Western Sahara: European Parliament Pressures Algeria

pe-bruxellesTwenty-four hours after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Western Sahara, the European Parliament demanded Algeria to allow the organization of a census of the Tindouf camps population in order to stop the diversion of international aid and the blackmail led by the Polisario on behalf of an impoverished population.

At a plenary session held Wednesday, April 29 in Strasbourg, the Members of the European Parliament adopted a resolution conditioning the continuation of the European humanitarian aid to the Tindouf camps to the holding of a census of the camps population. The MEPs’ angry response came following the scandalous misappropriation of international humanitarian aid revealed in January by OLAF.

In an explosive report, the European Anti-Fraud Office had actually revealed that the international humanitarian assistance to the Tindouf camps had been massively embezzled over several years.

The report documenting facts and figures was drafted after a lengthy investigation, which revealed that international humanitarian aid has been diverted by Algerian officials and leaders of the Algeria-backed Polisario, claiming the independence of Western Sahara.

The large-scale diversions were made at the expense of the Tindouf camps Sahrawi population, which is exploited as a means of pressure to get more assistance from the international community.

The European Parliament’s injunction is all the more embarrassing for Algiers as it came a day after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution also calling on Algeria to allow the organization of a census in Tindouf. The UN resolution, adopted unanimously, also ignored the request made by Algeria and the African Union to broaden the MINURSO mandate to human rights monitoring.

The rejection resounds like a disavowal and shows that the Security Council members became aware that Algeria’s human rights violations claims were primarily meant to derail the UN-sponsored political process. A new momentum was given to the settlement process in 2007, when Morocco proposed an autonomy plan for Western Sahara. The plan received broad international support.


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