Serious violations of women's rights in the Tindouf camps, for several decades, have become a tragic daily reality, in the sight of the host country, "which falsely boasts of respecting its obligations under international humanitarian law," said Wednesday in Rabat the ambassador Omar Hilale, Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Speaking at the opening of an international conference on "the protection of women during humanitarian crises", Hilale pointed out that this reality "still exists in our immediate neighborhood, with regard to the situation of our fellow citizens in the Tindouf camps in Algeria, where most of them are victims of sexual violence and slavery because of the color of their skin".
Other women, he noted, are banned from joining their adoptive families or deprived of their children, who are recruited by an armed separatist group and sent to faraway countries in the Caribbean and Latin America, not for the sake of studies, but rather to undergo ideological indoctrination and military training.
The diplomat stressed that women are still victims to sexual violence by armed groups in several parts of the world, forced to become human bombs by terrorist groups, victims of climate migration and transnational criminal networks, or detained for decades in militarized refugee camps in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
This tragic situation is unprecedented and incompatible with the inclusiveness of the legal arsenal of international humanitarian law, which is supposed to ensure the protection of women, said Hilale during this event held at the initiative of the National Commission of international humanitarian law (CNDIH), in commemoration of International Women's Day.
On the other hand, he noted that Morocco, as a member of the Executive Board of UN Women and Vice-President of the Executive Board of UNICEF, has always called for raising awareness about the injustice to which women and girls are at risk around the world, a situation which has been exacerbated by the current health crisis.
As part of its international responsibilities, the Kingdom actively promotes programs to combat violence against women and girls in situations of crisis and natural disasters, he underlined.
He recalled that HM King Mohammed VI reaffirmed the Kingdom's humanitarian message and its commitment to international law, in particular to international humanitarian law, in the royal message sent to the World Humanitarian Summit, which was read out by HRH Prince Moulay Rachid on May 23, 2016, in Istanbul.
The ambassador recalled that HM the King affirmed in this message: "Ever since my accession to the throne of the Kingdom of Morocco, I have keenly sought to make humanitarian work one of the pillars of the Kingdom's foreign policy. I am particularly proud that Morocco has made significant contributions to alleviating the impacts of humanitarian crises wherever they happened, especially in the countries of the South."
Hilale also said that in line with the high royal guidelines, the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) have set up 17 field hospitals and provided nearly 2.65 million medical services for locals, with priority given to the most vulnerable groups, including women and refugees, in 14 countries spread on four continents.
He added that HM the King ordered, in 2020, the sending of medical aid to several brotherly African countries, in addition to the African Union Commission, in order to support them in their efforts to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of South-South cooperation.
The diplomat noted that the designation of Morocco by the Secretary General of the United Nations as a member of the Consultative Group of the Central Emergency Response Fund shows the recognition of the role and commitment of Morocco in the humanitarian action area.
The Kingdom, as Chairman of the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, has launched a call to action to support the humanitarian response in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
This humanitarian appeal, which was supported by 171 of the 193 members of the UN, in addition to the African Union and the European Union, includes a series of concrete and operational measures, which are deemed essential to meet the challenges of this pandemic, such as facilitating the access, passage and movement of humanitarian aid, medical and health personnel, and equipment, he recalled.
This international conference was marked by the participation of the Head of Government, Saad Dine El Otmani, the President of the National Commission for International Humanitarian Law, Farida Khamlichi, and the President of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), Amina Bouayach.
A group of experts and specialists also took part in the event and shared their rich professional experience and in-depth knowledge of international humanitarian law to identify the legal aspect of the protection of women during humanitarian crises and international organizations deployed in this area.