The Robert F. Kennedy Center and its report on human rights in Western Sahara and in the Tindouf camps continue to stir negative reactions. The latest came from two NGOs well-known in the United States for upholding human rights. These are the Leadership Council for Human Rights (LCHR) and Teach the Children International (TCI), which criticized as “biased” and “misinformed” the report of the President of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, Kerry Kennedy, who toured the region end of August.
“The RFK Center report by the very nature of its conclusions revealed that its authors were biased and misinformed because they interviewed a small number of persons and held limited and exclusive meetings,” said the presidents of TCI and LCHR, Nancy Huff and Kathryn Porter Cameron.
Huff and Cameron who visited the Moroccan Southern Provinces from September 10 to 20 have, on their part, drafted a report assessing the situation of human rights in the Sahara.
They both expressed regrets that Algerian authorities denied them entry to the Polisario-controlled camps of Tindouf, while the RFK Center delegation “known for its unconditional support for the Polisario” was allowed to visit these camps few days earlier.
In their report, the two NGOs argue that many Sahrawis among those interviewed, including some who just returned from the Tindouf camps, have expressed their full support to the Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara. They consider this alternative as the only option that is likely to enable them to run their own affairs in peace and dignity.
According to the two NGOs, the settlement of the Sahara conflict and the reopening of the border between Algeria and Morocco would mark a stride in the regional integration process, which is “probably the most effective way to take up the social and economic challenges facing the region.”
In its conclusion, the report warns against the dire living conditions and the despair prevailing in the Tindouf camps that make youths in these camps an easy prey to the lure of jihad and terrorist recruiters such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), which are gripping northern Mali.