The HRC session held on Wednesday, September 17, was marked by the moving testimony of two Sahrawi activists, Amina Laghzal and Aicha Douihi. Both described the relentless harsh control exercised by the Polisario and the Algerian military intelligence services (DRS) over the Tindouf camps.
The situation is all the more worrying because the Polisario leaders fully control the distribution of international humanitarian aid and have thus at their disposal a deterrent tool that they use against anyone daring to disobey their orders or express opposition to their rules, they said.
This situation makes of the Tindouf camps an open-air prison, where the Sahrawis are constantly abused and their most basic rights systematically violated. The Sahrawis held in Tindouf have no freedom of movement or expression. The boldest who dare express a standpoint contrary to the line imposed by the Polisario and Algeria are immediately arrested or eliminated. And the treatment reserved to the opponents who venture to publicly express their support to the Morocco-proposed autonomy plan for Western Sahara is even tougher.
After 40 years of exile in an inhospitable desert, the Sahrawis are convinced that Algeria uses the Polisario to block any negotiated political solution with Morocco. Young people in particular, who are disenchanted and who have no prospects for a better life, know perfectly well that they have become pawns in a larger regional strategy game.
In order to put an end to this unbearably absurd situation, whose first victims are women and children, the UN and the international community must shoulder their responsibility and exert more pressure on Algeria, which supports the Polisario and continues to ignite regional tensions, pleaded the two Sahrawi activists in Geneva.