The “Independent Human Rights Committee” (CIDH) and “Africa Culture International” organized Wednesday in Geneva a conference on “Human Rights Violations in the Tindouf Camps” on the side-lines of the 48th session of the Human Rights Council.
International human rights militants and representatives of civil society participated in this conference including Naji Moulay Lahcen and El Filali HAMMADI of CIDH, Ms. Nour Bouhanana, Head of the New Generation Foundation for Human Development, Mr. Zine El Abidine El Ouali President of AFORES, Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Gain, a University Professor, Mr. ABdul Ab Syed President of the World Humanitarian Drive, Ms. Khadijatou Mahmoud, Ms. Lemaadla El Kouri and Mr. Fadel Breika.
The president of the Sahrawi association against impunity in the camps of Tindouf, Lemaadla Mohamed Salem El-Koury, daughter of one of the victims of enforced disappearance in the Tindouf camps in southern Algeria, denounced “enforced disappearances and violations committed by the armed militia of the polisario in the polisario-controlled camps”, stressing “the full responsibility of the Algerian state in all these crimes perpetrated on its territory.”
134 cases of people missing or tortured in the prisons of Erraachid and Dhaybiya, by the Polisario and officers of Algerian intelligence services, have been identified by this association.
For his part, Human rights defender in the Tindouf camps and opponent to the polisario Fadel Breika denounced the “repression and serious abuses perpetrated by the separatist leaders against the population of the camps under the watch of Algeria.
For Khadijatou Mahmoud, a victim of rape by the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, said that this criminal is also guilty of committing crimes of rape against other women refugees in the camp of Tindouf.
CIDH Chairman Moulay Lahcen Naji said that the Sahrawi population in the camps suffers several forms of repression by the Algerian authorities, including lack of freedom of movement, arbitrary arrests, violation of civil and human rights as well as enforced disappearances (case of Ahmed Khalil).
Nour Bouhanana, Chief of the foundation “New Generation for Human Development” voiced serious concern over the massive recruitment of child soldiers among the militias of the Polisario Front. The camps’ children are recruited and indoctrinated without mercy and without any moral responsibility, she explained, denouncing this criminal and inhumane act deemed as “war crimes.
For his part, Filali El Hammadi said the Algerian regime is responsible for the death of young Sahrawi gold miners who were burned alive by Algerian soldiers, recalling the report of UNHCHR which called on the Algerian authorities to take “immediate and concrete measures to end the serious violations of economic, social, civil, political and cultural rights” of the Sahrawi inhabitants of the Tindouf camps.
Taking the floor, President of “AFORES” Zine el Abidine El Ouali slammed the polisario criminal acts including repression against opponents, reprisals, violence, threats, discrimination, pressure and arrests of human rights defenders and activists.
University professor, Abdelouahab Gain said that the greatest anomaly in this conflict is that Algeria seeks to maintain chaos in these camps and to delegate legal authority to the polisario to manage this territory, setting out a state of lawlessness.
The polisario uses its violation of the ceasefire as a pretext to further violate the rights of the inhabitants of the camps, he underlined.
The polisario offers fertile ground for transnational crime such as drug and arms trafficking and feeds terrorist networks in the Sahel, serving Algeria’s destabilizing plans threatening the whole region. The Algeria-backed mercenaries continue to violate the rights of the Sahrawis under unprecedented illegal extraterritoriality and a judicial vacuum wherein victims have no chance to get justice.
The discussion was crowned with recommendations addressed to the different international bodies in Geneva regarding the alarming human rights situation in the Tindouf camps, stressing the need to act quickly to stop the violations and to allow for a census of the Tindouf camp population.