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Morocco to Compensate Former Prisoners of War in Tindouf Camps

The move comes as Morocco strives to consolidate its democratic reforms and improve its human rights record.

Rabat – Morocco’s Human Rights Council (CNDH) has issued new decisions in favor of hundreds of victims of serious human rights violations between 1956 and 1999. 

In a statement on Sunday, August 4, CNDH said the decision is consistent with King Mohammed VI’ instructions  that reports and accusations of severe human rights abuses be adequately addressed. 

While the time frame of the decision explicit mentioned 1956 and 1999, which was before King Mohammed VI’s ascension to the throne, CNDH promised it would continue the work for the following years to give Morocco a clean record on human rights. .

Also concerned with the measures, according to the statement, are victims of Polisario’s kidnappings. 

CNDH said in its statement that 624  people will benefit of the compensation operation among whom 80 people who were the subject of serious crimes and human rights abuses  by the Polisario Front.

The statement added the CNDH has allocated mobilized nearly  MAD 87 million to compensate victims of human rights abuses. 

CNDH said that the new procedure is in accordance with the standards and criteria of the Final Report of the Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER).

“On January 6, 2006 his majesty King Mohammed VI tasked the Consultative Council, the now-National Council for Human Rights, to follow up the implementation of the recommendations of the Equity and Reconciliation commission, including those relating to reparation, financial compensation, social inclusion, administrative and financial adjustment, and health coverage,” the statement recalled.

The Polisario Front has long been linked to kidnapping accusations.

On August 4, 2003, NGO  France Libèrtés issued a report on  conditions of detentions of Moroccan prisoners held in Polisario’s prisons since between 1975 and 2003. The 52-page report documents the serious violations of human rights that the Polisario inflicted on Moroccan war prisoners.

“Until the 1980s, the guards would whip the prisoners with electric cables when they were being too slow, or just to terrorize them. They were constantly beaten and humiliated,” reads the report.In November 2003, the Polisario released 300 Moroccan prisoners of war and in August 2005 it released the 404 Moroccan prisoners of war following a UN mediation. Most of Moroccan prisoners had been held in horrendous conditions for over two decades. 

A report conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Committee (OLAF) between 2003 and 2005 but released only in 2015 shows that Polisario subjected Moroccan prisoners of war to forced labor. According to the findings of the report, Moroccan prisoners of war participated in building the bulk of infrastructure in the Tindouf camps, which was funded by international donors. 

In addition to inflicting unbearable and reprehensible human rights abuses on Moroccan prisoners of war, the Polisario used them as free labor in their large-scale embezzlement of humanitarian assistance destined for the Tindouf camps.