Strong condemnation of the Polisario Front during a Human Rights Congress in Chile

Santiago de Chile hosts the 2nd International Meeting of Human Rights Defenders 

Santiago de Chile hosted the 2nd International Meeting of Human Rights Defenders. The event in Chilean territory served to show videos and messages from different parts of the world condemning the violation of human rights by both left-wing and right-wing governments and groups.  

The meeting was organised by the organisation Human Rights Without Borders (DHSF) and was attended by delegates from seven countries, in the presence of diplomats and especially social leaders and human rights defenders. The Palestinian ambassador Vera Baboun, the president of the Confederation of Ecuadorian Workers, Edgar Sarango, and the founder of DHSF, Juan Carlos Moraga, took part in the event.

In addition to appointing commissions to draft statements condemning Israel for the violation of human rights against the Palestinian people, the violation of these rights by right-wing governments in El Salvador, Peru, the Ecuadorian Amazon and also by Venezuela and Nicaragua, the legal director of DHSF, Erika Botero, read out an official statement on the violation of human rights in North Africa, condemning the activity of the Polisario Front in this regard and the political repression practised by the Algerian regime.  


The official statement is reproduced below: 

Statement on human rights violations in North Africa 

For two years, Human Rights Without Borders (DHSF) has woven an alliance with the Saharawi Association for the Defence of Human Rights, joining forces in the struggle for justice. We have witnessed the shadow that the Polisario Front has cast over its people, through evidence and testimonies that we have obtained, like echoes of a silenced cry. The Sahrawi people, originally from the desert, who are trapped in the Tindouf camps in Algerian territory, without the most precious human good: freedom.  

In 2023, the Polisario leaders, like actors in a Greek tragedy, admitted their actions, acknowledging the crimes and human rights violations they had committed. This confession, an echo of truth amidst the noise of conflict, cannot be ignored.  

In response to this inescapable reality, the II International Meeting of Human Rights Defenders, held in Santiago de Chile, has decided to raise its voice in a unanimous chorus, adopting the following declaration:  


With regard to North Africa, we make a brief radiography of the human rights situation in this region of the world, where we note that Morocco, as a country, is culminating a peaceful process of transition in the field of human rights, a process that began with the constitution of the Equity and Reconciliation Body (IER), whose purpose was to repair and compensate the victims of the arbitrary detentions committed during what is known as the years of lead. The IER ended its work of reparation and compensation for victims to give way to the creation of the National Human Rights Council, whose objective is to ensure respect for human rights throughout the country and its monitoring.  

With regard to the Republic of Algeria, we note that this country continues to be immersed in its past without making reparations to any victim, moreover, in recent years, with the arrest and very harsh sentences against journalists, activists of social networks, human rights defenders and political opponents, it has ended up becoming a repressive regime that is controlled and directed by military officers who have moved away completely from the original project that consolidated the independence of this country with the National Liberation Front as the vanguard of the liberation process.  

This process, which began with a proposal for national liberation, has not only been betrayed, but has ended up becoming a military regime very similar to the dictatorships we have known in Latin America. 


As for the Polisario, an armed organisation in which half of the leadership is being investigated by international justice for serious human rights violations, it continues to act as a paramilitary group, keeping the Sahrawi population living in inhuman conditions in the camps set up near the Algerian city of Tindouf.  

These violations have been denounced before the International Justice:  

  • Hundreds of disappeared after having been abducted.  
  • Hundreds of victims who spent long periods of arbitrary detention without trial and in total isolation, many of them today suffer serious after-effects due to long years of deprivation of liberty and total isolation.  
  • The military recruitment of minors has been denounced in the United Nations.  

For this reason we demand, as the different human rights organisations have been doing in their respective annual reports: 

  • The immediate release of all political prisoners held by the Polisario group in Algerian territory.  
  • The clarification of hundreds of disappeared victims.  
  • Punishment for those responsible for rape and other abuses against women, as well as the use of minors in military tasks, fomenting hatred in them instead of study and a dignified life for Saharawi men and women.  

In conclusion, and in the light of known and proven antecedents, we consider that the Polisario Front is a factor of instability in the whole North African region and both this group and Algeria should listen to calls from the international community for the solution of an artificial conflict, welcoming the proposal of regional autonomy for the Sahara presented by Morocco in the United Nations, granting the Saharawis political, economic, administrative and judicial autonomy in their territory, an issue valued and supported by the vast majority of countries in the world and recently by the Socialist International, from which we have also received background information confirming denunciations and proposals.