EU remains committed to supporting Saharawi refugees

Brussels, 6 May 2020 (SPS) - European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, has reiterated the commitment of the European Union (EU) to support the Saharawi refugees, particularly in these exceptional circumstances related to Covid-19.

The EU's commitment was reaffirmed in a written response to a letter sent by the President of the European Free Alliance (EFA), Ms Lorena Lopez, on "the EU's efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in the Sahrawi refugee camps".

Expressing his concern about "this long humanitarian crisis and the difficult living conditions of the Sahrawis", Mr. Lenarcic said that "the European Commission has been and remains the largest and most stable donor in the refugee camps", adding that "over the last 5 years, as well as in 2020, humanitarian aid intended for the Sahrawi refugee camps is estimated at 9 million euros per year". 

While citing the efforts of the Sahrawi authorities to combat the Covid-19, he highlighted the measures taken by the Algerian army, notably through the construction of a fully equipped military field hospital, in addition to drugs and medical equipment, stressing the effectiveness of these measures "because no cases have been recorded in the camps to date," he affirmed. 

Recalling the extreme dependence of Sahrawi refugees on international humanitarian aid, Mr Lenarcic concluded his response by reiterating the European Commission's commitment "to this forgotten crisis" and calling for "increasing the visibility of this crisis and broadening the donor base". (SPS)