Council resolutions to register the population held hostage in Tindouf camps.”

To her, the only solution to this disastrous situation is the safe and dignified return of the population sequestered in Tindouf camps, through the implementation of the Moroccan autonomy plan.

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