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The chairman of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS), Mr Khalihenna Ould Errachid, wrote a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees (HCR) and to the Executive Director of the World Food program (WFP).
The Council also received a response from Ms. Nayla Saber, regional director in charge of the World Food Program for  the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe
Full text of the letters:


Mr. KHALIHENNA OULD ERRACHID,
CHAIRMAN OF THE ROYAL ADVISORY
COUNCIL FOR SAHARIAN AFFAIRS (CORCAS)
 

MR ANTONIO GUTERRES
HCR High Commissioner


Clarifications about the fate of the humanitarian food aid destined to the Sahrawis detained in Tindouf camps.

The humanitarian situation in Tindouf camps draws our attention following the campaign led by Polisario and some Algerian media outlets.

Sir, I am pleased to provide you with the following clarifications:

The alarm sounded by Polisario on the humanitarian situation in Tindouf camps, Algeria, through the so-called “Sahrawi Red Crescent (SRC)”, which is simply a tool of Polisario propaganda apparatus, and some Algerian media outlets, is a pure false allegation to further profit from the international aid, which actually does not benefit but a handful of Polisario leaders.

In this respect, Polisario said that Tindouf camps are threatened by “imminent famine”, because of “foodstuff stock shortage”. In a bid to support its propagandist thesis, the Polisario quotes an alleged nutritional study that has warned of “a tragic situation in the camps”.

This study claimed that 66% of women, whose age varies between 15 and 45 years, and 62% of children under the age of 5 years suffer from anemia, while 35% of children suffer from malnutrition

A number of observers wonder about the hidden objectives of this propaganda campaign about the “critical situation of the camps”, as reported by Algerian media and the recurrent SOS of the so-called “SRC”.

For over 30 years, Polisario has been using the inhabitants of Tindouf camps, as a bargaining chip and an inexhaustible business to collect these aids, which are constantly embezzled by some Polisario leaders and then shipped toward various markets.

This handful of leaders do not want to lose their grips and outrageously accumulate fortunes on the expense of the detainees in Tindouf that undergo all forms of sufferings and family divisions.

This situation maintains a fossil administration and a non-democratic entity. By such acts, Polisario seeks to mislead the international community, whereas everyone is well aware of all its maneuvers.

Actually, the international aid has not decreased, but the Polisario leaders, who have transformed Tindouf camps into a large shop for their benefit, sell all kinds of goods granted gratuitously by international humanitarian bodies, while these aids are destined in theory to the detainees in Tindouf camps. Which is not the case.

How comes Polisario protests that there is famine while various foodstuffs granted by humanitarian bodies are openly sold to the same populations of Tindouf, instead of being distributed for free to the Sahrawi populations detained in Tindouf camps?

These various goods, including flour, oil, pasta, rice, lens, canned tuna and sardine and dried milk, in addition to all kinds of school stationery, granted by various international humanitarian bodies, are daily shipped to the markets of Zouerat (Mauritania) and even Tindouf.

As for the Algerian aid, including gasoline, oil, spare parts and various school stationery, it is daily sold in Tindouf, Bachar and Zouerat under the same conditions.

These aids, embezzled by a handful of Polisario leaders and shipped by their trucks, are sold at market prices at various sales outlets, in the North and along the Mauritanian border. They are daily sold for all to see, in Zouerat, Bir Oum Grain, Choum, southern Algeria, Tindouf and northern Mali.

The Kingdom of Morocco has regularly denounced, at the HCR and the WFP, the embezzlement of the humanitarian aid. It has constantly asked the HCR to see to it so that this assistance reaches the genuine beneficiaries through adequate and trustworthy structures of reception, control, supervision and distribution. These concerns have been confirmed by the testimonies of several officials of the “Polisario” who have returned to their motherland, Morocco.
Their testimonies have also been confirmed by several international NGOs, including “the US Committee for refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), the Foundation France-Libertés et the European Strategic Intelligence And Security Center (Esisc). The latter have drawn, on many occasions, the attention of the International Community  on this embezzlement phenomenon and on its impact on the humanitarian situation of the populations held in the camps of Tindouf.

At the same time, the inspection offices of the HCR and the WFP undertook, in March 2005, a joint inspection mission, which has confirmed the embezzlement of the humanitarian aid. Following this investigation, these two organizations have decided in common, in September 2005, to limit the humanitarian assistance to 90.000 people, instead of 158.000.

