“The whole affair in the Polisario-run camps seems to be the result of an international scam to buy arms.”
Italian NGOs are calling on the international community to “reflect on the alarm bells that Morocco has been sounding for decades” over Polisario’s diversion and exploitation of humanitarian aid in the Tindouf camps.
In 2015, a report by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) exposed Polisario’s exploitation of EU humanitarian aid.
The EU granted €105 million for the benefit of the Tindouf camps’ population between 1994 and 2004. The OLAF report found that instead of using the aid to help those in need, Polisario used the funds to purchase arms.
Domenico Letizia, a member of the Board of Directors of Hands Off Cain, described the ongoing embezzlement as “very serious.”
“The whole affair in the Polisario-run camps seems to be the result of an international scam to buy arms. The purpose of the aid was humanitarian and not for the purchase of arms,” he stated.
Polisario’s continued aid diversion in Tindouf should “lead the international community to reflect on the alarm bells that Morocco has been sounding for decades,” he underlined.
Elio De Rosa, president of Life Odv, said Polisario’s diversion of “humanitarian aid intended for people who really need it is shameful.”
“Not only is the human tragedy of women and children living in disastrous conditions compounded as a result of this situation, but there is a threat to instability due to arms purchases with funds that should have been earmarked for humanitarian aid,” he said.
“Immediate action must be taken to control European aid diverted by Polisario and Algerian militias,” he stressed.
Letizia and De Rosa’s statements appear in an editorial on Italian website il Salto della Quaglia.
Shedding light on Polisario’s aid diversion
For several months, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have condemned the unchecked criminal activity in the Tindouf camps.
MEPs presented a draft resolution on July 9 denouncing the continued embezzlement of humanitarian aid in Tindouf, calling for an audit of European aid diverted by Polisario and Algeria.
The Taxpayers’ Association of Europe also urged the European Commission to respond to the ongoing embezzlement. In July, the federation of 29 national European taxpayers’ associations called on the Commission to launch an investigation into the diverted humanitarian aid.
Last month, the Moroccan delegation at a UNHCR meeting emphasized that Algeria, by blocking a census of the Tindouf camps and backing the Polisario Front, bears “full responsibility” for the diversion of humanitarian aid in the camps.