Appeal for Tindouf refugees under controversial management

Appeal for Tindouf refugees under controversial management
Appeal for Tindouf refugees under controversial management

It’s not the first of its kind, but it’s one of the most impactful. Human rights defenders launched an urgent appeal on the sidelines of the 56th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, demanding immediate and concrete measures for Algeria to fully assume its responsibilities towards the populations of the camps of Tindouf and guarantees access to these territories for technical commissions, special procedures of the United Nations and international organizations.

This initiative comes against a backdrop of unprecedented deterioration in human rights conditions in these camps, according to several international reports.

This Monday, a document accompanied by an urgent appeal was sent by the International Observatory for Peace, Democracy and Human Rights to Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner of the United Nations for Refugees, and Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. This call requests the deployment of technical missions in the Tindouf camps in order to monitor the serious violations reported there, particularly after the announcement of the return to arms by the Polisario Front.

The leaders of the POLISARIO Front manage the camps in place of the host country, Algeria, in violation of the rules of international law and shielded from international observation and control, and the rare observation operations are at best sporadic or partial far from being able to reveal the systematic pattern of serious human rights violations committed against the population of the campsare we referring to the document of which Hespress FR holds copy.

Disappointed by these excesses, human rights defenders underlined Algeria’s responsibility as host country, demanding dignified and secure living conditions for refugees in the Tindouf camps, as well as official recognition of their refugee status. refugee with all related rights. They also insisted on the need to ensure independent and transparent access to the Tindouf camps for specialized United Nations agencies and international organizations, in order to assess the humanitarian situation and the needs of refugees.

To get as close as possible to the receivers of the unprecedented situation of refugees, the authors of the report describe: “For several decades, the inhabitants of these camps have lived in extremely precarious conditions, essentially dependent on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs, virtually isolated from the world, removed from the monitoring and documentation of regional, continental and international mechanisms. working in the field of human rights. A state of affairs due to the blockade imposed by the Algerian state on the area housing the camps”.

The document documents nearly five decades of extremely precarious living conditions for camp residents, largely dependent on humanitarian aid for their basic needs, while remaining off the radar of regional, continental and international mechanisms as well as international organizations. for the defense of human rights.

To this end, rights defenders urge the United Nations to send technical commissions to the Tindouf camps, in southwest Algeria, to note the serious violations and abuses taking place there. In addition, they demand that Algeria assumes its international responsibilities as host country, by guaranteeing dignified and safe living conditions for the refugees in the Tindouf camps and recognizing their refugee status and all the rights that flow from it.

Thus, ensure the accessibility of special procedures of the United Nations and international organizations to the Tindouf camps to independently and transparently assess the humanitarian situation and the needs of refugees, strengthen the monitoring and transparency of humanitarian operations in the Tindouf camps , ensuring that aid effectively reaches refugees without diversion or discrimination, and promoting durable solutions and initiatives for resettlement, voluntary repatriation or local integration, in collaboration with Algeria, to offer refugees a perspective of dignity and a stable future, are also among the demands requested by human rights organizations.

In addition, international cooperation must be encouraged to share responsibility for welcoming and protecting refugees, supporting the efforts of UNHCR and humanitarian agencies present on the ground.

It is wise to note that the majority of reports on rights and freedoms in Algeria do not mention the conditions of people living in the Tindouf camps where the conditions for a decent life are non-existent.

Worse still, classifying the Tindouf camps as refugee camps is, in many ways, difficult and the issue remains unresolved over time. The camps have never been the subject of a population census, despite the fact that the High Commission for Refugees “ UNHCR » has repeatedly submitted its request to this effect to the host country, despite the relevant Security Council resolutions and the reiteration of the request calling for the registration of refugees in the Tindouf camps underlining the importance of the efforts deployed to this end. taken into account in the latest Security Council decision 2.654 (2022); and despite the formulation of this request by the European Union.

In the absence of a legislative framework on asylum in accordance with international agreements, the situation of refugees in the Tindouf camps has not changed. Furthermore, human rights defenders have denounced the exceptional management and legal chaos surrounding the camps, where Algeria has delegated total responsibility to the Polisario Front since their establishment in 1975. This regime has facilitated serious violations at against the inhabitants of the camps, exacerbating their precariousness and threatening their security.

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