Rabat – On Tuesday, Morocco’s Head of Affairs in Geneva, Hassan Boukili, condemned the continuous ignorance displayed by Algeria toward the Sahrawi populations living in Tindouf refugee camps.
Speaking at the 71st session of the Standing Committee of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Boukili emphasized that Morocco’s eastern neighbor is, “the only country to oppose the implementation of all the feasible solutions for the populations in the Tindouf camps.”
The 71st session is being held in Geneva from March 6-8th.
According to Boukili, Algeria is also the only country to impose “the implementation of an obsolete settlement plan that is definitely ruled out by the United Nations” on the Sahrawi populations.
The diplomat added that unlike other refugee host countries which generously committed to help and protect refugees, “Algeria is a unique case in the history of protecting and providing international assistance to refugees.”
Boukili added that Algeria, “has chosen to suffer an alleged situation of Sahrawi refugees, which is of its own creation.” He notes that the country is the only one to refuse to conduct a headcount of the populations in the Tindouf camps.
Algeria’s opposition totally the camps’ populations and resistance to their free return to Morocco, integration into Algeria, resettlement, and road to self-sufficiency confirm that the country is shirking its international responsibility. The little attention it gives to these populations is a humanitarian tragedy, according to Maghreb Arab Press.
In 2014, Morocco urged Algeria to conduct a population census in the Tindouf camps—a request that was not accepted by the eastern host country.
In recent remarks made during the 71st UNHCR’s session in Geneva, Boukili echoed what he had said during a high-level meeting of the Executive Committee of UNHCR in 2014.Boukili said that the “commitment for humanitarian assistance, protection, and sustainable solutions require the identification and registration of refugees,” noting that this prerequisite applied also to the populations in Tindouf camps (which remain the only non-registered global refugees).
Boukili has urged the international community to address the causes behind the persistence of refugee-related crises, including the militarization of Tindouf camps, and the exploitation of refugees to serve Algeria ’s separatist agenda.
The diplomat also expressed Morocco’s deep concern over the high number of refugees and internally-displaced persons in Africa, especially those in protracted situations.
During the 17th meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, several humanitarian NGOs and former Polisario officials urged Algeria to respect and meet its international responsibilities.