WFP deplores Algeria’s failure to deliver aid to civilians in Polisario-run camps

WFP deplores Algeria’s failure to deliver aid to civilians in Polisario-run camps

The World Food Program cited in a report a series of dysfunctions that hindered the delivery of aid to the population held against their will by the Polisario in Tindouf camps.

The report mentioned WFP’s non-ability to oversee the distribution of aid in the camps due to a lack of free access, adding that it had “limited” capacity to ensure respect of humanitarian principles in the Polisario-run camps.

Morocco and other rights organizations have repeatedly urged Algeria to make sure human rights are respected in the camps by giving the Sahrawis held under the Polisario’s yoke a chance to be registered by the UNHCR in order to enjoy the right of free movement including the return to their homeland in the southern Moroccan provinces.

Algeria however has turned a deaf ear to these calls and ceded a part of a territory to a separatist militia that trades in the suffering of thousands of civilians.

The WFP noted that its aid should be given to all the population in the camps and not only the “most vulnerable,” in a hint to suspicions that the Polisario is embezzling this aid with full connivance of its mentor, Algeria.

The WFP also deplored the unwillingness of the Algerian Red Crescent to cooperate to ensure aid is delivered properly.

The EU anti-fraud office (OLAF) had disclosed a report blaming the Polisario and Algeria for diverting humanitarian aid. The OLAF report documents “well-organized, years-long” embezzlement by the Polisario Front of humanitarian aid designated for Sahraouis held in the camps of Tindouf in Algeria.

The report states that aid theft “begins in the Algerian port of Oran, where the sorting between ‘what should arrive and what can be diverted’ takes place.”

Following the disclosure of the report, the European Commission said it would 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.

On the need to undertake a census of the Tindouf camps population to determine actual humanitarian needs and bar the road to embezzlers, the report explains that ”one of the reasons that made these diversions possible is the overestimation of the number of refugees and therefore aid provided.”

Despite all its oil and gas, Algeria has kept the Sahrawis under the mercy of a separatist militia that subject them to abject living conditions. According to the WFP, 82% of the people in the camps are food insecure or at risk of food insecurity.

The WFP’s last evaluation showed a deterioration of the nutrition situation of children and women.

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