Latin American MPs decry mistreatment of women in Tindouf camps

Latin American MPs decry mistreatment of women in Tindouf camps

Parliamentarians from Central America and the Caribbean have strongly denounced the living conditions in the Tindouf camps with a special emphasis on the plight of women and called Ban Ki-Moon to put an end to their ordeal.

The Latin American MPs were participating in Rabat in the Forum of Speakers of Parliaments of Central America and the Caribbean (FORPEL), where Morocco has the status of an observer member.

They also criticized the embezzlement of humanitarian aid by the Polisario leaders at a time the majority of the camps residents, including women and children, suffer from malnutrition and disease.

According to a statement released on May 26, at the end of the Forum meeting, the first ever to be held in Morocco, participants sent a message to the UN Secretary General asking him to pressure the Polisario to put an end to the plight of Sahrawi women and the slavery practice imposed upon the people of these camps.

In a joint statement, entitled “Rabat Declaration,” FORPEL members and members of the Morocco-Central America-Caribbean Basin Committee for Parity and Equal Opportunities urged the women of their respective countries to show solidarity with Sahrawi women who are forcibly detained in the Algerian desert.

They emphasized the need to join efforts to fight human trafficking, a practice inherited from the infamous days of slavery but which is still common in the camps.

They also sounded the alarm about the dire living conditions in the camps, warning against the savage and inhumane practices prevailing in Tindouf, such as kidnapping, torture, repression, rape and forced marriages.

Besides being starved and subjected to arbitrary detention, Sahrawi women also suffer from the forced deportation of their children to Spain and some Latin American countries such as Cuba, and from the compulsory enrolment of their husbands in the armed militia of the Polisario, the statement underlined.