The refusal of the Polisario leadership and the authorities of the host country, Algeria, to allow the registration and the census of the populations of the Tindouf camps has been repeatedly denounced and has recently been at the center of heated debates in Geneva.
This obstinate refusal creates a weird, abnormal and illegal situation, representatives of several Ngo’s have underscored during the debates of the 21st session of the Human Rights Council (HRC).
During the debates, representatives of the International Democratic Centre (IDC), of OCAPROCE International (Organisation pour la communication en Afrique et de promotion de la coopération économique internationale) and of the Agency for International Development (AIDE) have called on the Council to ponder on this situation.
The status quo benefits only the Polisario leaders and helps them get wealthier as they embezzle the humanitarian aid destined to the refugees and sell it in black markets in neighboring countries.
The situation of the populations living in these militarized camps is a source of great concern, since these camps have become an uncontrolled stronghold where most basic rights are denied, said the representative of OCAPROCE.
The NGOs have underscored the continuous violations of human rights suffered by these populations, and called the HRC to see to it that humanitarian agencies have access to the Tindouf camps and be allowed to freely exercise their mandate.
The NGO’s delegates argued that a census of the Tindouf camps populations will end the misappropriation of humanitarian assistance, and, at the same time, will give a better and clearer idea on the people living in these camps. These data are of utmost relevance both on the humanitarian level as well as with regard to the conflict settlement as a whole, the delegates said.
Monitoring the humanitarian assistance is currently impossible as the Polisario refuses that the UNHCR conducts a census of the populations living in the camps.
The deterioration of the living conditions in the camps and the absence of any glimpse of hope as to a forthcoming solution drive many desperate Sahrawi refugees into trafficking of all kinds (human beings, weapons, drugs) or into terrorism, as was documented in several international reports.