The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, drew the attention of the Security Council to the diversion by the Polisario of humanitarian and financial aid destined to the population held against its will in the Tindouf camps, in Algeria.
This came in a report addressed to the Security Council, which will deliberate on the Sahara issue and the renewal of MINURSO’s mandate at the end of the current month.
Guterres said in his report that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has received information from NGOs that the Polisario has diverted humanitarian aid and funds in the Tindouf camps.
This confirmation of the UN Secretary General comes after that of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), which reported major misappropriations of humanitarian aid, for more than four decades, by the leaders of the Polisario and Algerian officials. It also confirms the overwhelming findings of inspection reports by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN World Food Program on this issue.
The diversion of humanitarian aid destined for the Tindouf camps, in a systemic, organized and large-scale manner, serves the personal enrichment of the Polisario militias and Algerian officials, as highlighted in the OLAF report.
At a time when the Secretary-General’s report warns of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Tindouf camps, the separatist front leaders are enriching themselves at the expense of a population suffering deprivation and misery.
The diversions are facilitated by the lack of registration of the population of the Tindouf camps despite the repeated calls of UN agencies. Actually, the host country, Algeria, in serious violation of its international obligations and Security Council resolutions since 2011, refuses a census of the camps population.
It is the first time that the diversion of humanitarian aid by the Polisario is clearly stated in the UN Secretary General’s report to the Security Council.
In his report, the UN Secretary General also refers to the general situation of human rights violations in the Tindouf camps, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indeed, the pandemic has ravaged these camps, which have experienced a second and third wave, as highlighted by Guterres in his report. This disastrous situation is mainly due to the delegation by Algeria of all its responsibilities and obligations on its territory, and therefore, the health management of the camps, to an armed separatist group, with proven links to international organized crime and terrorism in the Sahel.