The United Nations Security Council which adopted unanimously on Thursday a new resolution extending the MINURSO mandate for another year has overtly pointed to the situation of human rights in the Tindouf camps in south-western Algeria.
While the Polisario and Algeria had thrown all their weight around U.S. lobbies so that the UN expands the mission’s role to human rights monitoring in Western Sahara, it is quite the opposite that happened.
The Security Council resolution, adopted after contacts made by King Mohammed VI in person, “recognizes the measures taken by Morocco” in matters of human rights in Western Sahara.
Besides, the resolution by “encouraging the parties to continue their efforts to promote and protect human rights in Western Sahara and in the Tindouf refugee camps,” directly involves the responsibility of Algiers.
The injunction to Algiers is explained by the fact that the Sahrawi camps in Tindouf are on Algerian territory and that the Polisario’s existence depends on the support of Algeria.
In fact, the Security Council has merely confirmed an old claim of human rights advocates. For several years, international NGOs have repeatedly called on Algerian authorities to allow independent organizations and media to visit the Tindouf camps. The Sahrawi populations in Tindouf, abandoned by Algiers to the Stalinist control of the Polisario Front, remain isolated from the rest of the world, and are deprived of any freedom of expression or movement.
In this vein, the renewed Security Council’s call to conduct a census of the populations held in the Tindouf camps point out to the new mindset prevailing among the members of the council.
The international community is now fully aware how the Western Sahara issue is stage-managed to serve Algiers’ political agenda throughout the Maghreb and the Sahel.