PUSL – Jornal Tornado.- EU allocates 450 million euros for Morocco to fight COVID: 50 times more than for the survival of hundreds of thousands of Saharawis in refugee camps
The Saharawi population is vulnerable on all fronts. In the refugee camps where the extremely harsh normal conditions have worsened significantly, in the occupied territories where the Saharawi population is at the mercy of the Moroccan occupier and lives under political, economic and social apartheid which is also reflected in access to health and where this pandemic can be used as a weapon by Morocco.
In Moroccan prisons, Saharawi political prisoners are exposed to ill-treatment, torture and intentional medical neglect and in conditions of incarceration that lack minimum standards in all aspects.
The aid that arrives at the Saharawi refugee camps is limited to the exemplary action of Algeria, which once again acted quickly in the material and resource aid sent.
For the year 2020, ECHO (European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations) allocated € 9 million to refugee camps (around 200,000 people), 50% of which is food aid and nutrition (WFP basic basket) and 50% non-food (water, medicines, education). The value has been gradually decreasing from 17 million Euros annually in 1998 to 9 million this year. Aid to camps is less and less, and there have also been substantial cuts by UNHCR still under the mandate of António Guterres, at the time high commissioner for refugees.
No urgent assistance measure has been assigned to the Saharawi people in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic.
On the other hand, the European Union (EU) has allocated an additional 450 million euros to its Moroccan assistance budget to support the North African country in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, March 27, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Morocco and the EU announced that the European Union will immediately allocate 150 million euros to the Morocco Special Fund for Management and Response to COVID-19, while the remaining 300 million will be subsequently mobilized
EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Oliver Varhelyi said that EU is ready to support Morocco in its medical, economic and social efforts against the pandemic, praising Morocco’s “strong and necessary” measures to maintain the COVID-19 under control.
On March 26, the US Embassy in Rabat revealed that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Emergency Reserve Fund for Contagious Infectious Diseases (USAID) provided Morocco with US $ 670,000 to support its response to the coronavirus outbreak however, USAID has not announced any aid to the Saharawi refugee camps.
Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya also told the press on March 26 that Spain is working with the European Commission to ensure that Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine have access to funds for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Arancha González Laya, did not speak of the 53rd province of Spain, Western Sahara that Spain abandoned in 1975 without finalizing decolonization and having made illegal agreements handing over the Saharawi population to Morocco who initiated the subsequent genocide and bombing with Napalm and White Phosphorus.
Spain remains the administrator de jure (under the law) but does not assume its obligations.
Morocco’s “strong and necessary” measures are not being implemented in the occupied territories of Western Sahara where, as of Monday, the El Aaiun market was in full operation with hundreds of people huddled together and without any social distancing or disinfection measures.
Schools are closed, but hundreds of Moroccan settlers have fled El Aaiun for fear of a lack of medical assistance and care to protect the population of the occupied territories where Moroccan settlers are seen as collateral damage.
Two cases were confirmed by the Moroccan Government of 2 people in Bojador who were transferred to the hospital in El Aaiun, but only after the denunciation of a former member of the Moroccan parliament and the news broadcast on social networks.
Morocco, which, along with the pandemic, is going through an extreme drought has in its hands a population increasingly revolted by the lack of aid and economic and social problems in a growing explosion.
The Saharawi population is once again overlooked by the international community.