The Sahrawi residents of Tindouf Camps demand that Algeria issue asylum cards to them or give them freedom to seek them elsewhere.
Why Algeria has refused to issue asylum cards to them? Why are they being denied their most basic human rights of mobility, trade and acquisition? These are questions people in the the Tindouf Camp ask every day. Fed up with the lack of answers, the Sahrawis are calling on Algeria officials to allow them to seek these cards from other countries instead.
Morocco World News has received a press release from a support forum for autonomists in Tindouf, dubbed FORSATIN, that illustrates the daily suffering and discrimination the Sahrawi refugees experience in the Tindouf Camps at the hands of Algeria and the Polisario Front.
According to the press release, Algeria grants the nationality only to Sahrawis of Algerian origin and allows them to exercise full citizenship on their territory, while the vast majority of Sahrawis coming from the southern provinces remain deprived of all those rights.
In an excerpt from the press release the frustration of Tindouf Camp residents is clear; “The population denounces the Polisario Front’s disregard of their demands, their accusations of being traitors simply because they showed a desire for a little freedom like other lucky Sahrawi refugees and those close to the leadership, who own foreign passports or nationalities.”
While their frustration grows, Algeria authorities and the Polisario leadership exacerbate the situation by remaining insensitive to their situation. In another excerpt from the press release, they attempt to clarify their viewpoint that, since the Sahrawi residents receive Humanitarian and food aid by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the grounds, they are to be considered refugees;
“Why the insistence on imprisoning the Saharawi and lying to them with ID Cards that have no goal except to regulate their relationships with the host country and to enable it to control every movement and stillness of the Sahrawi groups guarded by military militia calling itself the army of the state.”
The press release further reveals that Algeria denies Sahrawis they consider to be refugees, the right to an asylum card because to issue the cards would reveal the true number of residents, which would, in turn, have negative consequences on the amount of aid granted by the UN Refugee Agency.
“The danger of granting asylum cards is that it would end the aid to the camps definitively, and allow the Sahrawis to settle in Algeria or any other country, which means the end of the Tindouf camps forever, leaving only the Front and armed groups […] And then there would only be an armed movement with no popular base, no institutions, no state, no people.”