Omar Hilale debunks allegations about Gdim Izik detainees

The ambassador, permanent representative of Morocco to the UN, Omar Hilale denounced, in New York, the disinformation campaigns fomented by the armed separatist group the “polisario” and its sponsor, Algeria, about the detainees of Gdim Izik prosecuted for having murdered unarmed elements of the civil protection and auxiliary forces and mutilating their bodies.

Responding to a question on allegations relating to the detainees of Gdim Izik, during his press conference following the adoption by the Security Council of resolution 2654 on the Moroccan Sahara, Hilale stressed that “all those who are paid by Algeria and housed in Algiers hotels are fomenting disinformation campaigns about these prisoners”.

“These detainees have committed barbaric acts against the Moroccan security forces. There were 11 dead and 158 injured, some of whom are still incapacitated for life,” he noted. He also recalled that these prisoners had the right to a “fair, transparent and clear” trial, in the presence of international and local observers as well as their lawyers. “They benefit from health care, television, landline telephone and the right to study and receive family visits,” he insisted, adding that they are not on a hunger strike and that this information are conveyed outside in order to put pressure on Morocco.

Hilale remarked that these detainees are treated in a “dignified and respectful way because it is part of our principles and our international commitments”, noting that Morocco “will never depart from its human, universal and humanist values”.

The ambassador also asked that the propaganda of these separatists “should not hide the essentials about their crimes and the victims who lost their lives. The latter have had their throats cut and their bodies dehumanized”, indicating that the families of the victims demonstrate exemplary dignity and “do not want this issue to be politicized. They want the justice that has been done to be respected”.

Moreover, and in response to another question on the challenge launched by Algeria in Morocco concerning the veracity of the recruitment of child soldiers in the Tindouf camps, Omar Hilale replied that Morocco never shirks the challenge of Algeria, explaining that its response to this challenge is at three levels:

Firstly, Algeria, host country of the Tindouf camps and sole support of the armed separatist group, did not question the authenticity of these photos which unequivocally prove the enlistment of these children on its own territory, a- he said, arguing that Algeria has tried in the past to challenge the veracity of these photos, “but it failed”.

In this context, the ambassador recalled the case of the so-called Sultana Khaya who took a picture of herself in military fatigues and a Kalashnikov. Algeria has unsuccessfully attempted to challenge the authenticity of this photo, however, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders has verified and proven the authenticity of this photo and accordingly decided to remove the name of this separatist from the list of people to defend, noted the ambassador.

Challenging the host country of the Tindouf camps on a second aspect of this humanitarian and human rights scandal, the Moroccan diplomat indicated that “if Algeria and the +polisario+ persist in denying the recruitment of children in these camps, they just have to invite Virginia Gamba, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, to visit the camps on the condition that she talks to these children and their parents in head-to-head and without the presence” of the separatists.

He issued a third challenge to Algeria, asking it to specify to the international community how many children and schools there are in the camps, stressing that this operation is impossible in the absence of a real registration and census by the High Commissioner for Refugees. What Algeria has persisted in refusing for almost half a century, he said.

And Omar Hilale to conclude that Morocco, with supporting evidence, will never stop denouncing the recruitment and military enlistment of these children in the Tindouf camps.

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