Diversion of Humanitarian Aid by the Polisario Solemnly Submitted to EU institutions

polisario-aide-detournementThe Federation of International Development Agencies has solemnly challenged European institutions to make clarifications on their response and actions following the revelations made by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

In early 2015, OLAF published a damning report revealing the massive embezzlement by the Polisario of European humanitarian aid destined to the populations sequestered in Tindouf, in southwest Algeria.

The Federation of International Development Agencies sent letters to all the European institutions (Parliament, Council, Commission,) urging the European Union to take action to halt such diversions and take all necessary measures against their authors.

The Federation of International Development Agencies, a non-governmental organization for humanitarian and development aid, having a general consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, had been behind the request to make the OLAF report public. The report, compiled years earlier, had been shelved until 2015.

At present, the federation requires, through its lawyers in Brussels, that all light be shed on these diversions.

In its letter, the federation recalls that the European Parliament (EP) had sought clarification from the European Commission (EC) on measures taken in response to the findings of the OLAF investigations and invited the commission to reassess the EU aid and to adapt it to the real needs of the populations in Tindouf camps.

The EP also noted that the lack of registration of the population for a prolonged period is abnormal and unique in the annals of the United Nations.

The Federation regrets the absence of any clear position of the EU on this subject, and requests European authorities to make clarifications on the impact of EU’s inaction to counter the continued diversion of European aid, at a time the precarious situation of the populations sequestered in Tindouf is endemic and at a time these populations do not get the European and international aid despite its volume, overestimated compared to the number of families.

The federation notes that the embezzlement phenomenon in Tindouf “has become so organized and important that the actors appear to have extended their sales area to other neighboring countries, including Mali, in addition to Algeria and Mauritania.” The trade “has embraced illegal areas (drugs, weapons, human trafficking) threatening the security of the region,” says the federation.

In order to prevent the Algerians or Sahrawis incriminated by OLAF to continue their illegal activities, the federation recommends an audit of the bodies supervising the distribution of EU aid. It also calls to bring to justice the authors of the diversions and to seize their illegally acquired assets, particularly in the European territory.