EFA sends letter to the Commission on the current COVID-19 situation in Western Sahara

EFA President Lorena López de Lacalle has sent a letter to Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič addressing him some questions on the current situation of the Sahrawis trapped in refugee camps in Western Sahara. The letter has been sent amid severe concerns over the humanitarian conditions and the devastating effects the pandemic might cause within this vulnerable and exposed community.

While in the European Union citizens are mostly fortunate enough to live in societies with functioning infrastructure, healthcare systems and adequate food supplies, in Western Sahara, around 200,000 people are trapped in refugee camps which have existed since Morocco’s occupation of the territory in 1975. Entire generations of Sahrawis have lived their entire lives in the camps, and had children that have done the same.

Given that this community is so dependent on external aid, the arrival of COVID-19 makes for a very worrying development as we know that cases have been confirmed in Western Sahara. At EFA we are very sensitive towards this situation and now that the process of lifting lockdown has already started in many nations across Europe, and worldwide, we are concerned about the deterioration of conditions and the interruptions in the delivery of aid in this inhospitable part of the world.

We are also worried about the devastating impact of Coronavirus on a community already subject to extremely difficult circumstances. As an EU political party which raises the voice of a number of underrepresented and minority communities across the EU and beyond, we stand up for international solidarity as one of our core values. This is included in our 2019 Manifesto and in our political roadmap for the future.

Therefore, we have addressed the Commission the following questions:

  • What is the Commission’s total budget foreseen for Western Sahara for 2020?
  • What is the current situation regarding food and medicine reserves and delivery in the camps?
  • What specific extra measures are being taken in light of the coronavirus crisis in Western Sahara?

Read the full letter

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