Child soldiers, rape, militia selling EU relief supplies to finance their own luxury – the forgotten Polisario terror at the gates of Europe flares up again
Child soldiers, rape, militia selling EU relief supplies to finance their own luxury:
the forgotten Polisario terror at the gates of Europe flares up again.
Our President, Nancy Huff, is available as an expert and interview partner for International Media.
Tindouf – What to some people may, at first, sound like a far-removed local conflict at the end of the world is in fact one of the biggest human rights violations directly in front of the European Union’s door. Many young people have never heard of it, and the older ones have almost forgotten about it. However, the dramatic situation of the Western Sahara conflict is both current and pressing – fueled by the terror regime of the so-called Polisario Front.
The Polisario Front (a military movement established in the 1970s) claims to represent the national liberation interests of the Sahrawi people. They are an, originally nomadic, ethnic group from the Sahel. It comprises many tribes, and its culture is a mixture of Berber, black African, and Arabic elements. The Sahrawi people have been displaced for more than 45 years after they had to flee their home in the west.
Iran utilizes this conflict for several reasons
Ever since the US acknowledged the sovereignty of Morocco over the Western Sahara, the Polisario Front’s militias have become increasingly violent – which has culminated in the end of their 1991 ceasefire with Morocco in November 2020. Polisario is supported by, among others, Iran, which utilizes this conflict to strengthen its influence in Northern Africa and, on the side, to massively interrupt the peace efforts between Morocco and Israel (the Abraham Accords).
“Children in the Tindouf camps are used as cannon fodder.”
For decades, the Polisario Front has been guilty of systematically oppressing the Sahrawi people. Our organization worked on the ground in the camps in Tindouf for seven years. There are several reports about the oppression, torture, abuse, and exploitation of the Sahrawi people that take place here, especially of women and children.
Instead of representing people’s interest – as it claims it does – the Polisario Front has betrayed the people: by its continuous violence, extensive oppression of civil and human rights, its cooperation with criminal and terrorist networks, and its misappropriation of humanitarian aid for purchasing weapons and for personal enrichment.
There are several reports that the Polisario Front has recruited child soldiers in Tindouf and monitors their training. In February 2020, the UN Human Rights Council received a written statement on this issue. On 10 March 2021, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva allowed several human rights organizations to speak about the violations against children in the camps and the forced recruitment of children by the Polisario Front militias. On behalf of a Swiss NGO, Matteo Dominici stated that “children in the Tindouf camps are used as cannon fodder.”
In November 2020, women and children were indeed transported to the battlefield for this very purpose in a conflict between Moroccan soldiers and the Polisario Front – as human shields for the Polisario Front.
Proof of kidnappings, imprisonments, forced labor, torture, and rape has surfaced
Moreover, the Polisario Front continues its horrific oppression of individual rights in the camps. In Tindouf, there has never been a reliable population census. The exact number of people in need can therefore not be specified. Proof of kidnappings, imprisonments, forced labor, torture, and rape has surfaced. Another strategy of gender-specific violence by Polisario is forced marriage. The severity of the crimes committed cannot be underestimated. What makes it even worse is that none of this is new.
Native Sahrawis who managed to escape from the camps and were taken up by adoptive families in Spain reported that they were forcibly detained during family visits in Tindouf. This often led to longer prison terms and even forced marriages in order to enforce their return to the camps. Journalists have also become targets for the Polisario Front militias. For instance, in July 2019, three journalists and activists were attacked by Polisario Front militias on the street and detained for five months. During that time, they were harassed, threatened, and tortured.
Essential goods by the European Union were profitably sold(!) to the refugees by Polisario Front
Since 1975, the European Union alone has provided approximately 10 million euros in humanitarian aid per year for the Sahrawi refugees in Tindouf. Between 2004 and 2007, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) published a report describing the extent of the fraudulent theft and misuse of aids by the Polisario Front. The aid is, on the one hand, used to purchase weapons, but the Polisario Front leadership primarily uses it to purchase lavish properties on the Canary Islands and in Spain. It has also been revealed that food and other essential goods were profitably sold to the very refugees whom they were originally intended for.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has worsened the situation in the camps even more. Characteristic for the situation: while the people on the ground are suffering with almost no medical aid at their disposal, the leader of Polisario, Brahim Ghali, has recently – according to media reports – travelled to Spain to receive treatment against Covid-19 as a private patient in a Spanish hospital.
It is no longer acceptable that we merely condemn the situation without doing anything to effect changes on the ground. The moment is decisive, the proof is overwhelming, and the people of the Sahara deserve real justice. It is time that they receive it.
Our President, Nancy Huff, is available as an expert and interview partner.
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