The American delegation to the 51st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, as well as several NGOs, challenged Algeria on the extremely worrying situation of human rights in the country, the massive violations of the rights of the populations sequestered in the Tindouf camps and the refusal of the Algerian State to assume its legal responsibilities and put an end to heinous crimes, despite the findings and repeated calls from the mechanisms of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In her capacity as Chair of the United States Delegation, Ambassador Bathsheba Nell Crocker, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, reiterated the “United States’ concerns over the widespread use of laws that unduly restrict freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly and association to arrest activists”.
She also hailed ”courageous civil society activists, human rights defenders, media workers and others who speak truth to power and advocate respect for human rights. ”.
Speaking on behalf of the NGO “IL CENACOLO”, and as a victim of the atrocities of the Polisario separatists, Mr. El Fadel Brika, delivered a poignant account of “kidnappings, arbitrary detentions and the worst types of torture psychological and physical in secret prisons managed by the Polisario militia on Algerian soil.
He also drew the attention of the Human Rights Council to the systematic violations committed by the Polisario separatists and the Algerian forces against the sequestered populations in the Tindouf camps, where they resort to the most horrible means to punish any voice that opposes them or denounces their serious violations and the theft of humanitarian aid, including extrajudicial execution, the last of which was the burning of the two young Sahrawis, Maha Ould Hamdi Ould Souilem and Alien Idrissi then that they were alive.
Mr. Brika informed the Council of the killing in November 2021, by the Algerian army, in a hole on the outskirts of the so-called “Dakhla camp”, of three young Sahrawis, Lakbir Ould Sidi Ahmed Al Markhi, Obeidat Ould El Bilal and Flea Ould Baraka.
For her part, Ms. Aicha Duihi, on behalf of the NGO ”Promotion du Développement Économique et Social”, based in Geneva, placed an emphasis on the growing tensions in the Tindouf camps in southwestern Algeria. , where the accumulation of a number of social and political events has led to the intensification of protests. These unprecedented events have also been highlighted by the Secretary-General of the United Nations since his report S/2019/282.
She pointed to the violations of the rights of those sequestered in the Tindouf camps, through the maintenance of the state of emergency under the pretext of fighting against terrorism; repression of all forms of opposition; reprisals, violence, threats, discrimination, pressure and arrests of human rights defenders and activists; selective discrimination against freedom of movement; and the lack of census and protection reports for camp populations; as well as the relentless diversion of humanitarian aid on which Sahrawi refugees depended for their food.
In the same vein, the “Unitary Network for the Development of Mauritania” recalled the communication of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants questioning the Algerian authorities on the extrajudicial executions of two Sahrawis by the Algerian security forces in a mining site south of Auinat Balakraa, to urge the Office of the High Commissioner to open an investigation into this horrific crime and to apply basic international standards to protect the populations of the Tindouf camps.
The representative of the NGO “The National Movement of Young Patriots”, for his part, castigated the persistence of impunity in the Tindouf camps, which serves as an instrument of security for the leaders of the Polisario and encourages them to persist in their repression against the populations of the camps, deprived of any mechanism of recourse, as well as of access to justice, despite repeated calls from the UN human rights system, including the Human Rights Committee.