Polisario: Darya, a new case of human rights abuses

The case of the Sahrawi young woman, Darya Embark Salma, has once again evidenced the general uneasiness prevailing in the Polisario-run camps in Tindouf and shed new light on the arbitrary measures and exactions imposed by the Algeria-backed separatist movement on the camps residents.

Darya Embark Salma, 25, was adopted when she was just a child by a Spanish family from Tenerife. She grew up happy in the Canary Islands in the warmth of her adoptive family until January 2013. That month, she decided to visit her biological family, made her arrangements and traveled to the Tindouf camps in southwestern Algeria. But during the following months, she will have time to deeply regret her decision.

Actually at the end of her planned stay in the camps of lawlessness, Darya was prevented from returning to her adoptive family in Tenerife. Her many pleas remained unheeded by both the Polisario and Algeria as well as by Spanish officials and media.

It was only when Mahjouba’s case, which is similar to her own, broke out in October 2014 that Dariya regained hope. The wave of denunciations and protests against the forcibly detention of Mahjouba in Tindouf and the pressures exerted by the autonomous government of Valencia and by Madrid authorities had ultimately overcome the obstinacy of the Polisario chief Mohamed Abdelaziz and of the officers of the Algerian military intelligence services (DRS).

The Polisario and the DRS, cornered, had to let Mahjouba free to go back to Valencia, but to save face, they claimed that the young woman succeeded to flee, although everybody knows that it is almost impossible to escape from the heavily guarded Tindouf camps. Today Darya hopes that the same demonstrations of solidarity that enabled to free Mahjouba would continue in Spain until her own release.

These painful humanitarian cases bring back to mind the dire situation of women in the Tindouf camps. They are an easy prey for all sorts of abuses in these camps that are already disadvantaged by the surrounding desert. These cases also bring back to mind the fate of Fetim Salem, a young women turned into a slave whose history was revealed in 2009 by two Australian journalists in the documentary film “Stolen.”