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“SOS Camps of Tindouf”: New call for the opening of an international investigation

Several associative actors launched yesterday, Monday, April 15, 2019 in Rabat, a call for the immediate opening of an international investigation on the human rights violations committed in the Tindouf camps.

In their final declaration at the end of a communication meeting initiated by the NGO “SOS camps of Tindouf”, the participants seized the various regional and international parties concerned with the protection of human rights to condemn the abuses against Moroccans in Lahmada. In this regard, they pointed to degrading practices that undermine human rights, especially enforced disappearances, exile and torture in Polisario detention camps with the blessing of Algeria.

The speakers also insisted on the imperative for Moroccan and international human rights organizations to formally incorporate into their programs and agendas actions aimed at drawing attention to the abuses suffered by Moroccan Saharawis in the Tindouf camps. In their view, special attention should be paid to the diversion of humanitarian aid for them, while stressing the need for international control of the aid distribution process.

It also calls on public and semi-public institutions, political actors as well as civil society to work within the framework of international legal channels so that Moroccan humanitarian aid can reach the Saharawi besieged in the Lahmada camps, they noted. International governmental and non-governmental organizations, in particular the United Nations, must assume their responsibility in terms of the protection of human rights in this desert area, particularly in the light of the circumstances currently prevailing in Algeria.

On this occasion, the president of the NGO “SOS Camps of Tindouf”, Sidi Mohamed Cheikh Ismaaili, said that the Sahrawis have lived for more than 40 years in difficult conditions, at the social, economic and psychological, in the total absence of freedom of expression, displacement and work, noting that opponents of the polisario face exile, arrest, torture and murder.

International humanitarian aid for the Tindouf camps is mainly for Polisario leadership, and is marketed in the black markets of neighboring countries, he said, explaining that given these circumstances, the NGO is committed to implementing a series of actions to raise international public awareness and alleviate the suffering of these forgotten populations.

For his part, the former teacher in the Tindouf camps, currently president of the Equal Opportunities and Equality Authority in the Provincial Council of the city of Es-Smara, Mohamed Lamine Ragueb, placed the focus on the unsustainable living conditions of women and children, indicating that the number of Sahrawis in the camps remains unknown because of the refusal of the Algerian authorities to identify them.

The authors of the call believe that it is time that our brothers detained in the Lahmada camps can join their families and loved ones to live in dignity and contribute to the success of the new model of development initiated under the leadership of the King Mohammed VI.

“SOS Camps of Tindouf” is an NGO that provides direct and indirect humanitarian aid to Sahrawis in these camps, the objective being to promote the total lifting of the blockade and put the Sahrawi sequestered in direct relationship with the outside world.

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