PUSL.- Through the following letter we intend to draw the attention of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Members of the United Nations Security Council to the serious situation that the COVID pandemic – 19 can generate to the Saharawi population both in the occupied territories and in the Refugee Camps in Tindouf as well as Saharawi political prisoners incarcerated in Moroccan prisons.
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H.E. Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
H.E. Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Members of the Security Council of the United Nations
In accordance with Article 73 of the UN Charter and UN Resolution 1514
Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories…
We alert the to the situation of the Saharawi People in the occupied territories and the Refugee camps as well as the situation of the Political Prisoners.
The Saharawi population is living in a social, economic and political apartheid. This situation is now aggravated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Saharawi population is more vulnerable and has less access to health care. Recent reports from the occupied territories alert to the increase of Military and Police movements and entry of a bigger contingent in the area. At the same time Moroccan settlers try to exit the territory by the hundreds. No tests of Covid-19 where executed.
It is necessary that MINURSO is attributed a special mandate to surveil the access to proper health care of this population as well protection of the Saharawi population on this context.
The Saharawi political prisoners in the Moroccan prisons, most of them located in Morocco and not in Western Sahara, are victims of ill treatment, torture and intentional medical neglect. In midst of this pandemic they are easy targets for the Moroccan regime and it is urgent to intervene for their protection.
It is urgent that the UN Human Rights mechanism surveille their situation and alert the Moroccan authorities to respect and protect their physical integrity.
Refugee Camps in Tindouf, Algeria
The Saharawi population in these camps is especially vulnerable due to their preexistent lack of necessary nutrients and chronic diseases associated to 45 years of living in refugee camps. It is necessary to ensure that there are adequate food stockpiles in the camps, and that the food pipeline is not interrupted.
Although the Saharawi authorities in coordination with the Red Crescent and the WHO implemented all necessary precautions, namely the quarantine, hygiene measures and closer of the camp to foreigners, it is urgent that the population has access to the covid-19 test, medical equipment including beds, n95 masks, ventilators and reinforcement of the stock of medication which is always very low and insufficient.