On its part, the Office Communautaire de Lutte anti-Fraude (OLAF), has conducted, since 2003, its own investigation following recurrent news and reports on the embezzlement of the humanitarian aid in order to determine the exact number of beneficiaries. 

Aids embezzlement was also highlighted by some Algerian papers, which, in a conscience awakening, came to realize the scale of the humanitarian tragedy in Tindouf camps.

The latest testimony was cited by “Ech-Chourouk” daily (on 25/07/2005), which was startled when it discovered products destined to Tindouf camps on sale in the markets of the town of Bechar (889 km southwestern Algiers).

Why does Polisario protest that there is famine, while it is organizing on February 27 near Tifarity spectacular festivities and an extremely expensive military procession, financed thanks to the international aid and does not benefit the populations detained in Tindouf camps, quite the contrary?

It is obviously clear that Polisario maintains the camps for the simple reason that the latter constitute a genuine revenue-generating source and a quite prosperous business. Thus, supplies become a politico-commercial question.

The existence of camps serves as a justification to benefit from the international assistance. Without these camps, Polisario could not exist.

Moreover, we call for opening an international investigation to look into how the humanitarian aids, which are destined to Tindouf camps, are sold mainly in the markets of Mauritania, Algeria and Mali, depriving thousands of Sahrawi detainees from these aids that they need the most.

Consequently, Polisario aims through its false alarm of “imminent famine” threat to further accumulate fortunes on the detriment of the detainees in Tindouf camps and perpetrate the existence of these camps, which only serve the interests of these leaders.
Then, we wonder why Polisario and Algeria refused that the United Nations carry out a fair and clear population census in Tindouf. However, the presented number, 158,000, does not reflect the reality at all. That is why former UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, revised this number downward in his last report on the Sahara to 90,000, a figure that we deem inaccurate and well beyond reality.

The refusal of Polisario and Algeria to carry out a population census cannot be but a treachery and maneuver, pure and simple, it is never enough to recall it, in order to mask the truth that prevails in Tindouf camps and to further benefit from an unjustified aid.

We call for constantly shipping this aid, provided that it reaches its true beneficiaries, namely the detainees in Tindouf camps.

To guarantee that this humanitarian aid really reaches its beneficiaries, it must be directly distributed by the World Food Program (WFP) and the HCR and not by Polisario leaders, who have been exploiting, for over 30 years, the tragic situation of the Tindouf camp detainees who are deprived of the most elementary means for a decent life.

These leaders only seek to fully benefit from this situation and perpetuate its security apparatus grips on the camps.

For this purpose, we call upon the HCR and the WFP to monitor the whole humanitarian aid process, i.e.: shipping, storing, keys of storage areas, security and distribution of humanitarian aid, and to ensure that Polisario doesn’t, in any case, intervene at any level of this operation.

We also call upon these organizations to send inspectors where these aids are fraudulently, daily and massively sold, to carry out a transparent census of the people to benefit from these aids, namely the Tindouf camps population, and to exert pressure on Polisario to allow the camps detainees return home and not be used for political ends.

We learnt from reliable sources that Polisario leadership told all the families detained in Tindouf camps(contacted tent by tent) to say they suffer from absolute famine and misery during the recent visit of the WFP and HCR joint commission, which wanted to inquire about the food situation in the camps.

The same Polisario leadership asked the Algerian police force of Tindouf to remove all the goods and foodstuffs destined to the camps detainees and usually and daily sold to the local population of Tindouf.

The Algerian police force ordered the tradesmen to remove these products from local market, notably from Friday flea market of Tindouf, or they will be severally prosecuted.

According to the affirmations of the camps inhabitants, Polisario leaders emptied the stores and the stocking places of goods and foodstuffs, through carrying them far in the desert, in order to hide them before this commission arrival to show a situation of misery in the camps. This manoeuvre is meant to avoid any attempt to diminish the aids granted by the aforementioned organizations and correspond them to the exact number of the camps detainees.

Now, we should walk the path of autonomy in order to allow these Sarawi citizens to live in dignity under decent conditions, to lead a normal life without being subject to blackmail, and fully enjoy their political, economic, social, cultural rights.

