March 30, 2023

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Tintouf is camped between legal anarchy and the blatant degradation of human rights

The International Observatory for Peace, Democracy and Human Rights (IOPDHR) has painted a bleak picture of the situation of isolated people in Tintouf camps (South-Eastern Algeria).

In a report on the human rights situation in the post-pandemic Tintouf camps presented in Geneva on Friday, the IOPDHR notes the situation of people in the Tintouf camps due to the lack of a legislative framework on asylum in accordance with international agreements. has not been replaced, and the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) assumes full responsibility for the situation in the absence of host country intervention.

According to Karima Khanem, head of the Center International de la Diplomatie, for almost five decades, the Tintouf camps (southwest of Algeria) have been living in an unprecedented legal anarchy in the history of refugee camps, where thousands of Sahrawis live in inhumane conditions. Conditions in tents or mud houses and mainly dependent on international humanitarian aid, while the “Polisario” manages the camps in the host country, contrary to international law and far from the eyes of the international community.

International monitoring efforts are sporadic or partial at best, and they cannot fully reveal the systemic nature of the grave human rights violations committed against the camp population, he said.

So far, despite international claims, the camps have seen no census activity, and the Algerian government does not actually recognize the people as refugees, Karima Khanem noted, noting that UNHCR cannot directly communicate with those isolated in military camps. A flagrant violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

In this sense, he underlined Algeria’s legal, political and moral responsibility regarding the human rights situation, which could not be avoided by giving full power to the “Polisario” to suppress the isolated population. Many irregularities.

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For his part, the president of the Association for Dialogue of Cultures, Zouhair El Youbi, highlighted the humanitarian situation and the worsening of human rights in the Tindouf camps, in several shocking testimonies that did not reach the international community. Omerta imposed on people.

The “Polisario” violation of the cease-fire agreement and the return to arms will lead to a continuous increase in the recruitment of children and increase the pressure on basic rights and freedoms, prompting a dramatic lack of medicine for minor ailments, LUP warned. Similar to foodstuffs found in Algerian markets, they are sold on the black market.

In the absence of a census, where it is easy to manipulate numbers and indicators, he argued that the Algerian regime perpetuates a logic of privileges instead of rights, which “leads to the creation of a military regime consisting of leaders of the Polisario” and their subordinates, separated from the general population.

The presentation of the report, held in a mixed format, was marked by testimonies from human rights activists who shared the human rights situation in the camps.

Thus, human rights activist Hamada El Behi, who suffered 40 years in the camps before returning to Morocco, stressed the need to push the international community to adopt concrete and real solutions to end the demographic drama. Business for Algeria wonders about the fact that this country forces donors to buy aid for the camps in its markets.

For his part, deputy activist Ali Salem al-Shouieh raised the issue of serious human rights violations that have occurred since the inception of the “Polisario”, calling on the international community for an alliance to find solutions. Victims of the separatist movement, including his father, who was killed at the hands of militants.

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While presenting her report, the President of the IOPDHR, Aicha Duihi, noted that the monitoring process took place along three axes: civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as rights related mainly to women and children.

He said Algeria must take responsibility for all international illegal acts and acts committed by the “Polisario” on its soil, including abandoning the 1991 international ceasefire agreement and declaring a return to arms. Its political, military, judicial and administrative powers raise many concerns in the international community, including the protection of human rights.