Western Sahara: Europe-Based Sahrawis Denounce Diktat of Algiers, Polisario

abelaziz-bouteflika-430x400Young Sahrawis from the Tindouf camps who are settled in Europe and a number of African NGOs acting on behalf of a group for the defense of human rights under the banner of the Geneva-based Pan African Civil Society Platform have denounced the diktat imposed by the Polisario and the Algerian regime to the populations of Tindouf.

The African platform seized the opportunity of the current session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva to call on the international community to “stop equating the Sahara issue to a decolonization problem” at a time Morocco is proposing broad autonomy as a solution to the territorial dispute.

The call was launched on March 17 at the initiative of “the International Committee for the Respect and Application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights” (CIRAC), the “International Action for peace and development in the Great Lakes region” (AIPD) and the “Victorious Youth Movement”(VYM).

In the call launched from Geneva, the group underscored the need to “no longer handle the Sahara issue on the basis of obsolete patterns and outdated goals,” alluding to the Algeria-backed Polisario claims seeking the independence of Western Sahara.

The evidence collected on the ground clearly shows that Western Sahara is historically and legally part of Morocco, insisted the group, which has just dispatched a delegation for an information tour in the disputed territory, at the invitation of Sahrawi associations based in Laayoune, Dakhla and Boujdour.

The members of the delegation said they had seen firsthand how the people of the Southern Provinces are attached to their country and to their Moroccan citizenship. They accordingly invited the international community to “stop equating the Sahara issue to a decolonization problem.”

Relatedly, Europe-based young Sahrawis from Tindouf sent letters to the offices of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Paris, Madrid, New York, Stockholm, Geneva and Algiers raising the alarm over the worsening of already dire living conditions in the Tindouf camps and over the blockade imposed on the camps by the Algerian authorities and the Polisario Front.

The letters denounced with moult details the plight endured by the Sahrawis in Tindouf, where they are deprived of their most basic rights and of their freedom of expression and movement.

Since the beginning of the conflict in the early seventies of the past century, Algerian authorities have repeatedly refused to entrust the camps management to the UNHCR as they rejected the UN body’s multiple requests to conduct a census to identify these populations and their numbers.

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