The Tindouf camps, where thousands of Sahrawis are being forcibly detained in the total blackout imposed on them for 40 years by Algiers and its protégé the Polisario, reveal once and again distressing truths that are almost beyond the capability of the human mind to understand.
One such shocking truths has been unveiled this week by The Pacis Group, an American human rights NGO, which drew the United Nations’ attention to the girl-child forced marriages which are common practice in the Tindouf camps.
The US NGO denounced other recurrent violations of women’s rights in these camps that are completely isolated in the remote Algerian desert and whose access is denied to journalists and international NGOs not backing the Polisario’s pro-independence theses.
The NGO revealed on the basis of investigations conducted in the region that pre-pubertal girls, often under 13, are forced to marry men from the Sahrawi notable tribes or from the Polisario leadership.
Addressing the 4th Committee of the UN General Assembly which began its proceedings on Tuesday, Amy Karimi from the Pacis Group said that the marriage institution is diverted to serve political purposes and that the Polisario leadership must be held accountable of these acts which are reminiscent of another age.
Karimi’s accusations are backed by the findings of other disturbing reports that mention “forced pregnancies” and documented abuses against women confined with their children in dismal and unacceptable conditions.
“I urge you to conduct investigations, to draft reports and to take action to re-establish these abused young women in their rights,” said The Pacis Group’s delegate pleadingly.
She warned the United Nations that any “delay or negligence in addressing the issue would aggravate the condition of these women and would, therefore, imply the international community’s complicity in the human rights abuses perpetrated in the Tindouf camps.”
However, it is no secret that whatever alarming the situation may be, the Algerian lobby does not skimp on the means to abort any initiative contrary to the Algerian Government’s plans in Tindouf camps.