The new Polisario maneuver can only be interpreted as a desperate attempt to divert attention from all kinds of actions aiming to find a way out through a definitive political solution to the Sahara issue, base don the autonomy project within the framework of Moroccan sovereignty, proposed by Morocco following the international community requests.

Sir, we are always ready to provide you with any information to shed light on this issue.

Yours sincerely. 

Signed

Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid
CORCAS Chairman


Mr. KHALIHENNA OULD ERRACHID,
CHAIRMAN OF THE ROYAL ADVISORY
COUNCIL FOR SAHARIAN AFFAIRS (CORCAS)
 

M JAMES MORRIS
WFP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Clarifications about The fate of the humanitarian food aid destined to  the Sahrawis detained in Tindouf camps

The humanitarian situation in Tindouf camps draws our attention following the campaign led by Polisario and some Algerian media outlets.

Sir, I am pleased to provide you with the following clarifications:

The alarm sounded by Polisario on the humanitarian situation in Tindouf camps, Algeria, through the so-called “Sahrawi Red Crescent (SRC)”, which is simply a tool of Polisario propaganda apparatus, and some Algerian media outlets, is a pure false allegation to further profit from the international aid, which actually does not benefit but a handful of Polisario leaders.

In this respect, Polisario said that Tindouf camps are threatened by “imminent famine”, because of “foodstuff stock shortage”. In a bid to support its propagandist thesis, the Polisario quotes an alleged nutritional study that has warned of “a tragic situation in the camps”.

This study claimed that 66% of women, whose age varies between 15 and 45 years, and 62% of children under the age of 5 years suffer from anemia, while 35% of children suffer from malnutrition.

A number of observers wonder about the hidden objectives of this propaganda campaign about the “critical situation of the camps”, as reported by Algerian media and the recurrent SOS of the so-called “SRC”.

For over 30 years, Polisario has been using the inhabitants of Tindouf camps, as a bargaining chip and an inexhaustible business to collect these aids, which are constantly embezzled by some Polisario leaders and then shipped toward various markets.

This handful of leaders do not want to lose their grips and outrageously accumulate fortunes on the expense of the detainees in Tindouf that undergo all forms of sufferings and family divisions.

This situation maintains a fossil administration and a non-democratic entity. By such acts, Polisario seeks to mislead the international community, whereas everyone is well aware of all its maneuvers.

Actually, the international aid has not decreased, but the Polisario leaders, who have transformed Tindouf camps into a large shop for their benefit, sell all kinds of goods granted gratuitously by international humanitarian bodies, while these aids are destined in theory to the detainees in Tindouf camps. Which is not the case.

How comes Polisario protests that there is famine while various foodstuffs granted by humanitarian bodies are openly sold to the same populations of Tindouf, instead of being distributed for free to the Sahrawi populations detained in Tindouf camps?

These various goods, including flour, oil, pasta, rice, lens, canned tuna and sardine and dried milk, in addition to all kinds of school stationery, granted by various international humanitarian bodies, are daily shipped to the markets of Zouerat (Mauritania) and even Tindouf.

As for the Algerian aid, including gasoline, oil, spare parts and various school stationery, it is daily sold in Tindouf, Bachar and Zouerat under the same conditions.

These aids, embezzled by a handful of Polisario leaders and shipped by their trucks, are sold at market prices at various sales outlets, in the North and along the Mauritanian border. They are daily sold for all to see, in Zouerat, Bir Oum Grain, Choum, southern Algeria, Tindouf and northern Mali.

The Kingdom of Morocco has regularly denounced, at the HCR and the WFP, the embezzlement of the humanitarian aid. It has constantly asked the HCR to see to it so that this assistance reaches the genuine beneficiaries through adequate and trustworthy structures of reception, control, supervision and distribution. These concerns have been confirmed by the testimonies of several officials of the “Polisario” who have returned to their motherland, Morocco.

Their testimonies have also been confirmed by several international NGOs, including “the US Committee for refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), the Foundation France-Libertés et the European Strategic Intelligence And Security Center (Esisc). The latter have drawn, on many occasions, the attention of the International Community on this embezzlement phenomenon and on its impact on the humanitarian situation of the populations held in the camps of Tindouf.

