HCHR: United States, several NGOs lambast Algeria for massive human rights abuses
The American delegation to the ongoing 51st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva and several participating NGOs have pilloried Algeria for the extremely worrying situation of human rights in the country, the massive violations of the rights of the populations sequestered in the Tindouf camps and the refusal of the Algerian regime to assume its legal responsibilities and put an end to heinous crimes committed in the country, despite the findings and repeated calls from the mechanisms of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In her capacity as Chair of the United States Delegation, Ambassador Bathsheba Nell Crocker, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, reiterated the United States’ concerns over the serious human rights violations committed against civilians and pro-democracy activists in Algeria.
She also denounced the widespread use of new laws to prosecute and crackdown on activists, protesters and journalists, restricting unduly freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly and association and arresting militants.
The US diplomat also hailed as ”courageous” the civil society activists, human rights defenders, media workers and others who dare to tell the truth to the power and advocate respect for human rights.
Speaking on behalf of “IL CENACOLO” NGO, El Fadel Brika recounted his own experience, as a victim of the atrocities of the Polisario separatists, and detailed the “kidnappings, arbitrary detentions and the worst types of psychological and physical torture practiced in secret prisons managed by the Polisario militia on Algerian soil.”
He also drew the attention of the Human Rights Council to the systematic violations committed by the Polisario separatists and the Algerian forces against the sequestered populations in the Tindouf camps, where they resort to the most horrible means to punish any voice that opposes them or denounces their serious abuses and the embezzlement of humanitarian aid. Mr. Brika spoke of extrajudicial execution, noting that the latest such execution was the burning alive of the two young Sahrawis, Maha Ould Hamdi Ould Souilem and Alien Idrissi.
Mr. Brika informed the Council of the killing in November 2021, by the Algerian army, in a hole on the outskirts of the so-called “Dakhla camp”, of three young Sahrawis, Lakbir Ould Sidi Ahmed Al Markhi, Obeidat Ould El Bilal and Flea Ould Baraka.
Taking the floor on behalf of the Geneva-based NGO ”Promotion du Développement Économique et Social”, Ms. Aicha Duihi focused her address on the growing tensions in the Tindouf camps in southwestern Algeria, where, she said, the deteriorating living conditions and the explosive situation in the Tindouf camps are fueling mounting tensions and protests which are suppressed with use of unnecessary excessive military force. These unprecedented events have also been repeatedly mentioned by the UN Secretary-General of the United Nations since his report S/2019/282.
She denounced the violations of the rights of the sequestered in the Tindouf camps, through the maintenance of the state of emergency under the pretext of fight against terrorism; repression of all forms of opposition; reprisals, violence, threats, discrimination, pressure and arrests of human rights defenders and activists; and selective discrimination against freedom of movement. She also decried the Algerian authorities’ refusal to allow a census of the sequestered populations or to grant them international protection, as well as the relentless diversion of humanitarian aid destined to the Sahrawi refugees who live on food assistance.
The corrupt and feckless polisario leaders and militiamen continue their abuses in total impunity, she deplored
During the same session, the representative of the “Unitary Network for the Development of Mauritania” recalled the communication of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants challenging Algerian authorities on the extrajudicial executions of two Sahrawis by the Algerian security forces in a mining site south of Auinat Balakraa, in a bid to urge the Office of the High Commissioner to open an investigation into this horrific crime and to apply basic international standards to protect the populations of the Tindouf camps.
The representative of the NGO “The National Movement of Young Patriots”, for his part, castigated the persistence of impunity in the Tindouf camps, which serves as a security for the Polisario leaders and encourages them to persist in their repression against the populations of the camps, deprived of any recourse mechanism, and denied any access to justice, despite repeated calls from the UN human rights system, including the Human Rights Committee.