Shaibata Mrabih Rabou, President of the Sahara Center for Studies and Research on Development and Human Rights, has underlined that Algeria is responsible for the persistence of the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, as it defends head-on the obsolete referendum option, which the Security Council has definitively discarded since 2001.
In Mrabih Rabou’s point of view, it is urgent that Algeria responds to the call made to her by Security Council resolution 2494 to remain engaged in the Geneva roundtable process throughout its duration in a spirit of realism and compromise to ensure a successful outcome.
Analysing resolution 2494 of the Security Council, the researcher recalls that the UN executive body and the entire international community call upon the parties to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara to achieve a realistic, practicable, and durable political solution that rests on compromise, while reiterating the pre-eminence of the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative.
Mrabih Rabou underlined that the Autonomy Initiative, deemed as “serious” and “credible” in all Security Council resolutions since 2007, has been elaborated in the course of a consultative process that has brought together all segments of the Saharan populations of the Kingdom.
This was an opportunity for the researcher to bring to light the fanciful character of the claims of the “polisario” regarding representativeness. The only legitimate representatives of the population of the Moroccan Sahara, insisted Mrabih Rabou, are the 3500 elected officials of the region, of whom he is part himself, certainly not the leaders of “polisario” whom “Algeria appoints and installs for life.”
Any contestation of the legitimacy of « polisario » in the Tindouf camps is met with a systematic, brutal repression made possible by Algeria’s illegal delegation of authority to “polisario” on a part of its territory, in violation of its international obligations.
Infringing on the provisions of international humanitarian law, especially the Refugee Status Convention of 1951, Algeria refuses to allow a census of the population of the Tindouf camps, in defiance of the resolutions adopted by the Security Council since 2011.
The population of the Tindouf camps is deprived by the host state of all its elementary rights, whether the right to decent employment or the right to food.
The persons living in the Tindouf camps, a zone of which all entrances are barred by the checkpoints of the Algerian army and “polisario” cannot even move freely between camps, let alone exiting the camps.
Obtaining travel documents depends on the goodwill of the Algerian authority, and is a privilege reserved for the “polisario” apparatchiks.
Having brought to light the abnormal, exceptional situation of the Tindouf camps, Mrabih Rabou argues that the term of “refugees” is misleading in this case, and that it is more appropriate to speak of a “sequestrated population”.
Pursuing his analysis, Mrabih Rabou contrasted this tragic situation with the atmosphere that prevails in the Moroccan Sahara, where the population fully enjoys its political, economic, social, and cultural rights.
In the framework of the New Development Model of the Southern Provinces launched by His Majesty the King in 2015 in Laâyoune, ambitious, visionary policies and a solid good governance framework have enabled the Moroccan Sahara to emerge as a major economic hub. Large-scale infrastructure projects make the Moroccan Sahara a fully connected space.
Mrabih Rabou underlined that although natural resources extraction in the Sahara contributes to financing the development projects implemented in the region, public investment exceeds by far the revenues generated through natural resources.
Mrabih Rabou was speaking to the citizen-run show “Sahara Debate”, which is intended as an open, democratic platform for serene, dispassionate analysis on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara.