After strict measures for several month, the pandemic has now arrived the vulnerable Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria.
Saharawi authorities announced on 23 July the first four cases of covid-19 in the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria. The camps are refuge for around 200.000 refugees who have lived in exile since Morocco illegally invaded their homeland in 1975.
The Saharawi health ministry announced that one of the four cases is critical, while the three others have few or no symptoms. The cases were reported in the centrally located camp Boujdour, in the administrative hub Rabouni, as well in the very distant and isolated camp of Dakhla.
“Our vulnerable situation means that we have to double our efforts in the time to come”, the Saharawi health minister wrote on Twitter yesterdy afternoon.
The virus spread rapidly in the occupied terrtory end of June to beginning of July. At the same time, the prevalence increased in the Algerian region of Tindouf, where the Saharawi camps are located. No cases have so far been reported in the part of Western Sahara which is not under occupation.
Follow the latest news regarding the corona sitution in Western Sahara on our website.
We have talked to human rights activist Mahfouda, who recently was sentenced to six months in a Moroccan prison for reprimanding a judge.
Morocco must stop targeting human rights defenders and journalists standing up for human rights in Western Sahara, and allow them to work without reprisals, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, said today.
In an early morning raid today, masked agents terrorized and assaulted the home of the Saharawi human rights defender Sultana Khaya, stole belongings and took three activists to an undisclosed location.
On 7 June 2019, videos began to circulate showing Moroccan police brutally beating up a Saharawi journalist in occupied Western Sahara. Today, a UN opinion calling for his release from prison was made public.