At the same time, the inspection offices of the HCR and the WFP undertook, in March 2005, a joint inspection mission, which has confirmed the embezzlement of the humanitarian aid. Following this investigation, these two organizations have decided in common, in September 2005, to limit the humanitarian assistance to 90.000 people, instead of 158.000.

On its part, the Office Communautaire de Lutte anti-Fraude (OLAF), has conducted, since 2003, its own investigation following recurrent news and reports on the embezzlement of the humanitarian aid in order to determine the exact number of beneficiaries. 

Aids embezzlement was also highlighted by some Algerian papers, which, in a conscience awakening, came to realize the scale of the humanitarian tragedy in Tindouf camps.

The latest testimony was cited by “Ech-Chourouk” daily (on 25/07/2005), which was startled when it discovered products destined to Tindouf camps on sale in the markets of the town of Bechar (889 km southwestern Algiers).

Why does Polisario protest that there is famine, while it is organizing on February 27 near Tifarity spectacular festivities and an extremely expensive military procession, financed thanks to the international aid and does not benefit the populations detained in Tindouf camps, quite the contrary?

It is obviously clear that Polisario maintains the camps for the simple reason that the latter constitute a genuine revenue-generating source and a quite prosperous business. Thus, supplies become a politico-commercial question.

The existence of camps serves as a justification to benefit from the international assistance. Without these camps, Polisario could not exist.

Moreover, we call for opening an international investigation to look into how the humanitarian aids, which are destined to Tindouf camps, are sold mainly in the markets of Mauritania, Algeria and Mali, depriving thousands of Sahrawi detainees from these aids that they need the most.

Consequently, Polisario aims through its false alarm of “imminent famine” threat to further accumulate fortunes on the detriment of the detainees in Tindouf camps and perpetrate the existence of these camps, which only serve the interests of these leaders.
Then, we wonder why Polisario and Algeria refused that the United Nations carry out a fair and clear population census in Tindouf. However, the presented number, 158,000, does not reflect the reality at all. That is why former UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, revised this number downward in his last report on the Sahara to 90,000, a figure that we deem inaccurate and well beyond reality.

The refusal of Polisario and Algeria to carry out a population census cannot be but a treachery and maneuver, pure and simple, it is never enough to recall it, in order to mask the truth that prevails in Tindouf camps and to further benefit from an unjustified aid.

We call for constantly shipping this aid, provided that it reaches its true beneficiaries, namely the detainees in Tindouf camps.

To guarantee that this humanitarian aid really reaches its beneficiaries, it must be directly distributed by the World Food Program (WFP) and the HCR and not by Polisario leaders, who have been exploiting, for over 30 years, the tragic situation of the Tindouf camp detainees who are deprived of the most elementary means for a decent life.

These leaders only seek to fully benefit from this situation and perpetuate its security apparatus grips on the camps.

For this purpose, we call upon the HCR and the WFP to monitor the whole humanitarian aid process, i.e.: shipping, storing, keys of storage areas, security and distribution of humanitarian aid, and to ensure that Polisario doesn’t, in any case, intervene at any level of this operation.

We also call upon these organizations to send inspectors where these aids are fraudulently, daily and massively sold, to carry out a transparent census of the people to benefit from these aids, namely the Tindouf camps population, and to exert pressure on Polisario to allow the camps detainees return home and not be used for political ends.

We learnt from reliable sources that Polisario leadership told all the families detained in Tindouf camps(contacted tent by tent) to say they suffer from absolute famine and misery during the recent visit of the WFP and HCR joint commission, which wanted to inquire about the food situation in the camps.

The same Polisario leadership asked the Algerian police force of Tindouf to remove all the goods and foodstuffs destined to the camps detainees and usually and daily sold to the local population of Tindouf.

The Algerian police force ordered the tradesmen to remove these products from local market, notably from Friday flea market of Tindouf, or they will be severally prosecuted.

According to the affirmations of the camps inhabitants, Polisario leaders emptied the stores and the stocking places of goods and foodstuffs, through carrying them far in the desert, in order to hide them before this commission arrival to show a situation of misery in the camps. This manoeuvre is meant to avoid any attempt to diminish the aids granted by the aforementioned organizations and correspond them to the exact number of the camps detainees.

