Before Covid 19 crisis, UN, EU and NGO bodies expressed concern over aid distribution methods and embezzlment outside Tindouf
Polisario diverts the international humanitarian aid intended for the populations held against their will in Tindouf camps to resell it, particularly in the context of the current health crisis linked to the spread of the coronavirus, said colonel Preston McLaughlin, an international expert in national security issues.
The mechanisms for distributing humanitarian aid have not changed for nearly 30 years in the region, he pointed out at the TV program "With Morocco from Washington" on the theme “coronavirus and its repercussions on the situation of the populations held against their will in Tindouf camps in Algeria ”, broadcast on Sunday by Medi1TV channel.
He also recalled that in documents dating back to 2014 and 2015, United Nations bodies, the European Union and non-governmental organizations had expressed their extreme concern at the methods of distributing this aid, as well as their embezzlement outside of Tindouf.
Colonel McLaughlin, who previously worked in Minurso and visited the Tindouf camps, noted that there is a long history of poor distribution of aid for those held hostage in Tindouf, noting that according to some information, these aids are not only sold in the Algerian market but also in the Mauritanian and Nigerian markets.
He also mentioned the dangers that people held in Tindouf camps face paticularly following the latest developments, adding that Tindouf is a very remote area where unsanitary conditions prevail and more particularly in the context of the pandemic.
Referring to the reports published by several organizations on the situation of the population held in Tindouf, especially after the confirmation by the Algerian Ministry of Health of six Covid-19 cases in this region, Colonel McLaughlin noted that these organizations must make their voices heard, stressing the need for the United Nations, which decided last October to extend the mandate of MINURSO for one year, to take a series of decisions, in particular those relating to the humanitarian aspect.
He also considered that the misappropriation of aid by Algeria and the Polisario, the closing of borders and the isolation of the population constitute elements of the investigation to be carried out by Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights.
He urged, in this regard, the UN official to go to Tindouf to see firsthand the situation on the ground.
Responding to a question on the assassination by Algerian forces of Sahrawi individuals who tried to flee from the camps, this associate professor of National Security to the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security stressed that the UN Human Rights Office must ask the Algerian government to investigate or provide explanations for what had happened.
In his turn, the analyst of the TV program J.D Gorden said that the protection of populations living in the camps is the responsibility of Algeria, something that it does not do, worse still it allows the Polisario to manage the camps, adding that Polisario leaders are dictators that send to jail all their opponents for having expressed their opinion.
He also mentioned the restrictions on freedom of movement, noting that the Algerian forces have recently killed two Sahrawis who tried to flee the camps.
J.D Gorden also spoke of restrictions on the freedom of assembly and the corruption of polisario leaders who have luxurious residences in Tindouf.
With regard to the embezzlement of humanitarian aid intended for the populations held against their will in Tindouf, J.D Gorden described the situation as dangerous, noting that Algeria has failed in its obligation to protect the rights of the populations held in Tindouf.
Ambassador Adam Ereli, former spokesperson for the US State Department, who hosts the program, said that the past few weeks have been marked by several reports on the suffering and inhuman conditions of the populations held in Algeria especially after the spread of the coronavirus in North Africa and in different regions of Algeria.
The Algerian government and the Polisario have closed all exits from the camps, and banned entry and exit, he said, adding that reports suggest nearly 250 covid-19 cases and some coronavirus-related deaths.