Morocco has called on Algeria to assume its responsibility in the Western Sahara issue and to engage in the UN-led political process to solve the territorial dispute.
Morocco’s Minister of State in charge of Human Rights and Relations with Parliament, Mustafa Ramid, made the call on Monday, February 22, during the virtually-held 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
After reiterating Morocco’s support for the UN-led process, Ramid urged “the other parties to shoulder their responsibility and engage seriously and in good faith in the political process of the Round Tables, as stipulated in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.”
Morocco’s call came a few days after Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune challenged the Moroccan territorial integrity in a televised speech.
The Algerian leader claimed that the Western Sahara issue is a matter of “decolonization.”
“The Western Sahara is the last colony in Africa and the Sahrawi people need to exercise their right to self-determination,” he said.
In his speech on Monday, Ramid debunked the Algerian regime’s claims, saying that the development projects that Morocco has launched in its southern provinces strongly indicate the favorable living conditions that the local population enjoys.
However, the Moroccan minister deplored the conditions in the Polisario-run Tindouf refugee camps, in southwestern Algeria, where many Moroccans are still trapped and unable to return to Morocco.
“Some of our citizens who are still being held in Tindouf camps are living in tragic conditions that are inconsistent with human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Ramid alarmed.
He called on the international community to “urgently intervene to liberate the camps’ population, especially children who are being exploited and recruited in the form of militias, in flagrant violation of international charters and standards.”
Ramid recalled Morocco’s recent peaceful intervention to restore the flow of human and commercial traffic in the Guerguerat crossing point, on the Moroccan-Mauritanian border.
The crossing point “was obstructed through the exploitation of civilians by armed elements of the Polisario, in a flagrant defiance of the repeated calls of the UN Secretary-General and the decisions of the Security Council.
In addition to his calls for Algeria to assume responsibility in the conflict, Ramid used his speech to present some of Morocco’s achievements in the fields of human rights and social development.
He mentioned Morocco’s “exemplary” management of the COVID-19 crisis, the national vaccination campaign, and the ongoing project to generalize social security in the country in less than five years.
After the presentation, Ramid announced that Morocco has decided to run for membership in the UN Human Rights Council for the 2023-2025 term.
“Morocco’s candidacy has earned the support of the African Union, the Arab League, and a number of other regional groupings and friendly countries,” the minister said.