Now, we should walk the path of autonomy in order to allow these Sarawi citizens to live in dignity under decent conditions, to lead a normal life without being subject to blackmail, and fully enjoy their political, economic, social, cultural rights.

The new Polisario maneuver can only be interpreted as a desperate attempt to divert attention from all kinds of actions aiming to find a way out through a definitive political solution to the Sahara issue, base don the autonomy project within the framework of Moroccan sovereignty, proposed by Morocco following the international community requests.

Sir, we are always ready to provide you with any information to shed light on this issue.

Yours sincerely. 

Signed

Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid
CORCAS Chairman

The letter sent to the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs
by Ms. Nayla Saber, regional director in charge of the World Food Program for
the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe
(In French)

Le Caire, le 12 février 2007

Mr. Khallihenna Ould Errachid
Président du Conseil Royal Consultatif pour les Affaires Sahariennes (CORCAS)


M. le Président,

Nous vous remercions pour la lettre d’information que vous nous avez envoyée le 30 janvier 2007 relative à la situation humanitaire de la population des camps de Tindouf.

Le Programme alimentaire mondial (PAM) suit de près les différents développements liés au Sahara Occidental, y compris le travail important effectué par le Conseil Royal Consultatif pour les Affaires  Sahariennes ( CORCAS) sous votre présidence.

Cela étant, le PAM fait de son mieux pour maintenir une position impartiale et objective tout en fournissant une aide aux individus les plus pauvres et les plus vulnérables dans les camps de Tindouf.

Le PAM tâche dans son action à maintenir la neutralité et l’impartialité et se focalise essentiellement sur l’aspect humanitaire de notre mission. Au moment où nous oeuvrons pour trouver un processus d’identification des personnes les plus vulnérables de Tindouf ayant besoin d’assistance en utilisant plusieurs moyens de mesure de vulnérabilité, notre meilleure estimation au jour d’aujourd’hui porte le nombre de personnes nécessitant une assistance dans ces camps à 90.000 personnes. 35.000 autres personnes reçoivent une aide puisque leurs conditions de vie ont été affectées suite aux pluies torrentielles de février 2006. Du coup, notre capacité de chargement des aides a diminué de plus de 21%.

La dernière mission menée conjointement par le PAM et le Haut commissariat des nations unies pour les réfugiés (UNHCR) à Tindouf a achevé sa visite le 4 février. Nous estimons recevoir les résultats et les recommandations au cours des prochaines semaines, et ils seront envoyés à toutes les parties concernées.  La mission s’est focalisée sur le perfectionnement du contrôle ainsi que l’amélioration de la gestion et de la distribution des aides au niveau des camps.

Comme vous l’avez souligné dans votre lettre, lorsque les denrées alimentaires arrivent en Algérie, elles sont au préalable gérées par des organes algériens et sahraouis de la Croix Rouge. Le PAM se concentre principalement sur la distribution et l’accès aux aides. Partout dans le monde, le PAM coopère avec les ONGs locales et internationales pour réaliser ses projets et réduire ainsi les coûts en encourageant la capacité de ces partenaires.

Vos références au détournement de nourriture sont très alarmantes. Le PAM va soulever ce point avec les parties concernées.

Les résultats de la dernière étude alimentaire effectuée en 2005 par deux organisations des Nations Unies montre que 39% des enfants de moins de cinq ans souffrent d’une malnutrition chronique tandis que deux femmes sur trois atteignant l’âge de maternité soufre d’anémie. Nous n’avons aucun doute que la population des camps a besoin de notre assistance, mais, en même temps, il n’y a aucun fondement au propos sur la famine dans les camps à cause d’un manque fréquent d’aide alimentaire.

Je suis tout à fait d’accord avec vous qu’il faut maintenir « les aides aux camps pourvue qu’elles atteignent les vrais bénéficiaires ». Le PAM, avec l’aide des organisations nationales et internationales, va continuer de travailler ardemment pour fournir l’assistance aux habitants les plus vulnérables des camps et garantir que les aides atteignent les vrais bénéficiaires.

Veuillez accepter, Mr. le Président, l’assurance de ma haute considération.

Naila Sabra
Directrice Régionale
Moyen Orient, Asie Centrale et l’Europe de l’Est.

 
Le Caire, le 12 février 2007



 

 

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