Algeria is ‘Serial Violator’ of Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law – Diplomat

Algeria is “a serial violator” of human rights and international humanitarian law, said Omar Kadiri, Morocco’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, before the UN Security Council, in response to the Algerian delegation’s lies and fallacious allegations about alleged violations of human rights in the Moroccan Sahara. The Moroccan diplomat noted that the Algerian delegation, which attacked Morocco during this Sahara-unrelated meeting on the issues of women, peace and security, is trying once again to mislead the international community and attack the Kingdom through the ad-nauseam repetition of lies, fabrications and allegations that are devoid of any basis on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara. He stressed that this issue had never been raised in any of the UN Secretary General reports nor in that of his Special Representative on women, peace and security. Stating that the human rights situation in Morocco is indeed much better than in Algeria, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Morocco to the UN drew the attention of the members of the Security Council, that “in March and May 2020, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued two statements on the Hirak and the deterioration of the human rights situation in Algeria.” In its two documents, the OHCHR reiterated “its growing concern about the situation in Algeria where the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and participation in public life continue to be attacked, through the use of unnecessary and disproportionate force against peaceful demonstrators, as well as through continued arrests,” the diplomat recalled. “It is a rare fact that the OHCHR publishes two alarming statements on the same country in such a short period of time,” he noted, adding that “this demonstrates the seriousness and extent of human rights violations in Algeria.” Kadiri further indicated that during the last session of the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet reiterated her concern about these violations in her oral statement, stating that “in Algeria, I am concerned about the increasing restrictions on fundamental freedoms, including the increasing arrests and detentions of human rights defenders, members of civil society and political opponents. I call on the government to change course and take all necessary measures to guarantee the people’s right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.” The Moroccan diplomat also pointed out that in referring to the case of the so-called Sultana Khaya, the Algerian delegation falsely claims that it is a so-called human rights defender. This is a lie,” he said, noting that this person “has nothing to do with human rights and works in the pay of Algeria and its separatist group linked to terrorism in the Sahel, that is the “polisario”, to instrumentalize the noble values of human rights, freedom and democracy that prevail in the Moroccan Sahara, for purposes of separatist propaganda that is contrary to Security Council resolutions. Holding up photos showing the so-called Khaya in military fatigues and equipped with a gun, he stressed that this person, who participated in indoctrination courses and weapons handling and military exercises by the Algerian military and mercenaries of the “polisario”, as was the case from 1 to 12 June 2019, “advocates armed violence” against civilians in the Moroccan Sahara. “She is in no way a so-called human rights activist, but rather a polisario and Algeria agent, who calls for violence and military action,” he insisted, adding that this person is used by Algeria and the polisario to mislead the international community on alleged false violations of human rights in the Moroccan Sahara. He further noted that the person mentioned by the Algerian delegation is in no way subjected, neither to sexual abuse, nor to house arrest as claimed by Algiers. “She is free of her actions. This person leaves Morocco and the southern provinces of the Kingdom with a Moroccan passport and travels to Geneva, Algeria, the University of Boumerdes, and everywhere in the world to tell lies against Morocco,” said the diplomat, which testifies, according to him, respect and promotion of human rights by Morocco, as internationally recognized. He stressed that the so-called Khaya “was contacted by the National Council for Human Rights [CNDH], which she refused to meet because she does not want to talk about human rights, she only wants to instrumentalize them.” He noted in this regard that the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, mentioned by the Algerian delegation, has definitively withdrawn from this case, being convinced of the fallacious nature of the allegations of Sultana Khaya. Lowlor took this decision when she saw these photos, which are true, he noted, adding that the Special Rapporteur has understood that the so-called Khaya manipulates human rights for political and separatist purposes. Responding to Algerian lies about alleged cases of sexual violations in the Moroccan Sahara, the diplomat stressed that “it is in Algeria where young men and women of the Hirak are raped and sexually assaulted in Algerian police stations.” “This is a reality and has been taken up by the international and national media,” he said, referring to “violations of women’s rights and sexual violence in the camps of Tindouf in Algeria, perpetrated under the supervision and with the consent of the Algerian authorities.” He cited, in this regard, the situation of women and girls, “left at the mercy of Algeria and the armed separatist group that is the polisario” which spread terror in the camps, supposed to be purely civilian, while they are militarized to excess. The diplomat recalled, in this regard, that more than 150 girls were held against their will in these camps, including Maloma Morales, Darya Mbarek Salma, Najdiba Mohammed Belkacem and Koria Bedbad Hafed. “These women have all been victims of sexual violence in the camps, with the complicity of Algeria,” he said. He also mentioned the case of the so-called leader of the “polisario”, the separatist Brahim Ghali prosecuted before the Spanish courts for crimes against humanity, rape and sexual assault against Khadijatou Mahmoud. While showing pictures to the members of the Security Council, Kadiri raised the issue of child soldiers enlisted in the Tindouf camps with “the blessing and complicity of Algeria. These are real photos and some of them are on published on the websites of the separatists of the polisario,” he denounced, adding that these children are deprived of their most basic rights. “Algeria is very poorly placed to talk about the issue of human rights in the Moroccan Sahara,” he stressed, saying that “the human rights situation in the Sahara is a thousand times better than the situation in Algeria.” In this regard, he noted that these rights are “fully and completely” protected in the Moroccan Sahara, in accordance with the highest international standards, recalling that the resolutions of the UN Security Council, including 2602, attest to the respect of these rights by Morocco and the role played, in this area, by its national institutions, including the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) and its regional commissions in Laayoune and Dakhla.