MSP underlines "the lack of freedom and insecurity" in the Tindouf camps in the letter sent to the UN special envoy for Western Sahara.

MSP sends letter to Staffan de Mistura denouncing the deteriorating living conditions of the Saharawis


The first secretary of the Saharawi Movement for Peace, Hach Ahmed Baricalla, sent a letter to Staffan de Mistura, personal representative of the UN Secretary General for Western Sahara, in which he underlines the deteriorating living conditions of the Saharawis, both "in the refugee camps" and "in the territory under Moroccan administration".

Here is the letter addressed to de Mistura:

Dear Mr. De Mistura,

On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day let me draw your attention as UN Special Envoy for Western Sahara to the deteriorating living conditions in the Sahrawi refugee camps and also in the territory under Moroccan administration.

In Tindouf the situation is increasingly worrying not only because of the extreme conditions but also because of the limited presence and deficient role of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which leaves tens of thousands of people, mainly women and children, without adequate protection and assistance.

Another cause for concern is the lack of freedom and insecurity due to Polisario restrictions in the camps and the growing activity of drug mafias and organised crime.

In the territory's cities, discontent is also growing, especially among the youth and the working class, due to the lack of employment and the inequalities resulting from poor and unfair management by members of the political elite and elected officials.

For all these reasons, together with the prolongation of exile, the paralysis of the political process in Geneva and thus the uncertainty and lack of expectations, the Saharawis as a whole are losing faith and confidence in the UN system and its instruments.

As I have said on previous occasions, I believe that as long as the confrontation between Algeria and Morocco, the two main powers in northwest Africa, persists, any progress towards a settlement will be difficult, especially in the midst of the storms of the new regional and international situation. 

To break the impasse, it is advisable to focus on initiatives or actions aimed at restoring and strengthening trust among the Saharawis themselves by promoting open dialogue between the various factions and political sensitivities, in short, allowing a greater role for representatives of civil society, women, young people and especially the traditional authority embodied by the tribal notables. This approach, not sufficiently explored by previous mediators, could generate the climate of trust that is essential to reduce tension in the region and pave the way for a compromise solution under international guarantees.

In order to contribute to your personal efforts for peace, the Sahrawi Movement for Peace (MSP) will soon convene a new Sahrawi dialogue in the framework of the 2nd International Conference for Peace and Security in Western Sahara. It would be important and encouraging if you or a member of your office could attend the event. We anticipate that we will invite a delegation from the Polisario and a large group of tribal notables from the territory and the Tindouf camps.

Please send a copy of this letter to the UN Secretary General.
Please accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Hach Ahmed
First Secretary of the MSP
Madrid, 19 August 2023