Rabat – The UN Human Rights Committee (OHCHR) has denounced the human rights situation in the Polisario-run Tindouf camps, condemning Algeria for not bearing its responsibility towards victims of violations in the camps.
On the sidelines of the 38th session of the Human Rights Council, June 18 to July 6 in Geneva, an expert of the committee emphasized that Algeria is obliged to take good care and support “victims and witnesses of human rights violations.”
According to Morocco’s state-owned news agency Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), the committee heavily criticized the creation of a “parallel” governmental and jurisdictional system in the Polisario-run camps.
Slamming Algeria’s proxy Polisario, the committee noted that “the state party, in this case Algeria, has de facto transferred to Polisario its jurisdictional powers for the territories where the refugee camps were established in Tindouf.”
The committee also questioned whether Algeria is making efforts to end the situation. “What measures does Algeria envisage to put an end to this situation that is contrary to its general obligations requiring it to ensure respect for the rights guaranteed by the Covenant for all persons within its territorial and its jurisdiction.”
For decades, Algeria has been ignoring its responsibility in the four-decade conflict over Western Sahara, which led to a strong condemnation from both Morocco and the UN in April.
On April 28, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2414, which officially called on Algeria to be involved in the UN-led political process to find a solution to end the dispute over Western Sahara.
Recently, in conjunction with the illegal maneuvers of the Polisario Front east of Morocco’s defense wall, Morocco called for a population count in Tindouf camps as a prerequisite for sustainable solutions.
Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita reiterated Morocco’s call in his recent meeting with the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy Horst Köhler, who was on a 10-day visit in the region.
During his talks, Morocco stressed the need to pressure Algeria to authorize a census of inhabitants at the Tindouf camps.
The unbearable situation in the Tindouf camps made Sahrawis very concerned about their future.
In a recent op-ed, ex-police officer of the Polisario Front Mohamed Salma denounced the situation of Sahrawis in the Tindouf camps, emphasizing that “Algeria has been involved in the crime of preventing the return of the Sahrawis due to its security control over the borders of the camps.”
He added that Algerian authorities also were involved in the arrest of many Sahrawis who attempted to flee the camps and handed them to the separatist group.