Morocco urges UNHCR to pressure Algeria to lift blockade on Tindouf camps

Morocco urges UNHCR to pressure Algeria to lift blockade on Tindouf camps

Morocco has reiterated its call on the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) to put pressure on Algeria to lift its blockade on the Tindouf camps where it has relegated the fate of thousands of Sahraouis to a separatist militia that trades in their suffering.

Speaking before the 80th meeting of the UNHCR Standing Committee, Morocco’s representative to the UN in Geneva Omar Zniber enumerated multiple facets of Algeria’s violation of human rights in the Tindouf camps saying that Algiers “should stop all its attempts to block humanitarian access to the camps.”

He said Algeria cannot continue to deny its responsibility regarding the humanitarian situation in the camps on its territory, pointing out to recent attacks against civilians and UN staff alike.

Last October, armed men stormed into the office of the UNHCR in Rabouni, vandalized equipment and tore out the UN refugee agency flag in a provocative act in full sight of Algerian authorities and Polisario separatist militias.

Zniber also stressed the need for Algeria to assume its legal responsibilities regarding the human rights violations committed by an armed militia on Algerian soil where thousands of Sahraouis are held hostage unable to return to their homeland, Morocco.

He also deplored the violation of children’s rights in the camps of Tindouf where they are used as soldiers in connivance with the Algerian authorities and cited the embezzlement of humanitarian aid by both Algerian and Polisario officials.

In this regard, the Moroccan diplomat reiterated Morocco’s call on the UN refugee agency to carry out a census of the population held against their will in the camps in order to improve transparency and prevent humanitarian aid embezzlement.

 

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