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ICRC visits Moroccan POWs

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has again called on the Polisario Front to release Moroccan POWs, most of whom the liberation movement has been holding for at least 20 years.

“The ICRC has long maintained that the prisoners should be released without delay, and that the most infirm should be the first to be freed,” the ICRC said in a statement on Thursday.
Four ICRC delegates - among them a medical doctor, a dentist and an ophthalmologist - visited 796 of the 1,479 prisoners between 11 and 25 May, and assessed their health and living conditions.

The detainees are being held in six centres in the Tindouf region of Algeria (where, ICRC says, Sahrawi refugees are living in extremely difficult conditions) and in areas of Western Sahara controlled by Polisario. ICRC said the delegates “gave the prisoners an opportunity to send Red Cross messages to their families” and provided them with 470 kg of medical supplies.

Ten prisoners received dentures and six others suffering from trichiasis or cataracts underwent surgery. A total 120 pairs of prescription glasses were also handed out, ICRC said.

During their visit, the delegates held discussions with officials of the Polisario Front and members of civil society on 178 Sahrawi combatants reported missing during the conflict.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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