Rabat – In a tense human rights debate, a Moroccan delegation broke its silence in Geneva on Thursday, denouncing the hostility displayed by Algeria against “Morocco and its Sahara,” according to Morocco’s Head of Affairs in Geneva Hassan Boukili.
“The Moroccan delegation deplores the hostility that Algeria has established against Morocco and its Sahara,” said Boukili during a debate with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein.
The statements made by Boukili came in response to “the lies” made by the Algerian ambassador on human rights in the Saharan provinces of Morocco during the 37th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council held in Geneva, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).
“We regret the insistence of Algeria to pollute the Council’s debates by referring to its political dispute with Morocco over the Moroccan Sahara,” said Boukili. The Moroccan diplomat added that “the only thing left to be decolonized in our region, is the state of mind of the Algerian diplomacy with regard to Morocco and its territorial integrity.”
Boukili added that Algeria is not in the right position to give Morocco lessons in democracy and human rights.
“It must first sweep in front of its doors and respond to the autonomist demands of the Kabyle populations and Mozabites, whose activists are persecuted, tortured, imprisoned and forced into silence or exile.”
Kabyle and Mozabite people are two minority groups in Algeria; Kabyle people are native to Kabylia in the north of Algeria, one hundred miles east of Algiers, while Mozabite inhabit the M’zab region in the northern Sahara. The Kabyle population represents the largest Amazigh-speaking population in Algeria.
Boukili added that Algeria “has no credibility to discuss human rights, because of past and present grave crimes and violations of human rights under its full responsibility in the Tindouf camps.”
Boukili recalled that Algeria remains the only country in the Maghreb to prevent Algerian activists from attending the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Boukili also referred to the inhumane situation facing many sub-Saharan migrants in Algeria.
In this regard, the Moroccan diplomat asked the High Commissioner for Human Rights to directly confront Algeria about its multiple human rights violations, including its responsibility for the violations in the Tindouf camps.
On March 2, the Moroccan diplomat addressed the human rights issues that the Sahrawi populations suffer in the 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 was held in Geneva March 6-8.
The diplomat stressed that, unlike other refugee host countries that generously commit to help and protect refugees, “Algeria is a unique case and a unique situation 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 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.