The involvement of Algerian authorities in the embezzlement of humanitarian aid sent to the population held in the Polisario-run camps was once again denounced at the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee.
Omar Kadiri, a diplomat at Morocco’s permanent mission to the United Nations in New York, lambasted Algeria for its proven responsibility in the dilemma facing thousands in the Polisario-administered Tindouf camps in the Algerian territory.
Referring to international reports including a report issued by the EU’s anti-fraud office (OLAF) in 2015 that openly blamed the Algerian authorities and the Polisario for diverting humanitarian aid, the Moroccan diplomat deplored that humanitarian aid embezzlement in Algeria is a “well-organized” activity that has been running for years to the detriment of the population held against their will in the camps.
The Moroccan diplomat also deplored that Algeria has imposed a VAT on the aid sent by international donors to the Tindouf camps.
As a result of Algeria’s reluctance to ensure transparency in the delivery of aid to the targeted beneficiaries, the EU decided to reduce aid sent to these camps in a bid to curb humanitarian aid diversion, he said.
Actually, the European Commission decided to cut aid commensurately with the estimated number of 90,000 people instead of the inflated 165,000 people put forward by the Polisario and Algeria in an attempt to sell the idea of the existence of a “Sahrawi People” with a “republic” in exile.
The Moroccan diplomat also denounced Algeria’s reluctance to allow the UN refugee agency to conduct a census of the population held in the camps, adding that a head-count would enable aid agencies to determine the actual needs and avert sending aid that will end in the black market enriching corrupt Algerian and Polisario officials.
Carrying out a head-count of the population will also pave the way for the camps dwellers to obtain the refugee status. This will grant them the right to return to their homeland Morocco or at least the right to choose freely their country of asylum. Such options that Algeria and the Polisario dread the most as they continue to trade in the suffering of the Sahrawis living in abject conditions.