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Esclavage a Tindouf:
E_rbati [ MP ]
17 octobre 2007 01:55
NEW YORK, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The shocking practice of wide-scale modern day slavery uncovered by an Australian film crew in UN-monitored refugee camps in Algeria was revealed to the US-based human rights groups, media and legislators.

"My name is Matala Magluf X. I am a slave, my mother is a slave, my sisters are slaves, all my relatives are slaves. I am asking the international community to help us. We don't care about the political situation anymore. We have the right to be free." These are the words of a black Saharawi, one of a handful of witnesses quoted in an upcoming documentary shot on location in the Frente POLISARIO controlled and UN-monitored "Tindouf Refugee camps" in Western Sahara.

"The Wall of Shame," which is the title of the documentary to be released in 2008, unfolds in one of the longest running refugee camps in the world, sustained by hundreds of aid organizations, accessible to the world's press and monitored by the UN. The shocking testimonials, witnessed and documented by two Australian journalists, Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw, were made public during the crew's US visit sponsored by the New York-based Together Foundation. Daniel Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala went to the Saharawi refugee camps in the Algerian desert to make a film about the human price of the long lasting political conflict in the Western Sahara. They found more than they bargained for -- at least several thousands of black Saharawi slaves who live in the refugee camps in Algeria. They live trapped between their country's fight for independence and their own right to freedom. According to the witnesses, the black slaves are passed from one owner family to the other, black women are sexually abused by their white Moor masters, they don't have the right to get married without the masters' consent, black people work for their owners for free, are deprived of education and any social rights.

Is it possible that a "socialist" liberation movement POLISARIO condones this state of affairs? Ironically, says Violeta Ayala, slavery remains an institution in this supposedly socialist society, hidden behind the word culture and concealed by local and international authorities. Even worse, adds Daniel Fallshaw, at the point that the filmmakers' findings became obvious to the POLISARIO officials, our personal safety became problematic. According to the crew, they were detained and interrogated for almost a day in a room without light. Only UN intervention provided them with a safe passage out of the country.

We felt obliged to the Saharawis to bring their case to the US, world media and the human rights groups, explains Fallshaw. Therefore, we had very productive presentations and briefings with the staff of Senator Edward Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Human Rights Watch DC Office. Human Rights announced in substance that it will send an investigative mission to the camps, most likely towards the end of 2007. The mission will also verify other possible breaches in human rights.

In New York, the crew met with the UN-accredited media at the United Nations headquarters and presented their case before the Committee to Protect Journalists, the leading media freedoms watchdog.

The United Nations Decolonization Committee of the General Assembly is again meeting in New York, with one of the key agenda items being the issue of Western Sahara. These meetings take place annually, and lead to no substantial conclusion. "Many think that those are just a formality to keep the so-called dialogue afloat and maintaining the appearance of UN doing something useful," says Gregory Tyomkin of Together Foundation. "The reality is very different from what the participants pretend to know or not to know. And they would probably once again fail to put forth a very concrete and significant question: are there circumstances that could mitigate for condoning human slavery?"

SOURCE Together Foundation

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