European Members of Parliament are calling for an investigation into humanitarian aid to the Polisario Front.This is an initiative that could have serious consequences for the Polisario Front and its supporter Algeria. A draft resolution tabled on Thursday, July 9, 2020, before the European Parliament accuses the two allies, hostile to the “Moroccanness” of the Western Sahara, of misappropriation of international humanitarian aid granted to the inhabitants of the Sahrawi camps created and directed by the Polisario in the Algerian region of Tindouf, not far from the Moroccan border.
The document, tabled by a group of MPs of various nationalities, first recalls that a report by the European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf) made public in 2015 “noted the misappropriation of humanitarian aid granted by the Union European to the Polisario, in particular for the purchase of armaments, said aid amounting to 105 million euros between 1994 and 2004.”
The text then states that “Algeria has levied a 5-percent tax on this aid and has refused requests for the census of refugees made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1977, 2003, 2005 and 2015.”
The parliamentarians ask the European Union “to work jointly with the United Nations to supervise a census of refugees from the Tindouf camps, in collaboration with the competent authorities in Algeria.”
The resolution calls for the EU to carry out an audit of the use of European humanitarian aid by the Polisario since 2015.
The suspicion of embezzlement of humanitarian aid intended for Polisario camps in the Tindouf region is not new. They are regularly mentioned by Western diplomats and independent NGOs, as well as the international press and that of neighboring countries such as Mali and Mauritania.
In these countries, large quantities of food products and various equipment, marked “humanitarian aid” from the Polisario, have been sold in the open for several years in the markets of certain cities such as Kidal, Timbuktu and Gao in northern Mali near the border with Algeria and also in the Mauritanian towns of Zouerate and Fderik, near Algeria.
European MPs’ draft resolution was brought to the European Parliament’s Development Committee (DEVE) on Thursday during a hearing by European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic.