The reaction of international bodies to the arrest of the Polisario executive, Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud, was prompt. The UNHCR has expressed its “concern” and said to be following “very closely” the arrest of this leader, while Human Rights Watch has directly questioned Algeria, making it “its responsibility to guarantee the protection of the rights of all the persons on its territory”.
Two days after the arrest by the Polisario of one of its own leaders, who has publicly supported the Moroccan autonomy plan in the Western Sahara, the international community defending human rights reacted. It summons Algeria and the Polisario to immediately release Mustapha Salma and holds them responsible for what might happen to him. Detailing the incidents of this case, Human Rights Watch (HRW), headquartered in the United States, recalled that during a visit to Morocco, Ould Sidi Mouloud, inspector general of the Polisario Police, had “publicly supported the Moroccan proposal to resolve the Sahara conflict (…) on the basis of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty”. He then decided to return to Tindouf camps in Algeria to defend his opinion, “which is his entire right,” as stated in a release by Sarah Leah Whitson, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department, at the Human Rights Watch organization.
For its part, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), declared that his agency is “following with concern” the arrest of the Polisario official. Johannes van der Klaauw, representative of the UN agency in Rabat, stated also that the UNHCR is following “very closely” the arrest of this leader whose fate remains uncertain.