NGOs denounce the arrest campaign launched against Sahrawi activists in a UN meeting

The Polisario’s leadership was slammed by NGOs attending the 41st regular session Human Rights Council. The Front has launched a campaign against Sahrawi activists, arresting three individuals in the Tindouf camps.

The three Sahrawi activists arrested by the Polisario Front in Tindouf. / Ph. DR
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The 41st regular session of the UN Human Rights Council started on the 24th of June and is expected to wrap up on July 12th. The UN meeting has been an opportunity for associations, operating in the Sahara, to discuss the case of the three Sahrawi activists who were arrested in the Tindouf camps.

«Much to the discontent of the Polisario representatives, attending the meeting in Geneva, photos of the three activists were displayed by members of NGOs, accompanied with slogans in Arabic and English, referring to the date of their arrest by the Front’s militias», a well-informed source that requested anonymity told Yabiladi.

These NGOs denounced the arrest of Moulay Abba Bouzeid, Fadel Breika and Mohamed Zeidan, three Sahrawi activists from the Tindouf camps, and explained their situation before foreign delegations attending the meeting.

The Sahrawi Initiative for Change and Federica Mogherini

Tuesday’s intervention is the first of its kind. Contrary to previous UNHRC sessions, human rights associations close to Morocco have changed their behavior, moving from defending the Kingdom’s stand to attacking the Polisario Front and the arrest campaign launched in the camps.

In Geneva, participants recalled that the separatist movement has refused to reveal where these detainees are held, according to pro-Polisario newspaper Futuro Sahara. The latter has revealed recently that the Sahrawi activists are held in Dhaibia prison.  

Last week the same news platform claimed that the three activists had been held in a military school, located in the headquarters of the Front’s «gendarmerie».

Earlier in July, the opposition group Sahrawis Initiative for Change (SIC) denounced the arrest of the Sahrawi activists in a letter sent to the European Commission. The letter sent on July 2, urged the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini to intervene.

The group called Mogherini to «protect and release the three political prisoners», arrested in mid-June in Tindouf, Algeria.

For the record, the Polisario arrested Sahrawi blogger and activist Mohamed Zeidan after he wrote on his Facebook account he was «asked to leave the camps» and «hide in a secured place».

Days earlier, Moulay Abba Bouzeid, an influential member of SIC, was arrested while taking part in a sit-in staged in the «Samara camp» in front of the delegation of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

One day later, the family and relatives of another member called Fadel Breika from the same opposition group said he was kidnapped.

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